One of the delights of nature is its constant capacity to surprise – even with the apparently ordinary. I was walking on the top of Leckhampton Hill earlier this week when I saw a field covered in white flowers. I thought it must be something similar to oilseed rape, until I got closer and discovered that the flower was the oxeye daisy. I’ve never seen it in such profusion.
A couple of days later I went down to Slimbridge to see a red-necked phalarope, a rare wader that in the UK breeds only in the Shetlands. A female had dropped in – and it’s a spectacular bird to see. Nevertheless, at least as impressive were the massed ranks of over a hundred black-tailed godwits elsewhere on the reserve. Seeing them arrayed as they were, you could imagine you were somewhere tropical… (I’d encourage you to click to enlarge as the image below doesn’t really do them justice)
Later in the week I had an abortive wild-duck chase down to Chew Valley Lake, and ended up sheltering in a bird hide while it poured with rain for the best part of two hours. Nevertheless on the way back I came across two roe deer and a hare – each of them magnificent sights in their own right.