11 December 2005

The weekend, so far...

So, it's Sunday morning and we've eaten our way through the first part of the weekend OK! Friday evening's buffet at Mark & Sheila's was great - we all ate way too much food but hey it was good! There was so much choice I can't even start to remember all of what we ate. I do know that we kept on going back to the table for more! The pizza was good, as was the spicy chicken, the salmon, the beef, the ham, the sausage..... The home made ice-cream, with apple pie, was absolutely gorgeous! I was full to bursting by the time I'd finished eating!

Saturday was the Derby RSPB Group's December coach trip. There hasn't been a December trip for some years now because the interest in it had dropped off due to people having Christmas shopping and such things on their minds at this time of year. So, to try and get some of the interest back a slightly different format was tried this year. We were to have a mornings birdwatching, followed by a Christmas lunch! More food!

The venue was Far Ings Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire. The site is an old clay and tile works that dates back to around 1850. Since it was abandoned the clay workings have filled with water to form a series of fresh water lakes. Now, the area is home to a variety of wildfowl, waders and also common woodland and garden birds. Lynda and I saw a total of 46 species between 10:00am and 12:30pm. If we hadn't needed to stop for the much more important business of eating, then I'm sure we could have added more birds to the list.

Wildfowl numbers were a little low but we did come across Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck and a pair of Goldeneye. Waders of note included, 60 Dunlin, 49 Redshank, around 40 Golden Plover in flight, 5 Snipe and a single Curlew. Most of the waders were roosting under the Humber Bridge - which, Lynda was sure, was moving in the breeze!

A feeding flock of around 40 Siskin was the best find in the wooded area of the reserve, along with numerous Goldcrest, Redwing and a single Willow Tit. By around 12:30pm our thoughts turned to food and we headed to the hotel that backs onto the reserve and, after changing out of our muddy walking boots, we headed for the bar! Lunch was due at 1:30pm so plenty of time for a pint!

Our group of around 50 were seated in a really nice dining area that overlooked one of the lakes - should have kept our binoculars with us - and the food was great! I had soup to start, followed by a good old Christmas dinner of turkey, new and roast potatoes, vegetables and plenty of gravy! By the time I'd cleared my plate I was getting pretty full again, still made space for the Christmas pudding that followed though! Plus another pint and a rather nice cup of coffee at the end! Oh, and a mint chocolate! All in all a great day out, enjoyed by everyone. With luck this will become an annual event for the group.

So, now we have Lynda's works "do" this evening - more food and more drink! Tomorrow we are going over to see Lynda's brother and his family which will not doubt see us eating even more! That and probably playing Twister or Jenga with my 5 year old niece! And she usually wins!

Far Ings trip photos

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