Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Walking in the Wetlands.
Quarries are not particularly nice places - dirty, noisy from the machinery and also from the lorries going in and out - a blot on the landscape really. But when they are worked out - then sometimes they come into their own. This is the case with the Marfield Wetlands near to where we live. Although there are still working quarries next door - the disused quarries have been filled with water and are a haven for wildlife.
This afternoon, on our way to stock up with feed for various hens, wild birds, dogs, cats etc., we called with Tess for a walk on the wetlands. Because the weather has been so dry here they can hardly be called 'wetlands' at the moment - the paths are bone dry and the grass is brown.
We were pleased to see a notice on the main path asking for a voluntary ban on using it during April and May because of disturbing nesting birds - and we were pleased to avoid it a walk round the edge.
Wild flowers were out in profusion - pink campion everywhere, wild strawberries in flower, rowan trees full of blossom, hawthorn trees full of May blossom. On the water there were lots of baby ducklings but they were too far away to photograph. They were being shepherded carefully along by proud Mums.
Geese swam on one pool - keeping their distance but watching in case we were going to feed them - I guess somebody brings bread and throws to them as they were quite tame.
As we walked along, sheltered from the sharp East wind and warmed by the early afternoon sun, we were accompanied by the song of blackbirds - one every few yards and all singing their beaks off. Chiff chaff and willow warbler were joining in from the bushes on the sides of the path.
We sat a while on the seat in the sun and looked over a field at the newly leafed trees in the distance - and caught the sound of a cuckoo. They seem to be much more common this year. After not hearing one for a few years there have been several about this year. A wonderful sound of early Summer.
Of course Tess enjoyed it - the new smells, the peace and quiet - we all three did - and for me the icing on the cake was a lovely little mixed flock of hens and cockerels in a run by the entrance. I poked the camera through the wire and took this snap. There were two Buff Orpington cockerels - just like my Max, and they were all scratching happily in the dust.
A lovely afternoon.