Departures, Arrivals and Wet Knees

As I suspected it would, the change in the weather on Saturday resulted in a mass departure of birds. Something like 1500 brent were seen to leave Langstone Harbour in the evening along with lots of waders and probably also other wildfowl. This is a month later than they would normally go and reflects the influence of the prolonged cold easterly winds. Let’s hope the weather is kinder to them in Holland so they can feed up well before they start the long onward flight to Siberia in six weeks or so. It seems “our” red-breasted goose has already headed east and is almost certainly the one now being reported at Oare Marshes in Kent.In the arrivals category I cannot include many summer visitors, just a few wheatear and chiffchaff, but they must be arriving soon, especially if we get some warmer southerly winds. One significant arrival at Farlington is the first load of cattle of the season into the Bushes.

Despite the change in the wind direction it is still not what I would describe as warm especially as I spent most of today working in a wet boat at Swanwick. For various reasons it was easiest for me to kneel in the bottom of the boat, which meant I spent the day with very cold, wet knees. When I got back onto dry land my legs seemed reluctant to work properly, I’m not sure if it was the wet or the kneeling that was to blame. The task was clearing weed from part of the Centre Lake with the volunteers and we devised a technique using two ropes and a length of chain to drag large clumps to the shore, the boat was needed to get the clumps properly surrounded, something we just could not manage any other way.

Centre Lake with weed

Centre Lake with weed

And after we had been working.

Centre Lake with weed cleared

Centre Lake with weed cleared

Spring is trying quite hard to break through, on the Centre Lake we saw a brood of seven coot chicks and around the Centre some of the Blackthorn is coming into bloom.

blackthorn flowers

blackthorn flowers

And some of it is still considering what to do.

blackthorn in bud

blackthorn in bud

I also found my first cowslip of the year more or less is flower, as I took the picture I noticed the leaves of a southern marsh orchid showing just to the right of the cowslip.

cowslip and marsh orchid

cowslip and marsh orchid

 

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