I've just returned from a short visit to the reserve and wow! is the only way to describe how beautiful it was down there theis morning. It was one of those classic early autumn mornings with blue skies, slight distant mist and a stillness so profound that you could hear a pin drop a mile away. It was also very warm, I can't remember the last time I was able to walk across the marsh in shirt sleeves at 7.30 in the morning and be so warm. (Double click on this photo to enlarge it - can you not feel the hazy warmth and quietness coming out of it)
I didn't see too many birds, just a couple of Wheatears, some Green Sandpipers and a Greenshank and this small collection of long-legged cousins having a chat in the sun. (Double click on the photo and it'll enlarge them a bit).
I had a brief chat with the morning's sole wildfowler, who was bemoaning the fact that there was little about to shoot and I've also read on a few blogs lately, birdwatchers also complaining about the scarcity of migrant birds, but do you really need to have such things on such a beautiful morning - what's wrong with simply enjoying being there.
It was only a short visit because I had taken Nana the beagle for one of her now rare walks out there. She's 16 in November and with bad arthritis and general old age she struggles to walk more than a few hundred yards these days without lots of rests. But if nothing else, she enjoys the opportunity to experience the sights and smells of a place where she has spent so many happy years doing her own thing.
It is so gratifying being able to give a dog a lifetime of free ranging on a marsh such as that, without the restrictions of leads and collars and fortunately, for lots of reasons, during 40-odd years of doing so, I've also not suffered the attentions of narrow-minded birdwatchers who are unable to share the countryside with other people.