We went to Rutland Water today – the last of the local big nature reserves. It was raining when we set off, but we thought we’d give it a go and see what happened. In view of the curse (which you can read about here and here) that seems to have settled on my shoulders this year it was a brave decision.
At least the rain stopped.
That, as it turned out, was the only good thing at that time. The toilet facilities, which can be quite important to a middle-aged man, were unsatisfactory. As we tried to photograph birds on the feeding station an employee of the reserve found it necessary to move a Landrover – setting of the alarm as he got in and slamming the doors as he got out. All the birds left. The first waterside hide was closed. As we sat in the second hide two volunteers arrived with power tools, later following us to the next one (though we managed to slip out just before they arrived).
If it had been free to enter I may have taken these irritations in my stride. But as they had charged us £11.40 for the privilege of walking round muddy tracks peering at distant ducks I was, by this point, already mentally composing my letter of complaint.
Fortunately this isn’t the full picture of the day.
There isn’t a cafe, so there was no problem there, and the shop staff were very professional. Despite the unusable hides there were plenty of others, with some good views. Seems like the Curse of the Large Nature Reserve might be lifting.
We managed to see some good birds, including Red Crested Pochards, which I’ve never seen before.There were plenty of Pintail visiting and we got good views of both Great and Little Egrets, though there were a lot of reeds in the way of the Little Egret. There was even a distant male Smew.
As we neared the car park a Red Kite flew over.
All in all, it was a good day.
On the way home we managed to miss the rush hour and all the traffic lights seemed to work in my favour. That’s another jinx lifted; I swear that all the traffic lights have been against me since 1st January.