Still blessed by the weather, we are currently sprinkled by dappled sunshine as, from a cloudless blue sky, it reaches us moored beneath a mushrooming willow tree near Sawbridgeworth Lock. Its gentle morning heat is therapeutic to our cold hardened bodies and in respect, limbs have been gratefully browning as we shed our hitherto winter clothes.
Summer is here we tell ourselves eagerly and cruising gently along is even more of a pleasure than before. From our schedule so far it will be noted that it has taken us four days to travel the River Stort from its junction with the River Lee to where we are now and still we are some distance from the navigable end at Bishops Stortford. Had we had the urge to do so, we could have easily travelled there and back in the time it has taken us till now.
But we cannot hurry when this river is so beautiful, especially in weather that enhances the surrounding colours and gives everything such a bright sparkle.
For example we intended to stay at Roydon only over night but in the end stayed for three (so thrilled were we to have iron mooring rings to which we could attach our ropes on this river at a proper Visitor Mooring was one of the reasons I’m sure). But also by chance on their walk back to collect Nigel’s car, he and Janis came upon Rye Meads, the bird sanctuary managed by the RSPB. They had a quick look around and Janis enjoyed it so much that the following day, after Nigel had left to return home, she just had to take me there too.
We took a picnic and spent the whole day at the reserve until it closed at five o’clock. It was a wonderful experience with such a wealth of wildlife there. Through narrow openings in hides I was very privileged to share at close quarters the private lives of many birds that I had never seen before, certainly that close, and was thrilled to take a number of photographs also. It was a superb day out altogether.
The Little Egret was there as was a large Marsh Harrier, which I had never seen before. All types of water fowl were on the lakes and ponds among the reeds and I was thrilled to get photos of a kingfisher and to spot for the first time a little brown Reed Warbler.
The Kingfisher with sustenance for its young
White Water Lily on one of the ponds
Old friends together. The Lapwing and the Mallard
A touching scene. Coot and young
Unidentified Chick. (perhaps someone can help please?)
Kestrel siblings soon to fledge
St James’ Church, Stanstead Abbots
The day passed by quickly but on the walk home we called in at St James’ Church, which during the Middle Ages had been the parish church of Stanstead Abbots. Though it is still consecrated only a few services are held there today and mostly it is open to visitors as an historical relic with its tall, enclosed Victorian pews. By the way she talked to us the lady, who showed Janis and me around, obviously loved the place very dearly.
What another wonderful day.