A couple of weeks back – another oasis weekend of calm, clear and bright skies, a break from work, a modicum of fresh air. Up early, I headed down to Leighton Moss and spent a happy hour watching ducks – shovelers with their cartoonish, over-sized beaks, tiny colourful teal, a single merganser confusing me by not diving as I would expect, but swimming with its long neck and beak stretched across the surface of the water, in an seemingly contorted fashion.
A flotilla of mallards sailed across in front of the hide and, as they approached the reeds on the far side, provoked an unholy row, like the plaintive whining of a dog to my ears, but a Proper Birder informed me that the ‘pig-grunting’ was from a pair of water rails in the reed edge. I’d missed seeing them.
Later, whilst I walked a little further - round to lower hide – I couldn’t miss the trees and the deep blue sky caught in the placid surface of a stream, or the golden leaves against the sky above…
From Lower Hide, I didn’t miss the pair of bearded tits which flew along the edge of the reed bed in font of the hide, briefly alighted on reed stems right below my window, and then flew across in front of the hide to disappear into more reeds. Had I not had a good view of beaded tits just a few weeks ago, I don’t think I would have recognised them on this occasion, but their soft-colours, long tails and portly figures gave them away.
In the afternoon another small window of opportunity opened and I played truant for an hour to head up Arnside Knott, knowing that the air would be clear, the views would be sharp, and that the Lakeland Fells would be dusted with snow….
The views were spectacular.
What’s more there were ravens in the tree-tops on the steep southern flank of the hill.
If the weekends keep on throwing-up these breaks with the quotidian, I may even learn to like November.