14 years ago today was a bad day. My mother died. Today’s images are in her memory. She was a kitchen window birdwatcher. We used to get Green Woodpeckers on the lawn, a one-legged Jay, all sorts of woodland birds. We lived for years on the edge of the Woolhope Dome, below Haugh Wood. When I moved to Hertfordshire she came to visit. She had never seen a Kingfisher so I took her to a local reserve where kingfishers were probable if not certain. We were lucky, one of the kingfishers put on a show, perching, then zipping up and down the river. She could not believe the colours. So much better than the book, she thought.
Today I went to Long Valley. At 7am the sun had not yet begun to warm the area and it was almost 8am by the time I felt the chill subside. The soft light was wonderful but few birds had yet roused themselves. Soon though they struggled out of the roosts and started to preen and feed. The waders were early birds. Two ponds held avocets. I approached slowly. There is no cover here. They either fly or they stay. Today they were preoccupied with their breakfast. I realised quickly that they were doing a circuit round and around. Not too demanding to work out where the best shots were to be had. I thought about my mother – she would have liked avocets. So here, for mum, is today’s bird, Recurvirostra avosetta.