Death of a drake

A fairly ordinary day today, settling in to a less hurried regime now that the college term is over. I spent the morning entering data from last week's surveys, and then took the dogs to The Boardwalks for their daily exercise. I'd packed all my camera equipment, but made the stupid error of forgetting to put the SD card back into the camera. I cursed, but at least I wasn't somewhere miles from home, experiencing fabulous, never-to-be repeated views! And in a funny way it was quite relaxing to walk round and not have to look too hard for photographic subjects. I heard the first singing blackcap of the year, and spotted the first sugar-pink blooms of the cuckoo flower on the river bank.

As I was returning along the raised bank I remembered that I had my iPhone and decided to see whether I could get anything worthwhile using that, just in case I didn't get another blip opportunity. Just at that point the dogs stopped to investigate the hedge, and when I went to look I found this beautiful mallard drake lying in last year's dead leaves. I suspect we must have disturbed a fox, as it was clearly freshly killed, with the water droplets still present on its beak. I was stunned by the beauty of the metallic green head feathers, which the phone captured remarkably clearly.

The afternoon was spent planting thirty strawberry crowns that had arrived in the post while I was out. I put twenty into warm sunny beds on the patio, where thay can be protected from birds, and ten in a slightly shady area at the end of the garden, in the hope that they'll crop a little later. Then it was time to take Alex out to a party at Deeping Gate, which was follwed by an hour or so of botanical recording around Deeping Lakes with Chris. We didn't find anything very exciting, but it was good to see the fat yellow blooms of the marsh marigolds, and we also had a distant view of goosander, my first of the year.

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