A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Walk In The Trent Valley

Perhaps the truth depends upon a walk around the lake. WALLACE STEVENS

A kink in the west-easterly-flowing Atlantic jet stream meant cold air coming in from the north, so the morning dawned cold with a frosty start. The high atmospheric pressure pointed to a fine, clear day with weak sunshine.

I decided to take a walk in the Trent valley not far from my home, and thought it would be fun to list all the different species of bird I saw along the way. I made a flask of coffee, packed some lunch, found camera and binoculars, then set off towards the river. It was chilly, so I was glad of my thermals, my fleece, my hat and my gloves. The habitat through which I walked was sparse woodland, arable farmland, meadow, river and lake. These are the birds I spotted, thirty-three in all:

Wood pigeon, collared dove, crow, rook, jackdaw, blackbird, starling, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, robin, grey heron, cormorant, dunnock, great spotted woodpecker, pheasant, black-headed gull, green plover, Canada goose, greylag goose, coot, moorhen, little grebe, goosander, tufted duck, mallard, goldeneye, wigeon, pochard, gadwall, shoveler, shelduck, whooper swan.

The pheasant on the list I only heard not saw, but I'm counting it. However, I haven't counted two species of gull which I wasn't sure about. I'm hopeless at identifying gulls. 

At one point a huge flock of geese (probably pink-footed) several hundred strong flew high above me in a V formation. Geese and other migratory birds use the Trent as a navigational aid.

Spring was definitely in the air despite the cold weather. Birds were pairing up, and rooks and cormorants were ferrying materials to patch up their nests.  


The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely post Robert and I love that last photo which has a real air of Spring about it. The Trent valley is a beautiful place.
Your list of birds is just about what we would see here minus the cormorant - and we do see a thrush and a little owl most days.
David heard the thrush singing this morning for the first time.

Bouncing Bertie said...

As most of my childhood walks were in the Trent valley, I grew up thinking that pylons were almost as much a part of the natural landscape as trees and birds. I see one crept into one of your peaceful photos today too.
Cheers, Gail.

George said...

Glad to see you out and about. It seems that the hamstring issues are behind you at this point. Only a few weeks, and spring will be calling us to even more walks.

The Solitary Walker said...

We have barn owls round here, Pat, but I haven't seen a little owl for ages.

You can't get away from pylons in the Trent valley, Gail!

No hamstring issues at all, George. Just other little muscular pains from lack of use. You can't win!

Ruth said...

Impressive list of birds that you could identify! I would need a bird book. You've used your walking years well. It's great to see you out again.

The Solitary Walker said...

A lot of these are fairly common UK birds, Ruth. But it was a thrill to see the whooper swans (a big flock of them feeding in a field by the river) and the pink-footed geese — all winter visitors.

John Zorn said...

Funny I should see this. I started a 'rural diary' making the kind of observations that you do here. I thought of the diary as a kind of prose haiku, of about a paragraph.

Yours is better.

I found the second diary entry more difficult, which was on the subject of the earth. I wonder if I will run out of things to say soon. I veer between textual constipation and incontinence. Pun intended.

I would prefer to have ability in poetry; but that's not going to happen.

In the first diary I wrote about the birds I saw and the weather, and slipped in a three line poem from a writer I dont usually like , but who wrote a clear, penetrating (he'd like that word) simple poem on birds.

Nobody said it would be easy!