Look at that sky!
When we got back from Underley, I was keen to get out for another walk whilst the daylight and the good weather lasted. I fancied one of my favourite local routes from last year, which takes in Eaves Wood, Hawes Water, Yealand Allotment and Leighton Moss. I usually walk it clockwise, in that order, but it occurred to me that the path ’round the back’ of Leighton Moss might still be flooded, so went widdershins so that I could ask at the visitor centre. Which I did. I was assured that all of the paths around the reserve were open, by a volunteer, well-intentioned I’m sure, who may have been distracted by the fact that he was just about to go on his break.
…are daft creatures, apt to stay hidden until you’re almost standing on them and then burst out in a flurry of wings and calls, leaving you every bit as flustered as they clearly are. But this hen pheasant was one of several I saw last Sunday which were apparently completely sanguine about my presence.
The meres (and paths) were partially frozen over still…
I wondered what had caused these strange undulations and gouges in the ice in front of the public hide…
There were lots of ducks in evidence. Mainly Shovelers, Teal and Pintails. Judging by the reactions of the proper birders who were about, the Pintails are the most exciting of these.
I walked around to Lower Hide. The path was pretty wet and the last bit was iced over and decidedly treacherous.
Teal on the ice.
The onward path from there was barred with a notice saying it was closed because it was flooded. I went past it anyway, as I am wont to do. But not very far. It was flooded. Oh….blast!
Time’s winged chariot was hurtling on, as it is wont to do, the sun was low in the sky…
…and my plan was thwarted. What to do?
I contemplated the possibilities as I wandered back to the visitor centre.
Stopping briefly again at the public hide for another gander. There were cygnets…
And…a willow?…catching the lovely light.
And Black-headed gulls briefly launching into the air before making shallow dives into the water. I wonder what they were after?
I’d heard several people discussing the Starling murmuration, and since, slightly ridiculously, its several years since I’ve been at the Moss to witness that, one possibility was to wait to watch that. It seemed to me that the other sensible option would be to head down towards Quaker’s Stang and Quicksand Pool to catch the sunset. I chose the latter. But that meant a stretch of road-walking and a need for speed to find a good vantage point before it was too late.
So, I was in the unusual position of being in a hurry on one of my walks. Which is what made me think of Speedy Gonzales and “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!”. (Well that and the fact that ‘An ¡Ándale! Walk’ follows on quite satisfyingly from ‘An Underley Walk’.)
Sunset from Quaker’s Stang.
Recent high tides had left a series of pools across the saltmarsh, making a nice foreground as the sun dropped into the Bay.
By the time I’d crossed the Stang and was back by Quicksand Pool, the sun had gone.
…it was great to be out in the gloaming, enjoying a subtle light-show…
The land reclamation wall at Jenny Brown’s Point.
From near Gibraltar Farm and The Wolfhouse.