My first venture out since new year due to the dodgy underfoot conditions. I can't afford to hit the deck....i mightn't be able to get up.
Rising Sun is just up the road so it seemed the safest bet. I parked outside the visitors centre and peered over the hedge at Swallow Pond............a first for me, there were NO birds of any description on, and i mean on Swallow. It was frozen solid, not one break in the ice. I continued along the Waggonway......it was very quiet, tranquil. The heavy layer of snow and freezing conditions meant that there were very few people about. FANTASTIC. Just how i like it. I tend to make 2/3 visits a week here in the spring and summer. That tends to be between 3a.m.and 6.30a.m. when there are no people, especially dog walkers about and the wildlife doesn't get disturbed. Try it one morning this spring...........its lush. Anyway, i continued on to Dukes pond and was greeted with a frenzy of activity. A third of the pond was free of ice and there was over 200 birds busying themselves. I like Dukes as you can get up close and you do get some nice waterfowl on occasions, especially as i said when it is quiet. Anyone who has been there will know how busy it gets at times with amongst others the passing Asda shoppers. I have seen possibly 50 birds on here max in the past but these were here because of the conditions on Swallow. The count was.....
148 B H Gulls , 12 Herring Gulls , 6 Teal , 3 Mute Swans , 7 Coot , 14 Moorhen , 23 Mallard ....nothing out of the ordinary but nice to see anyway.
I continued on to Hadrians pond as the muddy pathway, which has been almost impassable without wellies recently, was hard as stone. Guess what........as solid as the ground and birdless, like Swallow. On the way back there were plenty of various Thrushes along with the odd Robins and Tits scattered along the back fences of the properties that back on. I did spot a cracking little flock of Tits in the trees and spent 10 mins. or so taking in the sights and sounds of them as they went about the business of feeding until there was a heavy downpour of hail which drove them deep into what undergrowth there was and out of sight. I made my way around the far side of Swallow away from the centre and on approaching the hide was greeted by 2 Dunnocks and a young Blackbird all scratching around seeing if there were any crumbs dropped by earlier Duck feeders as this is a popular spot for people stopping of from the Asda shopping trip to feed the Swans and Ducks. Things had livened up on Swallow........ 2 Carrion Crows on the ice , around the the screen hide in the trees to see if anything was hidden away on the small island in front of it but no, it was eerily silent in the woods and on the ice.
It was great to be out and about and the lack of humans was a bonus.