Sunday, 15 February 2015

Sea Birds And Salt Marshes, And Treacle Pud With Caramel Sauce Recipe

It being sunny when we woke we jumped in the car and went to Keyhaven, to the sea. The tide was out, the sun shone and it was warm. There were also plenty of birds to be seen but like a total dolt I forgot my bins :o( So I borrowed an extremely expensive looking lens attached to an equally expensive looking camera from a nice man so I could tell what it was I was looking at. Brent Geese, as it happens, which is what I thought they were.


We think it was the warmest it has ever been at Keyhaven for one of our visits, and there were lots of people out walking enjoying the sea air, but because it is a big place it wasn't crowded.


The light was superb.




The stretch of coast around Keyhaven is a Nature Reserve- it's a nationally important site for waders and sea birds. In the next picture you can see one of the salt marsh lagoons where many of the Brent Geese were congregating.


Salt marsh is a threatened habitat of vital importance not just for over-wintering sea birds, but also for coastal defence- it absorbs the energy of sea when it's angry, preventing flooding, minimising erosion and providing a valuable buffer zone betwixt land and sea. Their value is being recognised and efforts are under way to preserve them. 



Did you spot the Cormorant in typical pose top right in the pic above?

There were Curlews aplenty at the site this morning. There eerie call was echoing out across the mud flats. I adore Curlews, such amazing beaks :o)


I counted three Little Egrets fishing in the shallows. They have been a success story here in the UK and now breed as far North as the top of Wales, and I believe are in some Northern Counties too. These two were having Great Success fishing in their streamlets...






The swans were in Mating Mode. The Cobs (males) were wooshing about with wings raised and heads lowered. The pic below is actually two swans, the Pen (female) is the one with the head out in front, while the Cob is the one with wings lifted and head low down chasing after her. There were two Cobs vying for the attention of the one Pen. The bow waves show how fast they were moving.


Pop hasn't seen many swans, so when M took her down to the sea edge she was completely fascinated by them and stood doing what we all call her 'meer cat' pose for ages...


Ted has had a run in with a swan once before and he accords them more respect. For some reason, he was Very Keen to get on the little ferry that runs over to Hurst Castle across the bay. Perhaps he remembered the Rather Attractive black lab who was on the boat last time? They did make me laugh, waiting patiently by the sign :o)

 
We eschewed the ferry on this occasion, because I wanted to walk by the sea and look at the birds.

Common Gull
Mallards in the sun
 


 
Oyster Catcher
Red Shank
A visit to the sea wouldn't be the same for me without sight of my beloved Turnstones. This little group was so close and so well camouflaged I very nearly trod on them.







We then had two amazing things occur. First, a Kingfisher flew straight as a dart in front of us and up across the reeds. M and L had never seen one in the flesh before so that was special, and I always feel honoured to see one. And then, this happened....

 



They flew right over our heads, low as anything. Magic.
By this point L felt he had had his fill of sea birds, so retreated to the wall with a Good Book...


This is usually my cue that time is running out, so we turned and walked back up to car along the sea path and I got a few more pictures to record our day...

 
 
 
Pied Wagtail

It was a lovely trip out and topped up my sea side requirements perfectly :o)

I promised to post the Treacle Pud recipe so here it is:

Caramel Sauce

110g/ 5oz brown sugar
60g/ 2oz butter or equivalent
250ml double cream

1. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring occasionally until all melted and combined.
2. Remove from the heat while you make the sponge

Sponge

2 tbsp golden syrup (treacle)
110g / 4oz self raising flour
110g/ 4oz brown sugar
110g/ 4oz butter or equivalent
2 eggs

1. Put the treacle in the bottom of an oven-proof dish
2. Chuck everything in a bowl or mixer and mix till well combined
3. Put the mixture into the oven-proof bowl on top of the treacle
4. Chuck in oven at 150/ Gas 4 and bake for approx 20 mins till a skewer in the mixture comes out clean
5. make some holes in the top with the skewer and drizzle some of the caramel sauce over, leaving some to add to individual portions.
6. Serve with cream/ ice cream and caramel sauce
7. Serves about 4 people
8. You can make it in individual little pots should you wish, adjust cooking time accordingly if so

Caramel sauce being made
Sponge Pud pre-cooking
Sponge pud out the oven with caramel sauce added
Served!
Hope you're all having a lovely weekend. Half term here now so L and I are planning to relax, unwind and generally enjoy our week off (in between assignments for college for me and RE homework for him, as well as a trip to the dentist!).

CT :o)

























 

42 comments:

  1. What a wonderful day out you all had at the sea. The Swans flying overhead were superb shots. tricky to get sometimes. great you all saw the Kingfisher. Lovely part of the world. Loved all the waders and ducks and enjoyed the dogs waiting at the sign.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, I was so pleased with the swan shot- right place, right time x

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  2. Looks like a nice trip to the sea. Wow - lots of birds! I really liked your shots of the egret.

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  3. Love the house peeping through the windswept trees picture, CT.

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    1. I've photographed that scene before on a previous trip, it never fails to look beautiful.

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  4. Fabulous day out with the birds, magic indeed to see the swans so close. What's the word for that clicking sound their wings make?
    The recipe is a keeper :)

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    1. Not sure about the clicking word. I've made the pud a few times now- I think it is hard to get wrong so hopefully will work well! xx

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  5. What beautiful images - lovely to see the sunshine, as it is so grey here -daren't look at the pud as I ate far too much cake yesterday!

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    1. I ate too much yesterday too :o) Running tomorrow...

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  6. Looks like a lovely day out, great pictures. I do like the sound of your Treacle tart, just the ticket after a day out in the elements.x

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    1. It's a definite comfort food winter pud, Shauna :o) x

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  7. Love that flight of swans CT.....and seeing a kingfisher is indeed special, actually had one perch on my fishing rod back in the day when I fished. Oh and that pud looks scrummy but how the hell am I supposed to lose weight when you keep putting such gorgeous recipes up? Oh have I mentioned that curlews are me favorite birdy?

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    1. I've heard other fishermen say the same, and a friend who shoots once had a little owl perch on the end of his shotgun!

      Sorry about the recipe- perhaps cut it in half, then it wouldn't be too bad? A reward/ encouragement for the knees maybe? x

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  8. What a delight it is to read your posts. I envy your close proximity to that gorgeous coastline. And Poppy looked a treat on her little back legs.

    Jean
    x

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    1. Ah, thank you Jean. Keyhaven is a beautiful place. Pop has me in hysterics every time she stands up like that- she can do it for ages too! xx

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  9. Lovely lovely photos. I love salt marshes they are magical places. Sounds like you had a good day with lots of sunshine. The sun has deserted us for the time being so your pictures were really uplifting.

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    1. They are special aren't they? There is definitely something about them. I was so pleased to get a couple of hours out in the sun- we've had so little of it recently. Back to grey and rain today!

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  10. lovely pictures and account of the birds and the salt marsh, but of course, I love the pictures of Poppy and Ted best of all. The meercat pose, the waiting-for-the-ferry, and the balancing-along-the-wall pix make me smile. The pudding looks a treat too! Have a relaxing half term xxx

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    1. Does Floss do the whole standing on her back legs thing? Ted doesn't. I have a theory it's because Poppy is so small it's the only way she can see what's going on, and she does like to know everything that's going on! Have a good week Lil x

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  11. I'm a retired wildlife rehabilitator...specialist subject...birds.
    Just spent a few minutes in heaven looking at these piccies.
    Here ,it's -40C , the birds grabbed their morning food and disappeared.
    Jane x

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    1. Ooh, I didn't know that! Birds are my winter love, when all the moths and butterflies and other small things are sleeping. I was watching a kestrel hunt over our back garden during the weekend- so graceful. I bet you have lots of lovely stories? xx

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  12. That pudding is making me drool. It looks delicious.

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    1. It is rather lovely and so easy to make you don't even have to think about it!

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  13. Such a lovely day out for you all, I love the photos, and the pud recipe! Definitely going to give that one try. I also give swans a healthy dose of respect, I have memories of a few occasions when we didn't quite mix though I do believe a trip to the coast may be in order soon. Hope you have a great half term week apart from your homework xx P.s thanks for the website address I've ordered some bird fabric, two colours of the egg one & some of the bee one. If Mike spots them I wont hesitate to blame you :)

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    1. Do blame me- I live far enough away to be safe from Mike's wrath!!
      I think I may also have to get the egg fabric and I spent ages dithering over whether to buy the bees too! Oh well, I've got a birthday coming up which would be the perfect time to write a tiny list.... Have a lovely half term xx

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  14. Those pictures of the swans in flight are wonderful aren't they!! I note your comment to Joanne above about fabric, I forgot to say that I love the bird one and yes, the egg would I am sure go very well with it!! The pud sounds delicious!! It is making me well aware that no dinner is planned and that lunchtime is very soon - better get on! xx

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    1. Glad you liked the swans, it was amazing having them go right over head. I have succumbed and ordered the egg fabric (I'm blaming Jo for that!) and a dress pattern.... xx

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  15. A wonderful day out - looks a great place to visit for birds. You are fortunate to have the coast so close :) Love the Turnstone and swan photos :)

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    1. It is a fantastic spot, you would love it :o)

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  16. Lovely post and beautiful photo's. Enjoy your week.

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  17. Looks like a fab day out! Brilliant photos of the Little Egret and the flying swan, as well as many of the others. I shall bookmark that yummy recipe too - always happy to find recipes like that which don't require steaming and all that palaver.

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    1. It was cobbled together from a steam one, but frankly I can't be bothered with steaming so I just tweaked it and shoved it in the oven and it worked a treat! xx

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  18. Lovely post - thank you for sharing. I saw a little egret at Aberffraw on Anglesey last year, the first time I've seen one. x

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    1. Thanks Mrs Tiggywinkle. They are super birds aren't they? And becoming increasingly common in the UK these days :o)

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  19. Well I am really jealous, sun, sea and a great selection of birds ! we had drizzle and fog ! no photos this weekend :(
    Amanda xx

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    1. I do feel for you, I was overjoyed to be out in the sun and able to get some decent shots for the first time in what feels like ages. Drab days are no good for photographers are they? xx

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  20. Hey CT,
    That looks like a wonderful spot. We walked along Hayle estuary on Saturday, and there were lots of birds feeding, wading and generally mucking about. It was lovely. I do like the shot of your boy sat on the wall reading. It reminds me of Samuel. He always lets me know when it's time to leave in a similar manner. Very thoughtful I always think ;))
    Have a lovely half term. I'm feeling like a lazy one is in order here.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I've just been admiring your shots of Hayle- what a gorgeous place and I'll bet it's rich in all sorts of wildlife. It would be worth keeping an eye out for Bearded Tits (unfortunate name, or perhaps we all just have incredibly juvenile senses of humour in my house) among the reeds- it looks to be a perfect habitat for them and they are wonderful little birds. Have a google if you haven't seen one before.

      Yes, I imagine that shot of L on the wall is reminiscent of teens forced to go out on walks with their parents the world over!

      We're lazing this week too- hooray! Have a lovely one yourself my dear xx

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  21. Such gorgeous photos of all the sea birds! Don't you just love the little curled up feathers on mallards tails? cute! Loved the overhead swans, they must have seen you with the camera. It looks like it was a wonderful visit! Wendy

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    1. The curly feathers are very sweet and I was thrilled that the swans went straight overhead it was an amazing sight :o).

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x