CATTLE EGRET. WADER FLOCKS. WILD HARVEST.
It is this time of the year when, as I speak (type) there are lots of bubbling pots on the hob as jams and wines are being lovingly created. I called on a friend’s house today and while in the kitchen I could actually hear the pop pop popping as fresh elderberry wine was fermenting and bubbling through the air-locks on 5 demijohn jars. I hope you too are taking advantage of a family day out gathering in this wonderful wild (and free) harvest.
Elderberry wine is supposed to be so good for you and it is really is folks! Elderberry syrup seems to be some kind of ‘dark horse’ in the health world. Why is it so few folk are aware of the huge benefits of elderberry wine and in particular elderberry syrup? In all studies that I have ever seen it comes number one in tackling colds and flu. Check the internet, you will be amazed at what healing properties this so called ‘weed’ has to offer us. Lots of recipes for elderberry wine and syrup on the internet too of course
Well this is all getting a bit ‘Delia Smith’... lets get back to the wildlife.
Right now we are in the middle of the migrating season for birds. There are lots of comings and goings happening. Winter visitors such as the pink footed geese are taking up their usual residences in the Humber especially around Barton upon Humber and Read’s island. While watching various warblers feeding in the hawthorn hedges near the sea bank and making their way south for the winter I hear that old familiar call. The first geese of the season coming across the Humber from Spurn and settling in the fields near Donna Nook, it was 8th September. That call from a flock of high flying wild geese still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
Redwings and fieldfares that have spent the summer months in Scandinavia will be looking for your fallen apples any day now, they just love to feed on fallen apples so if you can leave them on the ground that will suit them just fine and add extra interest in your garden.
They also like berries and just look at the hedgerows this year! Lovely bunches of rowan, elderberries and hawthorn berries. The brambles in my usual patch were not so good this year , I cant think why that should be, maybe the summer of 2013 was a bit of a fright for them, it has certainly surprised us, wasn’t it great (unless you are a hay fever sufferer).
BIRD OF THE MONTH
Bird of the month has to be a rare cattle egret which took up residence near Tetney on the 12th Sept and left on the 26th to take up a new residence on the Gibraltar point nature reserve. I must admit I spent some time with this bird, it is still the only cattle egret in the UK at the moment and so a very nice bird to see and photograph.
No hide needed, just pick a spot and wait until it eventually comes near. It is always with the cattle because they have an abundance of flies on them and the egret just reaches up and picks em off. Occasionally it will have a change of diet and pluck a frog out of the reeds but I was never there to see that unfortunately.
During late October and into November dog walkers, joggers and yes, birdwatchers opposite the leisure centre at Cleethorpes are suddenly confronted with a real wildlife spectacular on a par with anything else in the world in my opinion and it is right here on our doorstep. So what is it all about? You will have seen those fantastic images on Countryfile of swarming starlings, well these are various species of swarming waders. Unlike starlings which look basically black, waders tend to be white on their undersides and darker above, therefore as these huge flocks of many thousands swish through the skies climbing turning and diving the whole flock keeps changing from dark to light and is much much better to watch than starlings.
I love seeing and photographing this event. Unfortunately conditions for capturing it on camera (or video) only last a couple of weeks for getting the very best images. This is all to do with the tides and sunsets and it is all very complicated but suffice it to say that this year the best times to see this will be on Sunday November 3rd.
High tide will be at 5.26pm and the birds should be swarming in the skies about 4pm. I think this might be the best day this year to see this event but remember these are wild birds, I hope they will not let me down! The next best day will be on Sunday November 17th. High tide will be at 5.30pm and the birds should be displaying around 4pm. If you fancy coming to take a look I strongly you recommend capturing them using your camera’s video programme because....it's all about movement!