Gershwin clearly never lived in England now that BST is here. The clocks have gone forward one hour but that does not mean the temperatures have risen. Or they may have but the wind still manages to cut through our clothing unless we zip up to the chin. The neck is the vulnerable area. The stabbing gusts seem to funnel down the open collar.
After a chore-full morning we escaped the clutches of the designers and headed to Winnall Moors. I can make a short walk last a long time. I was greeted by a couple of Chiffchaffs and I’m sure I heard the explosive call of a Cetti’s Warbler as we passed the reed beds. Mainly though it was Mallards, Mallards and more Mallards. How many Mallards is too many?
I am also constantly scanning for Otter spraints as they are reputedly found on the reserve. There is a carved wooden Otter for those that have no patience. I have found one area that ought to be a holt but it is the other side of the flow and even with binoculars I can see no telltale signs of the aquatic dog. Tarka has gone AWOL.
The greenery is on the blocks. On your marks, get set…… still waiting for the gun of Spring sunshine to fire. The daffs are out away from the shade and I noticed the nettles have sprung up – a good larval food plant for lots of lepidoptera. I even saw two rather foolhardy butterflies but they too were on the otter side of the water so I could not get on to them quickly enough. They did a passable impression of the Nimble Girl – up, up and away……..
The bare branches still make fine subjects of course. The challenge is to separate them against a clean background. Many subjects look good to the naked eye but simply chaotic through a viewfinder. My eyes are not yet so dim I cannot see and fortunately I had not left my specs in the lavatory. So they adapt and adjust the way a camera sensor does not.
This image seemed to sum it up today. Bleak (after a misleadingly sunny start). Still, the birds are nesting. Mr. Mallard was pursuing Mrs. M with great vigour. The Long-tailed Tits were collecting nest material. The Blackbirds were playing kiss-chase and the Goldfinches were holding forth with great voice. As we left the reserve I was amused by the sight of a Song Thrush scolding and driving off a passing Jay. And then a second. Half the size of the corvid the Song Thrush would brook no nonsense and the Jays left, tails between their legs.
And so we are home again. More chores again tomorrow but I will try to squeeze in a walk. Just in case Summertime pops by.