After the sunshine and cold of the week Friday started grey, damp and a little milder. It was a shame that the sun had gone, but nice to have it feel a little warmer. Early morning I looked out into the garden, and saw a greyish brown bird sitting in the tree. I knew it wasn't a Robin as it was much greyer, but I needed to get a better view.
It was a female Blackcap, and was sitting very still. Eventually it moved a little and gave a better view.
She still feels the need to come to feed on the apples, and she looks as if she is fed up with winter too.
I took the chance at lunch time to check the pond, and Old Down. The weather was closing in, and rain forecast so it was a case of take the chance when you can. There was no sign of any toads or frogs around the pond, and nothing in the water at all. The sunny bank is starting to flower, with purple periwinkle coming out. All we need now is some sun to bring out the insects, this time last year they were all over it, and I had seen the first butterflies.
It would seem that everybody is comparing this spring with last year, and bemoaning the fact that this year is so cold compared with the heat wave we had last March. A lot of that is probably because that was the last time we can remember having a decent spell of warm weather, quite scary really.
As I walked around the pond I could hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming. I eventually found the bird high up in the branches.It is quite amazing how they can get the tone from such small and quite whippy branches.
Looking back across the pond, their was a brief spell of sunshine, and this produced a nice reflection of the daffodils in the water.
I decided to quickly pop into Old Down, as I walked along the road I noticed a brown shape in the field, looking closer I found that it was in fact two Red-Legged Partridges. I have not seen them here before. One scuttled off, but the other just sat still by the edge of the grass.
For once the wood was quite noisy, and it was also nice to find that someone had driven in and flatten some of the muddy patches making it easier to walk (however as I write this it is pouring again, so I suppose it will be a swamp once again!). Bird song was very evident with Tits calling from everywhere, and Robins and Chaffinches singing from the bushes. I made my way down the main path, then turned in, and found the small pool just off the footpath. Last year this had been full of frog spawn, and it was the same this year, but it looked like this had been laid before the freeze, as the jelly was broken and the eggs were laying on the top.
We shall have to see if any survives. Frogs should really check the weather forecast before they embark on such important activities.
As I walked along the path I could hear Marsh Tit calling. It didn't take me long to pick out a pair in the larches, searching around the cones and catkins. They were also very playful together and would chase each other, then pause to feed.
Morris was in his tree, and seems quite content just to watch me as I walked around the tree. The feathers on his back look absolutely beautiful.
As I stood photographing him, it started to rain, so I made my way back to the main path, and eventually back to the car. At the pond the Moorhen family were feeding in amongst the weed. As usual when they saw me they were off, but I did manage to capture just one
The youngsters from last year are going to get a shock soon when the adults want to start breeding, and kick them out, but for now they are allowed to stay.
The rain was only a shower, but it looked like worse was to come. This time last year we had singing Chiffchaffs, and Sand Martin over the house, but there i go again. This year will be its own year, and will deliver its own experiences and surprises, I just hope they hurry up.