Words and pictures by Mat Bingham.
For the last couple of years there has been a resident pair of Mandarin Ducks on the river. I’m not sure whether they are a truly wild second generation pair or escaped from someones collection. I like to think they are wild. They are certainly very wary of humans and tend to take flight at the first sign of me walking along the bank. They also seem to notice my hide. Although I remain still inside and suitably camouflaged it never seems to fool the Mandarins. Its a very rare occasion that I manage to photograph them. The attached photo shows the male which is a beautiful bird. They tried to raise a family last year and failed. I notice this year they are already down to two chicks so things are not looking to hopeful.
In mid June I ventured out at dawn on a day when the sun finally came out. For the first time it really did feel like spring. All along the side of the river there were carp rolling and splashing in the vegitation spawning. I had started to consistently find damselflies (the photo shows a backlit damselfly exuvae). The exuvae is the case that remains after the damselfly has emerged from the nymph.
In late June I visited the Weaver for the last couple of times. A few months earlier I had been asked if I would relocate to the midlands to take up a different position with work, It has come as a bit of a surprise how quickly the moving date has arrived and also how quickly the last few years have flown by. The photo of the Canada Goose landing in the mist I took earlier this year. I like this photo as it was taken during my favourite conditions on the river at dawn as the mists rise.
On my final visit to the river at dusk as I headed back to the car I stopped and tuned round and looked up the towpath to say a final fair well. There was a fox stood there looking at me. He stood there for a couple of seconds then he was gone.