Stop, Look and Listen

The family of 3 Roe deer were on the path to Ivy North hide this morning; they ran just into the woodland as they heard me coming but then stood and waited and we commenced a stare off. I thought I was getting some brilliant shots but had forgotten how much our camera struggles in low light so apologies for the quality of the photo. Luckily their bright white bottoms stand out rather well!

Roe deer

It was a beautiful frosty morning with the ground covered with a thick white crust of ice crystals.

A Frosty New Hill

I loved the way the droplets of water on the spiders silk had frozen to make delicate little garlands between the plants.

Droplets of Frost

 There was no sign of the bittern first thing however in the diary there was a note to say it had been seen flying across at 9am yesterday. Later on today I was told the bittern was indeed showing once again in front of Ivy North hide. Although I did not see the bittern I went a bit snap happy with the camera as I walked around soaking up the autumn colours against a dazzling blue sky.

Reflections on a Silt Pond

Ivy Lake was busy with ducks; there were large numbers of shoveler, gadwall and tufted along with wigeon and a few teal. The cormorants were up out of the water after an early morning fish, soaking up the morning sunshine as they sat on the end of the spit with their wings out to dry.

Ducks on Ivy Lake

As there were no groups booked in for a visit today I took the opportunity to enjoy a longer walk back to the Centre along the Docken’s Water path. I thought back to the 50 Bird Challenge earlier in the week and kicked myself for not having stopped along this path; as stopping, looking and listening is the ofcourse the best way to see wildlife. It had turned into more of a route march as we tried to fit in all of the hides to our 2 hour challenge. So this morning I decided to do just what I hadn’t, I stopped, looked and listened by a tree that at first glance seemed completely devoid of birds. But as I watched I saw a very small bird busily flitting from branch to branch; a gold crest – fantastic! A bit further along the path a bird caught my eye so I stopped and looked again and found the alder tree above my head to be full of siskin, goldfinch, chaffinch and long tailed tits feeding on the seeds. It really was just fabulous to watch them flying between branches and hanging upside down as they retrieved the seeds from within the cones.

Pete who was our official counter on the Bird Challenge walk last week has reliably informed me that I missed a few birds off the list; little grebe on Ibsley water, starlings and a wood pigeon flew overhead plus a goldcrest was heard on the walk back from Ivy North hide, so that brings our total up to a respectable 42 – much closer to 50!

In other bird news I was informed of a pintail sighting over on Ibsley Water.

I was unfortunately unable to get a photo of the mixed flock of birds up in the alder so instead I will end this post with a montage of autumn gold.

Glowing Willow

Fire Tree

Docken’s Water / Ellingham path

Oak Tree

Docken’s Water

Docken’s Water


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