Yesterday morning at 7.30 I was walking along the seawall of the reserve in just lightweight clothes and under blue skies and very warm sunshine, thoroughly enjoying butterflies, birdsong and a beautiful summer's morning.
This morning at 7.30 I was back in a buttoned up coat, being buffeted on the seawall by a surprisingly strong east wind that was pushing in large amounts of heavy grey cloud off the sea, making for chilly and gloomy conditions. Try as I might I could not convince myself that this morning's conditions made bird watching more enjoyable, anymore than I could understand how, after a deplorable winter that seemed as if it was never going to end, that after just seven days of summer some people were already complaining about it being too hot - unbelievable! Presumably these same people get orgasmic about the thought of spending their two weeks summer holiday in the cold of Siberia!
The more I walked round in today's weather, the more frustrated I got and the harder I found it too concentrate on what was around me on the reserve but there were a few bits that caught my attention.
The cows and their calves were joined on the reserve at the weekend by a beautiful, large black bull. He's a big beast but leaner than the usual over-muscled types and is quite magnificent. For the second morning running he was stood against the 5-bar gate and I had to push my way through it to get onto the marsh but he's a friendly enough beast and after scratching his head and slapping his bum I managed to get him to slowly move aside so I could walk through him and the cows.
I also spotted the first two Avocet chicks of this year for the reserve, with two very noisy parents giving me grief as I passed by. Unfortunately I suspect that they'll be the only two we produce this year as there's no sign of any other pairs at the moment. One of the public viewing hides, known as the "Tumbledown Hide", for obvious reasons, is at least serving a useful purpose again in that it has given a home inside to a pair of nesting Swallows, who have four eggs.
Finally, on the access track around the reserve, I came across a solitary and fast drying puddle which is about four feet long and a couple of inches deep. As well as supplying mud for a non-stop stream of Swallows that are nesting in nearby stables, it was packed with water fleas! I was puzzled at this for a few minutes but then realised that with a ditch several yards away that burst its banks in the winter floods, these fleas must be left over from that and will survive for not much longer as the puddle dries out.