Thursday, 20 May 2010

Take a walk

For all my village's shortcomings, it does have one big plus point. It's surrounded by beautiful countryside to lose yourself in, but if you fancy a day in the city instead you can be in Birmingham by train within ~40 minutes. Not bad.
Most days I prefer the rural side of my village. There are some beautiful walks, which of course means photo opportunities.
First to the millpond. Brake Mill is a great place to spot wildlife, especially now since the swans have moved their nest site to the opposite shore.
The usual suspects are always here; the Mallard duck and his wife. They're expecting stale crusts or seed, but I've forgotten to bring any along with me.

Across the millpond I spot a hunched grey figure. It almost looks like the back of a small person, but a closer look reveals that this is no hunched up fellow.. Not human, at least.
It's the Heron, resting at the water's edge. He peeks at me coyly from behind a wing.
An interesting fact or two about herons: They are gregarious birds, so like to live in groups. It is simply because they are so few and far between in this country that we never see this behaviour exhibited. We have this image of the heron - a hunched and lonely figure, picking his favourites out of the fishpond. He'll eat much more than that - baby birds, including ducklings and moorhen chicks, and amphibians as well as much more. Especially when it's raining and he can't see your prize koi through the water ;)

I stop for a little while to listen to the birds. The air is clear this morning, so their voices ring like bells. There's a swallow on the telegraph lines, making his presence very much known. From a distance he's so easy to miss, but keeping an eye out for this little migrant is definitely worth the effort. He's an aerial acrobat with a stunning red throat. I manage to catch him showing it off by puffing it out (I think he was mid-bellow!)

I then move onto the path through the woods. Leaves dapple the sunlight and this partial shade makes the trail cooler than the fields and millpond left behind, but this is where the flies congregate. I walk through quickly to avoid getting nibbled.
Bluebells are the jewels of this woodland - quintessentially British, and the smell of our Spring.I'm a common sight around here now, wielding my camera and with Pele in tow. The photographs are always worth it.

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