It is truly amazing what a difference losing that cold NE wind has made. Earlier today, after the frost had lifted and the sun was becoming quite warm, I arrived at the reserve and parked up. I walked the few yards to the 5-bar gate and leant against it, there was not the slightest hint of even a breeze and even at 8.30 the sun was very warm and I stayed there for a while and bathed in the sounds and sights.
The grazing meadows in front of me glistened as millions of droplets of dew sparkled in the sun and the calls of countless breeding Lapwings, Redshanks and Skylarks created an orchestra of marshland bird calls. The whinnying call of a Dabchick suddenly rang out from the ditch alongside and was immediately challenged by another further afield. Coots clucked at me, anxious because they had a nest close by, and the extensive reed beds to my right, free from the attention of last week's wind and warmed by the sun, were a whole new world and enlivened by the songs of three Sedge Warblers and a couple of Wrens.
The old salt workings mounds further out into the grazing fields showed movement and a look with the binoculars produced not only the happy site of a few rabbits at the near deserted warrens but several small groups of Shelducks, who will utilize some of the rabbit holes as nest sites, what a lovely sight their little stripy ducklings are in summer. Overhead came the "cow-cow" calls of a couple of passing Med. Gulls, a terrific sight against the clear, blue skies and they in turn were out-done by a trio of three Gadwalls, chasing round the sky in circles as the two males competed for a female. Gadwalls are one of my favourite ducks, at close range the males have a beautiful texture to their feathering and they also have a lovely, almost purring, type of quacking as they fly round.
As I stood at the gate and the sun got warmer, mosquitoes and flies began to swarm, bird song came from every direction and a few butterflies drifted by, it was just heaven and quite obvious that a quite enviable wildlife watch could of been conducted from just being there for an hour or so. But I needed to see other parts of the reserve so I opened the gate, broke the spell and moved on.