Sunshine; warmth; the feel of spring in the air. It’s a while since I’ve felt that; and that’s also true for wildlife. Today I went on a day trip to Seaton Wetlands in East Devon and here’s my review:
The anticipation that I am going to have a good day walking around a flat area of boggy marsh is reinforced as soon as I arrive and see that parking is free on a neat gravel area surrounded by hedge. I worry when local councils spend money on country parks and wildlife sites and then exclude a large part of their population, especially those with children, from accessing them, because of the cost. There are polite requests for £1 donation. Perfect. As I lace up my walking boots I see a Robin flit along the hedge, land on a wooden gate and flit off. It’s followed by a Long-tailed Tit, then a Chaffinch and finally a Blue Tit; just the one of each and in perfect procession. Note to self: always get your camera ready first.
I’m not the only one enjoying the warmth of the first spring sunshine:
There’s a lot of territorial activity among the Robins:
Walking to the Island Hide in Black Hole Marsh there are plenty of huge colourful Shelducks:
Pairs of Canada Geese are busy with each other and seem oblivious to anything else:
I’m delighted to see there’s a cafe and a set of spotless toilets. I’m early so the cafe’s not open yet. Behind it I’m even more delighted to spot a female Kestrel sitting next to a Kestrel nest box:
What a wonderful view.
It’s now 9:00 in the morning so I feel ready for lunch; luckily I’ve packed a mansandwich.
On Colyford Common there’s a reedbed with a round walk full of Chiffchaff:
They’re doing their usual looping flight from the cover of a hedge out into the fields to catch invisible flies:
When people ask me what camera and lens I use, I normally reply, “Patience, camouflage and stealth.”
Everything here is well signposted, with clear directions, sensible distances and proper information about accessibility:
A cup of tea and a hot cross bun for a sensible donation is perfect, especially since it’s served by someone genuinely interested in my experience.
This Woodpigeon has chosen an exotic perch:
Then I have another cup of tea and a hot cross bun, after all; it’s a long day if you eat your lunch at 9am.
I spot the back end of a vole at Borrow Pit but it’s gone before I can raise my camera. A couple of fine Mallard are very accommodating:
And finally, to top off a perfect day, there are newly-arrived Swallows suffering from serious jet lag: