After being confined indoors most of the weekend because of the weather, and the enormous amount of alcohol I drank on Saturday night, it was a joy to get out into the Goyt this evening. The sun was shinning and even the fledglings tore themselves away from what ever drama they were watching on the tele and came with me.
We arrived at the car park and noticed a big white and grey bird skulking by the water's edge. It was the Heron. The pond seemed full of activity. There were quite a few ducklings swimming around being scolded by their mother. A couple of male mallards lazed by the waters edge close to the Heron and there was a tufted duck minding its own business in the middle of the pond. We got out of the car as quietly as possible. The Heron was still but it had a tension about it, and moments later it struck at something in the water and took off with that lazy languid flight that Herons have. A few flaps of its great wings and it settled down on the hillside to eat what ever it was that it had found in the pond. I rather think it was one of the ducklings! While the Heron was leaving ,the pond rippled with activity, and squawking and quacking and the ducks and ducklings headed for the comparative safety of the middle. We counted six ducklings. A seventh broke cover from the reeds at the edge of the pond and headed out in a whirlwind of activity to its siblings and its mum.
Up on the hillside the Heron ate its catch.
We walked on. A curlews cry carried across the valley on the breeze. There seem to be much fewer of them this year and though we heard several more we did not see any. After all the rain that we had had over the past few days it was good to see the puddles of water and to hear the streams. Its amazing how quickly everything greens up again. The "Moors are closed" signs had been taken down and the ground was even soft under foot in places.
Back at the pond the children sat down by the waters edge. They stayed quiet and the ducklings headed towards them. Gradually they became bolder and soon they were tugging at bits of fleece and waddling over to nip outstretched hands.
On the hillside above the Heron was hunched down. It appeared to have finished feeding. For today at any rate.