The warmest day for 8 months, I'm told, and I wasn't going to waste it. Just after 9, and I was out of the flat, and as it turned out, into the strongest wind I've experienced all year. Luckily on the way to RSPB Langford Lowfields, it was more or less behind me all the way, and once I was out of town and into Winthorpe village, I was able to enjoy the sight chaffinches in the hedgerows, and the sound of chiff chaffs in virtually every tree between Winthorpe and Langford.
As I turned back onto the Sustrans 64, a buzzard was struggling to get aloft in the breeze as a Lapwing watched from the ploughed field.
The hedgerows were busy with chaffinches and particularly yellowhammers, the males looking dazzling when the sun caught their sunshine yellow heads. As I turned onto the new path - thanks for sorting the bridge out, but the gate is far too small to get a bicycle through easily! - two or three chiff chaffs were singing in the woods.
The weather has clearly damaged the reserve somewhat, and it is a little bare too with the cut back for the new path, but from the phase 1 hide there was plenty to see once I had decided to be patient.
Lots of tufted duck, the usual coots, only a solitary pair of mallard, and also a single wigeon, orange and yellow head easy to spot against the choppy water. On one of the spits, it looked like cormorants may have been nesting, near to where it looked like an oystercatcher was parked - difficult to tell - and on the far side, an egret was patrolling in the long grass
Various black headed and herring gulls loafed about on the little islands, and a pair of canada geese honked mournfully as the fearsome wind tried to blow my eyeballs through the back of my skull.
The most interesting things I spotted were a pair of lapwing engaged in some sort of disaply flight, spiralling up on their ragged swept back wings, before dropping back to water level. On the far side of the water, I suddenly saw a pair of plain brown deer - apparently roe deer according to the Langford people. By now, my eyes and head couldn't take the wind any more, so I headed back along the path. And then my attention was taking by a couple of large birds in silhouette, beating the air slowly on large wings, before settling behind some trees between the second and third lakes. They appeared to be buzzard sized, but a different shape - wings seemed huge.
Could have been anything, I didn't get a good enough look. I had to content myself with watching a tree sparrow in a small tree, appropriately enough.
I then set off for Newark Air Museum, to take pictures of vulcans and MIGs! At least they stay still.
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