I’ve never been to a striptease show (doesn’t really appeal) but there were two at Stanwick Lakes this morning.
When I got into my car at 0730 the windscreen was frozen up – an unusual experience over the last several months. As I drove the few miles to the lakes I could see that the valley was filled with mist and, as I parked, it was clear that visibility was not clear.
The conditions weren’t ideal for birding – I could hear Song Thrushes, Dunnocks, Black-headed Gulls and Wrens but not see any of them. I decided on a quite radical course of action – I would change my normal route. Now I wouldn’t want you to think that I, a self-proclaimed radical, would be a bit set in my ways but I do tend to follow the same route (OK – let’s be honest – exactly the same route) on every visit to Stanwick Lakes. This is partly because I persuade myself that it maximises the comparability of my bird sightings but is also because I am the type of person who is quite happy to keep eating the same thing off the menu once I have found my favourite.
Only a thick mist could budge me from my routine, and my thinking was that the mist would have cleared when I got to the ‘best’ part of the walk which is usually near the beginning but today would be near the end.
As I walked, I was shrouded in mist and almost all of the first 30 species I recorded were heard rather than seen, but the mist was clearing and I felt as though I had made the right decision. I sat and waited looking over an island where gulls and terns nest and the waited for the mist to clear. It was then that I started thinking about stripteases and the veils being lifted from Stanwick Lakes to reveal…well… Stanwick Lakes!
The slow reveal didn’t really add to the excitement of the morning but it did turn into a glorious, sunny spring day. The Sedge Warblers are now around in some numbers to add their staccato songs to the viscous maple syrup tones of the Willow Warblers, the melodies of the Blackcaps and the once exhilarating but now, a few weeks later, a bit irritating, Chiffchaff songs. There were the cries of Common Terns, Black-headed gulls and Oystercatchers too.
I was hoping for a Whitethroat or a House Martin or an Orange Tip butterfly to mark the onward passage of Spring, but encountered none of them. But next time I return to Stanwick maybe she, for she is surely a ‘she’, will reveal all?
And the other striptease? The weatherman had predicted that it would be a day when one would want many layers first thing and to remove them as the day went on. He was right. I was bundled up in fleece and jacket, and didn’t feel over-warm, at the beginning of my walk but was carrying the jacket and was eager to shed the fleece by the time I returned. I wouldn’t go any further than that though. I am a creature of habit.
PS – my garden produced a House Martin (in fact a group of four) on my return and a male Orange Tip butterfly too. The world keeps turning and Spring advances.