Sunday April 9th
The unexpected and thoroughly-appreciated week of high pressure ended with the perfect weekend, and I hope you all took advantage. We certainly did, although we waited until Sunday – partly because I struck lucky on Friday but mostly because we had a bit of a party Friday night.
Sunday was the perfect opportunity to pay our first visit to Bramshill. The possibility of coming back empty-handed was precisely the correct mindset. Better to be surprised than disappointed. Besides I was still buzzing from Friday and a perfect, cloudless sky couldn’t dampen my spirits.
We checked the ponds where the first Large Reds showed themselves last season but if there were any here they were probably carried by the steady breeze into the canopy. Ignoring an unnecessary niggle of disappointment we left the ponds and bumped into Mike looking for his first of the season. It wasn’t long before his keener eyes spotted a couple of tenerals rising from the shore of Long Lake.
Given the wind direction it made sense to concentrate along the NE shore and it wasn’t long before they started appearing in satisfying numbers, the majority catching the breeze to land out of reach. The small clearings halfway up the path were suffering extensive growth of scrub yet still offered the best chances with candidates choosing lower and (slightly) more accessible.
I needed just one subject to stay still long enough for me to learn how to properly use the camera again. Thankfully an obliging young male did just that, very low down yet perfectly perched on a gorse flower.
Earlier on this year I promised myself I’d use the macro more, and after half-a-dozen initial attempts without my subject getting jittery I swapped lenses; a fraught task being out of practice, but I finally managed it without incident or disturbing my quarry.
After a brief moment of indecision I decided to keep the macro on for the rest of our visit, hoping we wouldn’t encounter a brief, distant & worthy moment. We carried on searching out a few favoured pockets and, while Mike went back to the clearing, Sue & I took a walk to the central pond.
After encountering a couple of families sunbathing & letting their dogs swim we carried on to the grassy section where a good number of Large Reds rose with our passing. An obliging young female offered another worthy moment.
Two life-affirming days in the sunshine surrounded by new life, new growth and a soundtrack of birdsong. All we need now are some technically-savvy engineers to invent a device which can filter out the sound of dogs and their owners barking.
Here’s to a perfect summer.