A bit of fishing, a bit of bird watching and a trout en papillote
Sunday 5th May
Sunday I was up early as „they“ had said it was going to be a warm day, I went downstairs carrying my fishing gear, binos and camera, my neighbour was just returning from his early morning bike ride(he is a tri-athlete) and held the door open for me saying “my your up early”, I replied” but not as early as some”, he laughed saying “there are no silly car drivers about at this time in the morning”, I grinned, saying “I am just about to change that”.
So it was straight to the trout lakes at Hövelhof, I paid for my ticket for half a day €15,50 (you can catch up to 25 for this, so it works out very reasonable if feeding a large family). I caught myself three nice rainbows at about 400-500g each, all in less than an hour. That was enough for me.
So I packed up my fishing tackle and drove to the Steinhorster Becken Nature reserve, this is an old clay workings that have been allowed to be flooded by the river Ems (this has been done to stop the flooding of some of the towns further down the river, during times of heavy rain the water level is controlled by closing the sluice gates and allowing the water level to rise on the flood plains.There was a lot of wetland and meadow flowers in bloom. The dyke grass is kept trimmed by the sheep, who in turn provide the fertiliser for the vegetation.
The willows, (termed Kopfweiden because of their heads) are a nice sight and will be harvested later in the year, at one time this would have been used for basket making and building material, but now-a-days mainly for fencing.
The wet lands have in the last 25 years become a resting place for migrating birds on their way up North or down South, but it is also a wonderful habitat to see rare (and not so rare) non-migratory birds from Northern and Central Europe. The nature reserve covers an area of 83 ha with a water area of 35 ha, this is made up of the river ems and various basins, brooks and streams.
The geese (Egyptian, Canadian and Grey-lagged) that had been grazing on the farmers pastures, decided that it was time to take to the air and head for the water
The sky was full of song; I heard a nightingale but was unable to catch sight of it. The songs of the whitethroat,
chaffinch, pipits , the raucous croak of the cock pheasant from the woods, this as well as the honking of geese as they returned to the water after grazing on the neighbouring grassland, which the shared with the cows and horses. I walked the 5 km around the nature reserve climbing into the two high viewing hides underway to get a very good look over the area. These give a fantastic view across the whole of the Biotope.
No one (with the exception of the wardens) is allowed into the area, all must be observed from the Dyke crown which also carries the ramble and cycle paths.
I completed the circuit and then decided to have a spot of breakfast, just past the weir is a very nice café, Brinkmeier, as it was such a fantastic morning I decided to have breakfast al fresco, it was a buffet style and was well worth the €11,50.
Coffee or tea with refills if you wished, orange and apple juice, hot sausages, black pudding, bacon, fried potatoes, scrambled and boiled eggs , cold cuts, Wurst of all sorts, salads, desserts, fruits. I didn’t need to eat again until evening.
Breakfast finished (it was by now 11:00) I decided to take a roundabout route home, visiting my local Asparagus Hof (I’m going to miss this) and got myself a kilo of the grade A and 1.5kg of Cypriot new potatoes. Then popped into my local for a water and a chat with some of the lads. Then headed home and filled a few more boxes with books.Trout En Papilotte
The trout were done quite simply for my evening meal, with herb butter and a bay leaf in the cavity, a bit of wild garlic pesto, some dried rosemary and oregano, a few slices of lemon a squeeze of juice of the lemon and a splash of olive oil and some of my last remaining Camargue Fleur de Sel (Holidays 2010).
Wrapped up in foil and cooked in the oven for 15 minutes at 180°C (they are ready when the dorsal fin comes out without any force).
In the meantime the potatoes and asparagus were ready, both quite simply eaten with melted butter and the fish with the sauce that had formed in the foil parcel. Delectable, what a fantastic day!