Yesterday, myself and Trevor, had a great day out, at two nature reserves in Hertfordshire. We started at Amwell, and then went on to Rye Meads.
Neither of us had been to Amwell before, and since Rye Meads doesn't open till 10 a.m., we made Amwell our first stop.
There has been a report of a Redstart in one of the fields, so a possible bonus if we managed to see it; although neither of us are 'twitchers', it would be good to see it while we're there, but certainly not the end of the world if we didn't.
We parked up in the narrow road, (no fancy car parks here), and made our way down a leafy track, towards the reserve.
Across a railway line, over the river Lea, and eventually one of the lakes lay ahead.
A 'welcome' notice, and another large board, that had a list of the recent sightings.
A great idea. I was warming to this place already.
We set of down a track road towards one of the hides. A very impressive hide too.
Clean, tidy, and giving good views over the lake.
After a while we left there, and made our way round towards the next hide. Three in all, and all equally clean, and tidy.
From the 'White Hide', excellent views over the biggest lake, Great Hardmead Lake, and the many birds that were there; amongst them,
Eventually we left the comfort of the hide, and set off towards the next lake.
There is also a meadow here, and a dragonfly trail. It's also where the Redstart has been sighted.
Walking down the leafy track, we stopped occasionally to photograph the dragonflies and butterflies that were in abundance.
A gentleman walked past with some binoculars round his neck, exchanged a few pleasantries, and carried on.
We finally reached the gate to the meadow, and as we went in, we saw binocular man off to our right, chatting to another man with a camera, and lurking a short distance from the bush where the Redstart had been sighted.
We carried on along the path, towards the boardwalk that crosses over the wet meadow. We agreed we'd go look for the Redstart in the bush, later.
A few more dragons and butterflies, a Sparrowhawk overhead, and then we began to make our way back towards binocular man, camera man, and Redstart bush.
Something caught my eye as we slowly walked there.
Over on a wooden seat, not far from our destination, sat a bird.
The Redstart. A little distant, but the Redstart nonetheless.
The funny thing was though; to me, anyway, the two intrepid bird watchers had been joined by a third. All three were gazing lustily towards Redstart bush.
And just a few yards behind them, a Redstart was gazing their way.
When we first saw binocular man along the track, he hadn't mentioned the Redstart.
Maybe he thought two blokes heading that way, with cameras and binoculars, weren't interested in birds, or a Redstart that is not exactly as common as a pigeon.
Or maybe he was just a miserable bugger, and wasn't going to tell us.
Well, here we were, looking at a Redstart,
that was behind them, looking their way, while they were looking at a bush.
As we walked past them, they looked over briefly, and then set their silent gazes, lovingly at the bush.
I was so temped to call out, 'it's behind you!!'
But I thought, 'nah, sod 'em'.