Perfect Day


Rye House

It was only a short train ride from London, but I had never been there before today; never even heard of it until the other week. Why do I book holidays in other countries when there is so much on my doorstep that I have never visited?
The destination was Rye Meads, a nature reserve in the Lea Valley. But the moment we came to the road from the station we saw Rye House Gatehouse, all that remains of a fortified manor house built in 1443. We had to stop. And we were lucky. It was open so we went inside to see more. Quite frankly, if that had been the best of the day it would have been enough. But it got better. Morning mist burned off and the sun shone in a cloudless sky. Rye Meads is an RSPB reserve and we were with people who knew their birds and were generous with their knowledge.
A heron stayed statue still while we watched and moorhens, coots, ducks and geese entertained us. One mallard in the reeds was so still I thought it was dead. Then it blinked.

We moved on and arrived at a hide where lenses were lined up paparazzi styly. Somewhat to my surprise, their owners welcomed us, making space for us on the narrow bench. The man next to me had a serious camera that cost serious money even before he bought more serious lenses. He showed me his pictures: woodpeckers, grandchildren and kingfishers. Especially kingfishers. He was a bit of a fan, he explained.
Suddenly there was a flash of blue. The cameras whirred like machine guns. The kingfisher moved from post to branch; dived into the water; preened its gleaming feathers; posed under our awed gaze.


22 thoughts on “Perfect Day

    • There are all these amazing places around the country I have never heard of. Run by charities. That makes me think; surely this is a resource that is so important it should be supported by our taxes? Much better for all of us than the nuclear subs we spend so much on upgrading.

  1. Love that shot. And you’re right that it’s funny how much we miss that’s essentially right outside our own doors (although traveling to new places is always good too).

    • My little Olympus went on strike yesterday, I hope it can be fixed, so that was with my ‘phone. If you click the link to Rye Meads there are some amazing shots. I should like to go back alone and sit very quietly in the otter hide and hope to see otters playing in front of me.
      Here we have an organisation called the Ramblers which is great for getting people like me who are crap at reading maps out and about in the countryside. I have walked in so many parts of Kent that I never knew existed.

    • Yes, I am quite glad I didn’t have a camera with me. I meant I enjoyed watching rather than recording, and although I have seen kingfishers at the marina, I have never seen one so close who stayed still for so long. It was brilliant wasn’t it.

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