The sun is shining, leaves are slowly appearing on the branches, flowers are lifting their heads above the earth and hordes of summer visitors of the bird variety are arriving on our shores from distant lands. Their journey has often been long and hazardous. It must be a relief to see land once more, and find a safe place to rest and refuel before (for many) heading further inland.
As part of my year of rekindling my sense of wonder in the earth,sea and skies we went on a guided walk in the local nature reserve at West Bexington, which is tucked behind the shingle of the Chesil beach searching for migrant birds.
Dorset is in a popular stop off on the bird migration route. Many of the birds fly over from the Cherbourg Peninsula in France. The first land mass they reach is Portland and from there they will fly along the coast either east or west. Tracking and new technology has allowed us to learn so much more about their routes. It is estimated throughout the world that over 40% of all birds migrate and with a good wind behind them, a bird can cover 1000 Km in 24 hours (see RSPB for more detailed inforrmation about migration.
The views in and around the reserve were spectacular. We saw many birds that we would not have recognized or noticed without the expert guidance. We spotted 38 Whimbrel (a wading bird similar to a curlew),wheatear, common sandpiper, lesser whitethroat, common scoter, tufted duck, shelduck,. They either moved too fast, or were too far in the distance to photograph. The sound of the birdsong mingled with the sound of the new born lambs, this one below had just been born.
Within the reserve was also other surprises of a flowering nature.....
|Early purple orchid, false oxslip (a hybrid between a primrose & cowslip, and a marsh marigold.)|
There are 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK which manage 2,300 Wildlife Reserves the majority of which are free to visit all year around.Do you visit any local reserves or a regular basis? Do other countries have many nature reserves too? There is no better way to celebrate Spring and in their words...
"Spring is showtime, with the almost ridiculously sumptuous shag-pile carpets of bluebells and the deafening chorus at dawn..This is Wild Time in its Hope Mode: when everything seems possible and the next miracle of life is just around the corner: or coming along in the next minute, if only you’ll stop your busy life for a moment and wait for it. Life is teeming all around you: in a hurry to create more life before it’s too late."
After our morning birdwatch we walked from home to a nearby wood to enjoy the carpet of bluebells. I always find it so difficult to capture their vibrant colour. We stopped at this gate to admire the view and appreciate how lucky we are to live in such wonderful surroundings. I often get complimentary comments about my images, but with such amazing scenery it is not difficult to produce a good picture!
Earlier in the week the cliffs opposite us were glowing in the evening light, which encouraged me to go down to the bay to enjoy the sunset. The seagulls were already there admiring the view and as the sun set the sky was shrouded in this orange glow. The two people below enjoying the view from the rocks made perfect silhouettes, reminding me so much of an Anthony Gormley sculpture.
I hope you have been able to enjoy some wildlife this week too.