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