Tuesday 11 November 2014

Running through a North Muskham Bird Storm

Today was adventure run time, the runs where I go boldly where I've never run before to see things I've never seen before.

Or more usually, to get muddier than I've ever been before, or get loster.

It was a grey and windy early afternoon, and a very smelly one too; the sugar factory was belching out its sulphide stick aided by an Easterly wind, and every farmer's field had been manured to hell and back. It was an unpretty run until I reached the South Muskham turn, and as ever as I went past the fishing lakes I remembered the coloured sails of the boats, rendered unto sterility by the demands of fishing.

The level crossing is an unlovely spot, but it was here that I spotted red arrows practicing aerobatics in the distance, and nearer to hand a huge number of gulls circling farm buildings. I kept going for now, observing as I went over the A1, before losing sight of them in the village of North Muskham itself.

My main quest for the run was North Muskham lake, still with a few plants in flower to liven up the predominant lush greens of the season. Cormorants were overhead, and on the water, the main species in evidence were tufted ducks, with a few pochard thrown in, their handsome red heads and grey bodies easy to pick out.

No red crested pochard today though, unlike my first visit.

I ran back in along the river, past hardy fishermen, and along a path back onto the South Muskham road by the flyover once again. And now the cirle of gulls had become a storm, a tornado. Hundreds of birds were circling overhead, and it wasn't just gulls. Among them were smaller birds lower down, probably feeding off loose grain, numbering perhaps a thousand. I don't know what they were, the formation was like a starling murmuration, but it was too early in the day, and also the birds had a markedly pale underside.

Perhaps pigeons? I have no idea. I was too far away. But the sense of this "storm" was incredible, two circulations of birds, one high and languid, one low and frantic. I'm delighted I managed to get some kind of photographs of the event, that I can share with you.

Overall I ran 15.7km, and my legs are now really rather stiff!

Cars going same way in both directions, note. There had been an accident

Shaggy ink cap bursting through gravel drive

North Muskham Lake

Still a drop of colour around

White campion

Pretty in pink

Distant ducks

Holme across the river

Muskham ferry

Vehicles of interest

Gull storm

Crazy skies


South Muskham church

Sugar factory smell farm

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