Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Swallow Pond.............the return.

I think we all take things for granted. Those things we see every day become mundane and are not appreciated. Well, not ALL of us but i reckon most do.
The return i mention at the top was the return of the wildlife on the pond. Having been frozen solid for well over 4, possibly 5 weeks i was taken aback by the sounds that i often almost ignore. I came in from the west and within minutes had 3 finches on Alders on the hillside. A Goldfinch and 2 Lesser Redpolls. What a start. It went quiet for the next 30 minutes or so as i came over the top of the main hill but as i walked down one of the waggonways leading to Swallow Pond i heard some Widgeon. "Champion" i thought to myself "Some birds on the water at last." As i poked my head through one of the 4 "windows" of the metal hide that overlooks Swallow, what seemed like a mini cacophony of sound hit me. I thought back to the last few weeks and how silent and almost hostile this place had been. It was fantastic!
A couple of Mallard were having some sort of dispute and it was nice to hear quacking again. In the reeds possibly half a dozen Moorhen were busy feeding. Heads down oblivious to everything going on around them. A coot sailed past with head down in that attack position but i couldn't see what the problem was. A couple of Shoveller in the distance, 8 Pochard, male and female all asleep floating around. The 2 adult Mute Swans with their now diminishing family of 3 Cygnets gliding gracefully about. Numbers of Gulls, i didn't notice what, noisily splashing about by the island. It was lush. I even noticed the motion of the water. Circles where birds had possibly dived under. Small waves left by the wake of ducks and wildfowl. Ripples as the wind passed over.
I turned my attention back away from the pond. As i sat a dozen people had stopped off as they passed through the Rising Sun and a number had left bird food in and around on fence posts, railings and on top of the large covered waste bin. This always brings in the Robins and Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits and Dunnocks. All of which i saw. Briefly in the hedge appeared a male Reed Bunting. Then the sound of Finches coming from "Alder Swamp". I quickly made my way there but the birds were very flighty. I made out Goldfinch, Siskin and Redpoll but they were disturbed so never got a good look. A venture into the plantation before i left brought only a distraught sounding Blackbird, which i couldn't see, and 3 Magpies in the same vicinity.
Highlight of the day ?   Easy..............hearing the first quack of a Mallard this year, 2011......and the sight and sounds of a pond that had returned to life.


  1. Lovely post John. I know what you mean.... when I went on my walk a few weeks ago to the nature reserve at Oakenshaw, it looked beautiful all covered in snow, but everything was silent and eerie and not a bit of life to be seen or heard. It was like an alien setting.

    I enjoyed reading the account of your day and all the birds you saw and heard.

  2. John,

    it was pretty good everywhere this weekend. Lots of birds everywhere, amazing amount of Teal on Big Muddy was a delight to watch and just to watch a full pond at Cresswell was a delight


  3. A good post John. Depressingly, I find that many people are too busy thinking of themselves to give thought to what's around them. Thankfully not all! Brian

  4. Things appear to be getting under way again John thank goodness

  5. Yes Lesley,
    It was getting to the almost surreal stage when out and about. Thanks for your kind comments.
    Hi John,
    Muddy obviously one of those places most affected by the weather. I enjoyed your account of the weekend.
    I'm looking forward to a visit ti Killy Lakes again. It got to the stage that it was a waste of time visiting any bodies of water. As i said a few think of the birds. It was nice to see food still being put out.
    Hiya Dick,
    Yea, the icy grip of winter has been relaxed for now. I might give you a shout next week and i can take that painting off your hands. Look forward to that.
    Thanks everyone for the comments. I always, always appreciate them.