Driving down to the reserve at 5.45 this morning was the opportunity to experience one of those magical early mornings when everything is just about perfect. Not a whisper of wind, a freshness in the air and light of a mediterranean clarity. The Harty Road itself was like a menagerie of wildlife as young rabbits, hares, pheasants and red-legs seemed to pop out from every verge - not always in their best interests as several corpses proved, although crows and harriers enjoyed the feast.
The thing about that time of the day is not only the superb light but the stillness and how it magnifies every note from every bird, you just don't get that by going out in the heat of the day, or the frantic activity. The first thing I heard on arriving at the barn was a Cuckoo, the first this year on the reserve and this was added too by the haunting calls of the nearby farm Peacocks, they sound really mystical from a distance.
It was only to be a briefish visit today and already by 7.00 the heat was starting to build but picture this. I wandered across one of the grazing meadows, with Skylark song tumbling down from crystal clear blue skies and briefly, at just head height, I had a pair of Marsh Harriers gliding by me just 50-odd yards away - sheer magic. I watched them through my binoculars as they drifted off towards Shellness and just a mile or so away I spotted something else. On the public nudist beach at Shellness several nudists were already up with the lark as they say, and wandering around in the increasing heat. Early risers in more ways than one but I shouldn't mock them. Nearly thirty years ago, when the beach was first opened, my family and several other local families and friends had many enjoyable and harmless times using it for a few years. It was nearly all mixed families in those days and we even begun to take holidays away at a camp in the New Forest but like everything else you move on to other things and none of us have participated for over twenty years.
Fortunately I still haven't mastered how to include photos in my blog so you are spared any of me enjoying such naked delights, although one with a caption of "Black Stork" would be mis-leading in my case - more like "a winkle on the beach".