A lapwing and an oystercatcher are busily wading at the water’s edge, oblivious to each other and seemingly to me. The lapwing’s careful, delicate leg lifts are accompanied by the twitching of its jaunty head plume, while the oystercatcher happily forages in the shallows, long orange beak stabbing away.
An hour has elapsed when the tranquility is briefly interrupted by a squawking trio of greylags raucously announcing their presence. Orange feet splayed ready for landing, these geese (incapable of a discreet arrival) are shouting: “Heeey look everyone, we're here . . .”
This place is a hidden secret: the vestiges of an old estate, in parts crumbling masonry and old railings long since lost and smothered by tangles of ivy and undergrowth, with winding paths and walks around three large lakes always teeming with birdlife. Recent years have seen increasing numbers of waders around the lakes – especially lapwing, flocks of them rising and wheeling on elegant slo-mo wings, which, when coupled with the atmospheric haunting, echoing cry of oystercatchers creates an absorbing aural as well as visual delight. The best wildlife encounters are those bringing total immersion, lost in the moment whether for five minutes or five hours - my absorbing hour has passed all too quickly.