© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Calm after the storm

Above me were eight or so Swifts, and I paused to enjoy their display. Their silhouette stood out against the brilliant blue of the sky, and I was really able to appreciate the lovely crescent shape of their wings in flight – the perfect aerodynamic shape to cut through the air. They made no sound as they wheeled; a shame because, as you know, I love their noisy, shrieking clamour.

They made the most of the gentle breeze, so different from the high winds of the previous night. As the wind had howled and temperatures plummeted to such a degree that I lit a fire in my woodburner, I had fretted about my wild friends. Would everything survive? But this morning I felt relief as I walked round the park. Despite seeing lots of leaves and indeed branches blown down – including one large that has cracked free of a horse chestnut - I haven’t seen any nests on the floor or troubled chicks.

I did a quick count when I got to Long Pool and was relieved to see all four Coot chicks in evidence, along with the seven Canada goslings, and the four Moorhen chicks. I haven’t seen any of the Mallard ducklings for a long time and fear they have been predated. Everything else is growing apace though; look at the picture to see how tall the Moorhens look when they stretch!

I clearly missed the fledging of the Nuthatch chicks, which must have happened on Sunday. It is such a shame, but I shall keep my eyes open for them out and about. I know they’ve definitely gone because already there is already a cobweb over the nest entrance – was there ever such a sign of abandonment?

I’d just put my camera away, about to leave the park, when a load of Canada Geese went over me in formation. They were really low and it would have made a great picture…if only my camera had not been tucked away in my bag. Such are the joys of nature photography! It’s all in the timing…

#swift #coot #moorhen #canadageese #mallards #nuthatch #greatspottedwoodpecker #woodpecker #highburypark #kingsheath