Well this combination of lockdown restrictions and cold, bleak weather has got me feeling a little demotivated and restless, like most people I imagine. So I decided to compile some of my favourite animal and creature photos I’ve taken in the last few years as a way of remembering some of the fun nature experiences I’ve had.
Pitsford reservoir has a lovely nature reserve area for birdwatching, as we discovered today. We arrived in the early afternoon and so sadly didn’t get to stay as long as we would have liked, but we did see some cool wildlife (also, it is shocking how quickly it gets dark when you’re on a muddy footpath in the midst of a nature reserve, surrounded by trees). The route itself is 7 miles long, with several good bird hides to stop at and lots of serene woodland surrounding you for most of the walk.
We saw some deer, rabbits, squirrels, a ridiculous amount of pheasants, ducks, geese, swans, gulls, crows, cormorants, lapwings, and an egret. So nothing too exciting but enjoyable to see nonetheless. We were especially excited about seeing the wild deer, as we don’t often catch sight of them. As it got dark fairly quickly (and was overcast as well) and we were in a hurry to get back to the car, I didn’t manage to take many good photos but I have included a few.
Hopefully we can go back earlier and on a brighter day to take our time a bit more.
Recently B and I went for a walk around Staunton Harold Reservoir and Spring Wood Nature Reserve. The Autumn colours were out on full display and a thick, still fog hung over everything, making for a spectacularly gothic atmosphere. Thanks to the chilly and damp weather we saw very few people in the wooded area and we could enjoy the peaceful silence and the noises of nature.
As is usual on these types of walks we caught sight of a few squirrels and small woodland birds going about their Autumnal business. We did also have some fun following a few sneaky pheasants along the muddy path. Typically of pheasants, they didn’t seem to realise that running away from us along the path we were walking on and getting just out of our vision around a bend was not the same as losing us completely. The fog obscured everything beyond our immediate vicinity, which was wonderfully spooky to walk through. Particularly when we approached an eerily deserted wood-working area, complete with a fairytale-style (or perhaps more horror movie style) cabin.
The reservoir was equally as mysterious, with the heavy fog completely hiding the other side of it from view. In fact the wintery grey colour of the sky blended in flawlessly with the water due to the fog. You could almost imagine that you were standing next to the river Styx, waiting for the boatman to come and take you across to the Underworld.
We sadly didn’t see a great many birds though, due to the poor visibility. We saw a lone swan to the North of the reservoir, gliding elegantly across the still water.
At one point we observed what we thought was possibly a Heron chilling on some kind of wooden post or a rock further out in the fog.
At the southern end we also enjoyed watching a Grebe dive beneath the water to pursue something, most likely a fish.
And whilst we were on our way back to the car we overheard a cacophony of squawking from a few hundred gulls fighting over some food near the boats.
At occasional points we saw the shadowy silhouettes of unidentifiable birds swooping amidst the fog, quickly appearing and disappearing. And of course there were the usual suspects in these parts: the ducks.
All in all it was a wonderfully atmospheric walk, a peculiar but enjoyable change from most of our nature walks.