Friday, 21 February 2014

Langford in a Hurricane

The sky was blue, no rain in the air. My bicycle tire was laboriously pumped up, all the air I strained to get in it escaping as soon as I began to disconnect the pump.

But it was worth it, for it was going to be lovely cycling weather to head out to RSPB Langford Lowfields for the first visit of 2014. I'd been excited about the possibility of seeing a brimstone butterfly, or a smew, and thought the lovely mild weather would improve my chances.

Only of course, it wasn't mild. The blue sky was lying, and the wind seemed to have come all the way from Antarctica with malice on its mind.

The sun lit up a beautiful kestrel as I turned off the Holme road onto the N64 route along, its back looking almost like a seed heavy strawberry as it flew off. As I arrived on site, I listened out for the chiff chaff the reserve had reported singing, but no, the tiny warbler was silent. I looked for the smew on lagoon 3, but they were on holiday. I was too late for the whooper swans, and the wind was howling down the reserve, a chill banshee almost ripping the binoculars from my hand.

So what did I see?

Well, tufted duck were present in numbers on most of the waters, and on the reedbed in front of the screen, around 50-60 lapwings were standing in the shallows. A fairytale white little egret, crest blowing in the wind, was looking beautiful patrolling the shallows on its elegant legs.

If there is a more beautiful bird than a little egret in the country, well, do let me know.

I had a good look at the feeders, and the greenfinches were being right little finchy bullies, chasing off any goldfinches or great tits daring to feed when they wanted to. I never see greenfinches in town any more, perhaps tthis is for the best. Perhaps I wouldn't be able to eat my dinner without a feathery interloper coming in through the letter box and chasing me away.

RSPB Langford Snowdrops
Sunlit snowdrops
Crocuses, Newark cemetery

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