Sunday, October 14, 2012

A walk around Fowlmere

Tree creeper

What better way to spend a sunny October Sunday than to take a walk round my favourite nature reserve? Fowlmere is run by the RSPB and I go as often as I can. I've seen mink there before but today I spotted a weasel hopping across the path with his dinner in his mouth. Tasty for him, unfortunate for some small creature.

The lazy heron

The reserve was really busy - there were lots of cars and plenty of people. There were very few birds though - the lake was deserted apart from four ducks and a lazy heron. I did have the pleasure of seeing a tree creeper. I tried to photograph it but only got a backside view (my speciality it seems).


As I wandered round the reserve, sitting quietly in some of the hides, or wandering slowly along the sun-dappled path, I didn't just keep my eye out for birds. There was a deer, the aforesaid weasel, and lots of bugs. The gnats danced over the water in formation, a cloud of insects that seemed to love the feel of the sun just as much as everyone else.

Being autumn, it's also a wonderful time for fungi and I saw bright orange spongy stuff on rotten wood in the river, mushrooms in little circles and some lovely ones on a tree. I have no idea what kind of fungi they are, but the deep red one was particularly striking.

Old man's beard
There was talk of the kingfisher having been seen (though it has eluded me every visit so far), but I am almost sure that the grey feathers I photographed through the reeds was a water rail (or a pidgeon learning to swim). The long-tailed tits, who I have been trying to photograph without success, put in a quick performance. I managed to get another butt-view, but not very in focus unfortunately. Patience is the key, and I will keep trying until I get my perfect photo of these delightful little birds.
Of course, it's also a great time of year for plants - the changing of the seasons brings out a riot of different colours to the brashness of summer. Deep red berries, ochre-tinted leaves, purple blackberries and the lush greens of watercress, reedbed and evergreen. 

Long tailed tit
The barn owls have nested and there are young too - I took a long-distance photo of the nest box and can see, on close examination, a sleepy owl's head. I need to go back at dusk one day to get a good look at these wonderful ghost owls.
If you've never been, then do take a walk around Fowlmere one day. It's not too long a walk for young and old alike, and there are plenty of benches and hides.

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