On the day of the EU Referendum I decided to escape to Blacktoft Sands to take my mind of the issues involved; frankly I’ll be glad not to hear about it any more once it’s all over and done with!
It was a warm day, if a bit cloudy at Blacktoft. I hadn’t been there in about a month and I was not really surprised to see how much everything had grown. The reeds along the trails had grown taller than me by now, so although I could hear a few warblers singing in amongst all the vegetation, there was nothing to see of them.
After a quick visit to the Reception hide where I snapped a few shots of a Marsh Harrier just outside the window, I made my way towards Marshlands Hide where I understood there were some Spotted Redshanks present.
Sure enough, there were eight full Summer-plumage Spotted Redshanks visible from the hide. Unfortunately, they were about as far away as it was possible for them to be whilst still remaining visible from my vantage point, so the images I took aren’t brilliant, to say the least.
Other birds present from the hide included three Little Egrets, a Heron and a large flock of Teals, (a bird which I haven’t seen for a while). The cacophonous Black Headed Gulls have finished breeding here now and the Marshlands lagoon is peaceful once more!
I decided against doing the long walk up to Ousefleet Hide today. It’s usually the best place at Blacktoft for seeing waders close-up, but the sky had begun to steadily darken and I didn’t want to get caught-out in any downpour that might be about to happen!
Next I visited Xerox Hide and then Singleton Hide, at the Eastern end of the reserve. Whilst there wasn’t much to see from Xerox today, there was a lot of Marsh Harrier activity going on at Singleton (as usual). A beautiful male harrier was constantly flying low over the reedbed outside the hide looking for prey items. I got a few good shots of one of them which came particularly close-in to the hide. He eventually caught something I couldn’t identify and flew off with it somewhere out of sight.
I did manage to take a few photos of a robin and then a warbler in a Willow Tree as I returned along the path towards the car park. It was either a Chiffchaff or a Reed Warbler, but as it didn’t make a single sound I couldn’t tell which it was. Grrr!
By this time it had reached 4pm and I wanted to get home – back to the Referendum debate!!