Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Morning at Blithfield

After two weeks or so of what we used to think of as normal summer weather the tabloids now have headlines featuring “rocketing temperatures” and “heatwave warnings”, stories about “climate change” and articles about skin cancer!  Yes, it certainly starts to look as though our plan to escape the heat of the Algarve by coming to the UK is a failure.  But then again, perhaps not - forecast high temperatures today in Tavira and Stafford are 28°C and 25°C respectively, hardly a level to cause panic and alarm in either of those places.  We shudder to think what our friends in Tucson (35°) would think about such a reaction to weather we’re sure they would find to be a relief from the genuinely high temperatures they have been experiencing for the past few weeks and which they expect to have at this time of the year.

Anyway, making sure to use sunscreen, wear a hat and take plenty to drink, we spent yesterday morning at Blithfield Reservoir, another of our old stamping grounds in Staffordshire.  Blithfield, like Belvide, now has several new hides which are a great improvement on the old ones but we had forgotten just how far away from the birds several of them are. 

Although in some ways we enjoy the challenge of trying to identify distant waders, it was a bit unsatisfactory to come away from Blithe Bay not knowing for sure whether we really had seen a summer-plumaged Sanderling.  Even at 60x magnification through a Swarovski telescope it was just a dot!  And, while there was no doubt about the identification of spiffy Black-tailed Godwits, there was still no getting over the fact that they were 500 metres or more away and that as a result it was difficult to fully appreciate their finery.  Clearly we have been spoiled by the very close views of waders that we enjoy around Tavira!

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