Monday, 16 March 2020

Stockpiling fresh air and wide open views

In these grim times when self isolation and social distancing are terms which are now used in everyday conversation, when the shelves are cleared of toilet rolls and pasta, when we all live in fear and view everybody else with suspicion, especially if they dare to cough or clear their throat, a fresh breeze and the wide open vistas of Banks Marsh on the Ribble Estuary provide wonderful therapy.

This morning I walked from Crossens pumping station to Old Hollow farm and back, enjoying the song of the skylarks, the bubbling of curlew, the whistling of wigeon and the music of an orchestra of wild geese. Early spring flowers such as lesser celandine and coltsfoot were in bloom and a peacock butterfly drifted past. Spring is certainly in the air!

And actually the geese with their enigmatic calls are just as much part of this time of year as anything else, with numbers always building in March as birds from further south start to head north. This is the time of year for seeing unusual geese and today on the marsh in amongst 8000 pink-feet there were Greenland and Russian whitefronts, grey-bellied brant, Todd's Canada goose and barnacle geese, plus a Tundra bean goose which I didn't see.

This is self isolation in the extreme, I met one other birder and a couple of dog walkers all morning and we all kept a respectable distance.


This is me at my place of work last week, Walney Island, Cumbria. Not a soul in sight all day from 7:30am to 3:30pm. Vast mud flats and creeks, the calls of redshank, curlew and oystercatchers, skeins of pink-feet passing overhead, all going north and goldeneye and red-breasted mergansers displaying in the channel.

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