Saturday morning saw me join other hardy souls for the first Secret Foulshaw event. I say hardy souls because it was lovely weather for ducks, although as I write this in the midst of Storm Dudley and with Eunice incoming every day is a bit like that at the moment. And when I say ‘join’ I only joined a couple of them at the outset, because we were at the main car park and nowhere near the meeting point due to a rogue sentence on one advert. This did however mean I got some pictures at the feeders.
As well as the species in the above pictures Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings and a splendid male Brambling were also among the throng.
In terms of the event itself it consisted of a stroll through some normally private woodland and then a walk out to normally private bird hide with Danni Chalmers. Danni is the local reserve warden and education officer, and is clearly very knowledgeable about the reserve and nature in general. At the hide pastries and hot drinks were provided, so fair play to Danni for having shlepped out across the embankment beforehand to deposit the refreshments.
I won’t go over everything that was mentioned as it would rather undermine the premise for anyone who might want to attend the remaining runnings of the event this year. Instead I will make various disparate personal observations about the morning.
1 – Sometimes you need a change of scene, but being creative about it you can do that fairly locally. It was nice to visit a bird hide I hadn’t been too before, and even on a drench day Marsh Harrier and Merlin were there to enjoy.
2 – Whilst there are cafes and gift shops at nature reserves of any size these days coffee and cake in a normal bird hide was delightful. I know this isn’t the most earth shattering observation that I could make but as I like coffee and cake at least you know I am sincere.
3 – Although supplementary bird feeding is becoming a contentious subject there is something life affirming about the comings and goings of so many species affording views you wouldn’t normally get.
4 – Well done to Cumbria Wildlife Trust for trying to do something a bit different, offering a novel experience of a nature reserve known to many for the breeding Ospreys but probably more important for many other reasons.
5 – It may be controversial to say but if they do get a really rare bird on the scrape viewed from the hide I think they would be well within their rights to suppress it. It’s not a location suited to a large arrival of visitors and twitchers getting a tick isn’t the be all and end all.