Thursday 7 August 2014

Swallows on the Trent

Managed a lovely run out to Farndon today on a warm, but not unbearably so, afternoon.

Ringlets seem to be out of stock round here at the moment, but meadow browns are still around Willow Holt pastures in good numbers. Only saw a solitary common darter - there were a lot around the Holt last year - perhaps they were scared off by my inhuman running app calling out my mile splits in a disembodied voice. Ditto the southern hawkers that usually patrol the Holt's river stretch.

Indeed all was quiet all round the route, the August wildlife lull seems to have well set in. No damselflies, only a solitary brown hawker on the Power Station reach, and only a few large white butterflies in the air by the river.

Luckily a couple of beautiful sights made up for the comparative paucity of wildlife along the Trent.

The first was a lovely flock of about 25-30 goldfinch feeding on thistle seeds, golden wing bars catching the sun. And then, by the old windmill section of the bank, a number of swallows were taking advantage of the insect rich air, skimming the river with those powerful, reaching wingbeats before pulling up sharply skywards as they feed themselves up for migration. Other birds flattened blades of grass with their slipstream, making me feel like such a feeble, landlocked lump of a human.

But then, that is the swallow's privilege, to make people feel jealous of their powerful flight and graceful forked tails. I enjoy watching them so much when I have my tea at Rumbles, as I did today, as a reward for my 8.1 mile effort.

A distance that probably wouldn't even tire a swallow, I reflected as I slumped down into my outside seat at the cafe, tea in hand.

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