Summertime and the living is chilly

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.

Bleak Landscape

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.

16 thoughts on “Summertime and the living is chilly

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, and I realize the jury is not back in the box yet what with the house not inhabited and all, but I think you are enjoying the return to the motherland.

    Small birds must have big bird egos or the like. I am always amazed at the smallish nesting birds chasing off the raptors and nest raiding crows and jays. It is an oft-seen occurrence for a blackbird or two to be harassing a marauding hawk, pecking seemingly with impunity at the rear end of a marauding hawk.

    • Enjoyment at a high price Steve. Yes, I often see small birds dispatching bigger birds but usually in flocks. I suspect raptors are just arrogant and drift off because the small birds are a PITA.

  2. Necks are very vulnerable at this time of year, don’t you have a scarf-knitting aunt somewhere? I envy you the thrushes, they have vanished from our garden over the last ten years. We no longer hear the tap-tap of snails against the path, I feel very sad about this.

    • I am down to my last aunt, Hilary and she does not knit. Try providing your Song Thrushes with an ‘anvil’ – they may take to it.

  3. I enjoyed reading about the bird antics. It looks as if there is a nice variety of native birds and the otters add interest. The preserve must be in the right place. It seems to be a haven for wildlife. The photo is great.

    • Thanks Yvonne. This is very close to the centre of town and a real bonus. I have not seen an Otter here yet but I keep looking.

  4. In Finland where Helvi hails from, spring has definitely arrived as it was a balmy 0 c this morning. In Venice it is 14c, so all is normal. Glad you take those walks and the wonderful black and white fotos. I am reminded of Wuthering Heights.

  5. You must be feeling better – you haven’t one thing bad to say about your own photo !
    Hallelujah ! 😀
    I am here to tell you that I AWAIT OTTERS FROM YOUR CAMERA/S, Andrew.
    Otters are marvellous.
    But then, there are never too many mallard pic.s.

  6. Oh, but I do love trees. What a great picture.

    Today in Colorado it’s 71 degrees, the sun is shining and the sky is bright, clear blue.
    On Friday we’re to get more snow…

    • That sounds an interesting climate, Marylin, from 71 to snow. I hope we will get some extended sun soon but for now it remains an occasional treat amidst the clouds and chilly breezes.

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