I recently spent a couple of hours in the restaurant as I do most days, talking to people who were interested in learning about our ospreys and chatting with others about their “osprey experiences” both in the UK and overseas. When the lunchtime rush had died down, the intruding osprey had been escorted from the area by Samson and Delilah was settled comfortably incubating on the nest for the afternoon, I took the opportunity to have a stroll down the river in the sunshine to see what was around.
What a glorious time of year this is! The riverside looked beautiful with all the vivid new green growth, the bluebells in the woods on the opposite bank and the water bubbling and twinkling its way down stream. There was lots of wildlife around as well.
The heron was busy fishing in the shallows, being buzzed by sand martins excavating their nest burrows in the river cliff. Swallows and house martins were swooping low over the river and the fields, hopefully catching lots of those flies that you see, flying around with their legs hanging down (you know, the ones that look as big as pterodactyls when they cross in front of the nest camera’s wide angle lens!). Even the swallows’ cousins, the swifts that are always the last to arrive, were there squealing their way over my head.
I’ve seen other summer visitors, like whitethroats, in the area; they weren’t to be seen that day, but it won’t be long before they are busy in the field edges, catching insects for their nestlings. Yellowhammers looked splendid with the sunshine catching their lovely plumage and both grey and pied wagtails were also plentiful, the latter cheekily using the osprey perches that Scottish Power put up for us last year, as an observation post. Someone spotted a sandpiper, a pair have been regular visitors over the past few years, and our oystercatchers were also there, grubbing around for anything edible. They nest most years on the shingle island by the sand martin cliff and successfully raised a chick last year, despite the attention of crows who would have eaten the eggs and chicks if they could. Please bear this little family in mind if you let your dog swim in the river. Not to be outdone, the butterflies are back in numbers, with the beautiful orange tip particularly numerous along the bank. I just wish they would land long enough for me to take a photograph; their wings are as spectacular closed as they are open but they never seem to stop!
Anyway, as well as what I saw that day, we have kingfishers seen occasionally, and many other species of birds, as well as otters, deer, badgers (footprints only so far as far as I’ve witnessed) and all manner of other wildlife. It’s a gorgeous place to chill out – I even spotted a couple of humans, laid out having a snooze, but I didn’t disturb them (or take a photo!). Do take the opportunity if you are visiting to have a wander down there; if you get the timing right,
Samson or Delilah might even grace you with a flypast!
Just another couple of weeks before we can expect our first hatching (29th May is the “wet finger in the air” date I’m looking at). I’ll let you know as soon as we have news.