Thursday, 23 February 2017

Curlew, Black-Tailed Godwits and Running Through Doris


Black-Tailed Godwit, winter plumage

Lots of Black-Tailed Godwits


Keyhaven, Isle of Wight in the distance
Last weekend we popped down to Keyhaven so I could get a sea fix and see some sea birds. It's is a good place for Black-Tailed Godwit, a reasonably rare wading bird that only breeds in a handful of places in the UK. It has special protection as a result and I was thrilled to see so many of them on the mudflats here. They're in their soft dove-grey winter plumage right now but it won't be long before they morph into bright chestnut summer attire.

Also feeding out on the mudflats was a curlew, one of my favourite birds. I love everything about them but especially their improbably long, curving beaks and that call. So eerie.

Down by the river that flows beneath the bridge and out into the estuary were my all-time favourite birds of the sea: Turnstones. They merged so well into the pebbles that the camera missed them most of the time and I returned with lots of blurry Turnstones in the foreground and perfectly sharp pebbles behind.

Today, Storm Doris is battering us. The heron knows all about it. He's been standing on the edge of the island since 9am patiently waiting for breakfast to swim by while the surface of the lake is whipped into a frenzy by the wind. Feathers have been going in all directions. It doesn't suit a heron's innate dignity to be so buffeted. 

The dogs and I went out for a (still tentative) 3 mile run round the lanes and back across the fields in it first thing. This is the first time I've run since last Saturday and I am starting to feel unfit. M came on his bike, having done a ten mile run on his dodgy knee yesterday (which felt strong, so his half marathon weekend after this one is looking good), and managed to fall off the bike on to the damaged knee while navigating a tight turn with shoes locked into pedals. Oops.

Ted wasn't too chuffed at being out in a storm: his ears kept being swung about his head in a haphazard manner which he didn't enjoy very much. Pop was her usual happy-to-be-out-regardless-of-the-weather self and zoomed off, splashing through puddles, sinking into mud ploughing through sand as per usual. Crows were being chucked about the sky like black hankies, branches were waving hysterically and the pigs were all very pink in a scrubbed-clean-by-the-rain sort of way. Under foot it was squelchy and I came home flecked with mud and spattered by the rain. 

The knees held up well all things considered, I could barely feel them which is a big improvement, and I got home in about 27 mins, so a faster time than last Saturday's 5k but still steady enough for recovering muscles (I hope). I'm getting fed up with the general lack of running and the slow pace though so really hope to be back to more-or-less normal training next week. 17 days to go till the Cub.....

I'm off now to make marmalade, which seems safer on the whole than being outdoors at the moment, although we will have to venture out for L's hair cut this afternoon. I feel a parachute strategically placed would get us there quicker than driving.

Hope all are well?



  1. Your passage about the heron is wonderful!

    Still resting up my slightly pulled calf. Apart from cricket, which is making my back ache!

  2. Hope the marmalade has gone well, you could try some of my marmalade butterfly cakes with it:). Bet you loved your sea fix with all those wonderful birds. I often hear curlews with their distinctive cry but very few sightings. Glad your knee is holding up. Slow and steady remember. B x

    1. I'd love some of those lovely marmalade cakes you made! X

  3. Lovely to see the waders, those are the birds we're familiar with round here on the mud flats. I can even identify some of them! I was watching the crows today as well, one in particular flapping wildly high above a tree and not moving anywhere. Hope the marmalade goes well. CJ xx

    1. My wader iDs aren't as strong as my other birds- don't see them often enough. There were lots of ducks there too- pochard and I think teal. X

  4. Hey CT,
    Curlews are abundant on the Hayle Estuary. They have such an eerie cry. And I watched a Turnstone with much amusement by the ice cream parlour on the harbour front today. They are so comical, and full of personality. They are also partial to a sliver of pasty, as Olly found out to his great delight last week. Good to hear that your running progresses nicely. I have managed two this week, and two sessions of badders, so I'm happy. Going for a longer run with sister in law on Saturday. A hilly one to boot. And am finally starting to notice differences in shape and tone. Thank God!
    Leanne xx

    1. I have a real soft spot for turnstones. I love their busyness. Yay for all your sporting activities this week. I'm envying you the longer run this weekend. We've just been looking at last year's winning 10k time for the race we're doing this weekend- 33 minutes for the men and 36 for the women. I shall be somewhat further down the field 😂 x

  5. Well done on running in storm Doris. I had to walk to collect my car from the garage today and nearly got blown off my feet! Wonderful bird photos as always and I hope your marmalade making went well. xx

  6. What a lovely post... nothing like a trip to the sea! Keyhaven is beautiful!
    I hope you didn't get blown away!
    I love marmalade.... I think I was Paddington in a previous life!!!!!!😜
    Happy days CT! Xx

  7. Poor old birds having to contend with storm Doris and you out running in it too, maybe it improved your time with an extra whoosh! x

  8. I do love waders - their busyness and serious intent are a joy to watch – but sadly we don't get many at all in the bay here. There are often turnstones on the pier in Deal which are lovely to watch. I'm glad the running is going well. You saying that you're starting to feel unfit made me smile - it's all relative, isn't it?! Hope M is ok after his bile fall and I hope your marmalade turns out well. I've got a box of sevilles in the fridge waiting for me to be in the mood... Sam x

  9. Great photos!
    The curlew is one of my favourite birds too. We start to hear their call in April and there's a saying that when you hear the curlew's call, you shouldn't walk on the ice (of the lakes) anymore... it means spring is finally coming! :)
    Here -16 C today and it's going to be a sunny day. Happy weekend!

  10. Birds are waiting for the arrival of spring. They will get foods easier.


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