Such weather encourages us to visit favourite places (and new ones, too), but had to include a trip into Spain to the large wetland reserve we tend simply to refer to as “the Emporda"*. This latest trip was slightly more complicated than usual, in that our van was neatly broken into at a deserted parking area; very little damage was done, and very little of value taken, and so a good day was not actually ruined, despite the initial shock.
As has been made very clear (especially by Lesley!), the late autumn was very wet and, as a consequence, there was more water all around the reserve than I think we have ever seen. Initially cool and grey, the day became sunny and bright, and we were welcomed by the white horses which seem happily to live ankle-deep in water, which is also where they were foraging. Soon after, from one hide, we had good views of a kingfisher, almost exactly where Martine had photographed one, probably two years ago. We had already had one surprise; although we have watched, in the past, the storks departing on migration in the autumn, quite a number this year appear to have decided to over-winter, or had returned very early. They were very much in evidence, and the ritual beak-rattling was audible all around us.
Greylag goose, Egyptian goose, shelduck, (looking spectacular in the clear light), umpteen mallard of course, shoveler, garganey, teal, dabchick, great crested grebe, white stork, grey heron, great egret, little egret, cormorant, coot, lapwing, common snipe, redshank, curlew sandpiper, various gulls (sorry, did not pay them much attention!), kingfisher, chiffchaff, starling, robin, black redstart, white wagtail…….and flamingos, doing the shuffle which Martine has also photographed in the past. And, for variety, three coypu, swimming and feeding very close to us.