The Bath Christmas Market has been our usual excuse for the, now annual, visit - plus it coincides with Darryl's birthday. This year we were a little premature with our timing, the market still being under construction - shame! Our Saturday plan was very simple; Darryl & Bev went shopping in Bath whilst I took a drive across to Chew Valley Lake (Visitor's Centre) for a spot of birdering.
|The view across Chew Valley Lake from the mound on "The Bittern Trail" (21.11.2015)|
A very pleasant session at a very ordinary/crap venue - just a personal perspective! I parked in the "Visitor Centre" car park and walked the route, including the Bittern Trail. The Bernard King Hide has been closed, until further notice - Sorry for any inconvenience! - An A4 laminated sign just before you reach your destination. Fuck off - I've just travelled from Ramsgate! I now have to concede that just as Dungeness, Sandwich Bay and Portland - even Newland's Farm - have their own allure - Chew doesn't cut it! It's a flooded valley in some magnificent countryside - but nothing more. The big pike, that inhabit it's murky depths, are nothing more than freaks - bloated, trout fed caricatures - nowhere close to those creatures which fired my youthful dreams.
I had the better part of six hours to waste - no problem! The Bernard King Hide saga, apart, there is plenty of opportunity to do your own thing around the shores and surroundings of Chew Valley Lake.
It was great to spend time in company of Siskin, Bullfinch and Goldcrest. Odd bunches of Goldfinches were encountered along my route. I discovered a group of 4 or 5 Chiffchaffs feeding in the lea of a wind swept hedgerow - none better than nominate "colybita"
|1st winter Black-headed Gull|
|Adult Common Gull|
I walked away, un scathed, from the delights of Chew Stoke and headed back to the Visitor Centre, where I spent a while getting some images of the gulls that ply their trade around the café. Good numbers of Common Gulls was a pleasant distraction, although a Black-headed Gull in full summer apparel was a surprise.
|A proper surprise - an adult summer Black-headed Gull above the visitor centre at Chew Valley Lake (21.11.2015)|
Let's get this right - Darryl is a full grown adult, a Maths masters degree and thirty eight years into his journey - quite what Mum thinks she can add, at this stage, is a bit of a mystery? Still I went along with the gig - always another angle?
Alix is a fantastic lady - got Bev's approval instantly. Very intelligent (not always a good thing?), humorous and attractive - couldn't fail in my opinion.