Ouse Valley Amble 23rd June

The weather was wonderful – one of those still balmy summers evenings that are rare indeed!

We set off at a leisurely pace past Olney church and the Mill house and along the beautiful river Ouse.  My one slight reservation about the walk was that the fields beside the river are full of rather large bullocks, but they are placid beasts and I wasnt particularly concerned. However what I didn’t count on was the presence of the farmer in his truck who had really stirred them up and at one point we had 50 plus huge beasts gambolling merrily around us  – not an experience for the faint-hearted!! But society members are a sturdy breed and no-one seemed unduly worried.

The river bank was alive with banded demoiselles, red eyed damselflies and other assorted damselflies and we even saw a signal crayfish lurking in the water (not such a welcome sighting). The evening really stepped up however when we spotted three hares in the field on the opposite bank, followed by a bevy of 30-40 twittering house martins collecting mud from the river’s edge and then a sparrowhawk flying over hoping to catch out an unwary martin. Common terns patrolled up and down the river occasionally plunging down into the water for minnows and we saw one male goosander and a few of the resident barnacle geese.

We ambled on to the bridge over the river to Clifton Reynes and managed to locate Roy’s slender tufted sedge down by the water’s edge. The river is lovely on this stretch as the opposite bank is wooded and was alive with birdsong (thrushes, chaffinches, black caps etc ) as the evening drew in. The reflections of the reeds and trees in the river were perfect as there was not a breath of wind.

Eventually we turned for home having had a truly magical evening.

Julie Lane