Mist was rising off the rippling water of the pools at Cranwich making them appear steaming hot, perhaps tempting one in for a quick dip. But this is not the time to be fooled as our breathe steams in the cold morning air. The sun was just peaking over the horizon, it’s golden rays streaming through the trees and tinging the opaque mist with an orangey pink light. Graceful swans drift through the mist welcoming the morning light. Ducks and geese leave trails of ripples in the still dark water. A grey heron perches at the very tops of a tree, seeming to strive for as much of the warm rays as possible; such an odd spot for a long legged wading bird. Fieldfare and redwing call overhead, having only recently arrived for winter. Autumn dawn at Cranwich.
Just the day before we had been on site setting a couple of nets in the late afternoon sun, watching the trees and reeds glow as it disappeared leaving a clear sky with only occasional patchy clouds.
The intention had been to catch starlings coming into the reeds to roost. But as the sky went through varying shades of ever darkening blue, not a single starling graced the backdrop. What did find our net in the dimming light was a tit flock, made of primarily long tailed tits but also a lone blue tit. Mixed in with this was a reed bunting, siskin, robin and chaffinch.
Our other net had a little help from a certain Latvian love song for redwing. And although the total caught was no where near the ‘Red Letter Day‘ of 2015 we did manage to catch a few of these stunning thrushes.
Finally the trees and reeds disappeared into the inky blackness of night becoming silhouettes against the sky and the calls of tawny owls echoed from the trees. Bright beams of head torches pierced the darkness as we took down the nets and then headed home to process our catch and roost the birds in large bags, safe and secure.
And so here we were the next morning ready to release the birds. As dawn broke over the site one by one we opened the bags and let the birds fly off into the morning light. The best bit? The absolute delight and joy on our little Robyn’s face as she sent each bird on its way.