‘Weasels and stoats and foxes and so on. They’re all right in a way I’m very good friends with them pass the time of day when we meet, and all that but they break out sometimes, there’s no denying it, and then well, you can’t really trust them, and that’s the fact.’ Kenneth Grahame
Whilst I waited for Diane to arrive I aimed my lens in the trees around the feeders just outside the visitor centre. One small cheeky little blue tit watched me trying to wield my lens with the extender on, but luckily it stayed long enough for me to grab a shot. When Diane and I finally set off to explore this small nature reserve we were hoping to see a kingfisher, or at least a coot fight!
In the first hide the birds were too far away for our lenses although one little glebe kept diving down into the water right next to the hide. It was a bit like being tormented by an elder sister as it watched me lift my lens and just at that moment it shot down into the water under the hanging branches. It disappeared for ages and I didn’t manage to get a shot of this pretty little bird at all. Diane cannot sit still for more than about twenty minutes and as very little was happening we decided to move on.
A magical, golden scene envelopes you as you walk along the paths at Rye Meads. The reeds sway in the wind and as the sunlight catches them the golden hues attract the eye. We stopped several times in an attempt to capture this ephemeral landscape.
We settled down in Draper’s Hide with one other photographer who told us all the birds he could hear. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any of them! Bored and disappointed he left the hide. Just as he did so, Diane shouted, “Look there’s a squirrel!” I do think she needs to go to Specsavers as there, looking straight at us was a stoat. In all fairness there were lots of reed stubs and it was moving very fast when she first saw it. I have not seen many stoats in my lifetime so for me this small predator, was a very welcome, if surprise visitor.
We moved on hunting for the unusual but only finding some fungi on a tree trunk. It wasn’t the best specimen I have ever seen but I liked the way it had tried to hide from the world. Then there was one tiny butterfly but no way did that intend to perch long enough for either of us to get a shot. We spent a short time in the Kingfisher hide but there was no sign of the male. We had been told the female was sitting on her recently laid eggs.
We followed the Otter trail, but we were not lucky enough to see one. As we made our way around a newly opened route, through the reed beds, we found a rather lonely Canada goose who was quite happy to pose against the background of golden and orangey hues. Moving on again we were joined by two mallards who thought we had food. I was fascinated by the colours the sun and water droplets had exaggerated on their heads. I loved the pale green beaks which I have never seen before. Once again one was happy to pose despite the fact we had no food.
As we approached the end of our two mile walk around the reserve, I remembered that I’d seen a kestrel in the car park. As we approached the nesting box high up on the electricity pylon I could see her peering out. We stopped to take some pictures. She was really too high up to get the clarity I wanted.
It was a wonderful morning in the sunshine, surrounded by the sounds of birds calling and the whispering reeds. Maybe next time we will capture a kingfisher in our lenses or be quick enough to get a picture of the rather charismatic water vole!