I've had a bad week. It started with the news the Information Centre at Cranford Park had been destroyed by fire (see my previous blog post), and continued with a few horrendous days at work, and getting wound up by some insensitive comments on a well known networking website. Result is I am due to start a new work placement tomorrow and I've deactivated my account with the well known networking site for a while. I need a break and luckily I will get one at the end of next week. Until then I have cancelled all future plans and will be taking each day as it comes. I think I've had what I can only describe as a 'mini meltdown'. I'm lucid, I'm in control, I'm okay but all week I've had a feeling of pressure pressing down on me.
Todays visit to the London Wetland Centre was completely unplanned. I was awake before dawn, and by 8am knew I needed to get out and about with my camera and bins.
The usual faces were at the centre (hullo Phillip, John, Terese, Maryann, Martin, Keith etc) and as always we all comfortably wander off knowing we will bump in to each other again either in one of the hides or back in the café.
There were plenty of birds around including autumn visiting Pintails, a migrant Hobby, singing Cettis Warblers, mixed flocks of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits and ChiffChaffs, plenty of Common Snipe, at least three male Stonechats, several Mipits, at least four Pied Wagtails and several good views of a normally shy bird, the Sparrowhawk. We saw both male and female birds, at least one of each during the course of the day with possibly a second female or juvenile. There were also some late flying butterflies. I spotted Green-veined White, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.
But no photos of any birds today. My day was about relaxing and enjoying nature, not about getting stressed because I couldn't get a good photo. So I enjoyed taking photos today of the lesser mentioned critters that were around.
Darters were abundant. They really were. They were resting on the paths, the wooden bridges, reeds, everywhere.......
Also enjoying the unusually warm day were several Common Lizards. They were all spotted in the Wildside area and were very active running across the paths and bridges......
There was one particular small pond in the Wildside area that was home to an amazing 27 Marsh Frogs of various sizes. Amazing because during most of the last couple of months that same pond was bone dry. Now it's alive with frogs, including the large one below that seems to have taken to cannibalism.......
Yes, that is another frog in its mouth.
We watched it 'holding' the smaller frog until eventually it dived under the water and emerged without it.
The one below was happily content on the other side of the pond.
Migrant Hawkers were also abundant, but not so easy to photograph as the Darters as they weren't settling as much, but I managed to grab a couple of photos including one which has a damaged wing (bottom photo).....
Today wasn't an exceptional day, I watched more than I photographed, but it was what I needed. A stress free day.
On the way home my good friend Birdy Phil dropped me off at Cranford Park where I just walked around observing but not lifting my camera once. The burnt out Info Centre is boarded up and surrounded by 'police' tape. The ground outside the centre is still covered in ash. One of the destroyed shutters lays amongst the undergrowth. It's the end of an era for the Information Centre, but amongst the destruction a Phoenix from the flames will arise, a new centre will be built, life at Cranford Park continues.