Sunday, 8 March 2015

6th March - And Life Is Starting Over Again

I had put the moth trap outside last night and hoped, the morning saw that hope fade away, there was nothing in it.  It had been clear early evening, with a very bright moon, but cloud had moved in and the morning was overcast.  The cloud though broke up by mid day, and with the sunshine it felt decidedly warmer than it has been of late.

Through the morning both a Red Kite, and Buzzard drifted across the garden, and Goldfinches were on the feeders.

By the middle of the afternoon the skies were clear and a deep blue, with some lovely early spring sunshine.  I decided to go out for a walk, and as I left the house a Honey Bee was flying around the kitchen window, a good sign?  I hoped so.

I headed up Brislands with Robins singing on either side of me as I walked, Greenfinches could also be heard singing, but little much else.  Along the side of the lane, the Hazel Catkins were all out, and hanging in the gold sunshine.

I stopped to see if there was any sign of the Firecrests, but was not lucky, all that was moving were Robins and Woodpigeons.  I headed down the lane with a Green Woodpecker calling from the trees over towards the A31.

Looking across to the north the fields and trees were casting a lovely scene with the shadows and the colours of the green fields.

I turned into Old Down, and walked down the main path, above me Long-tailed Tits called, and about a dozen birds moved through.  Such a large flock means that they are not yet ready for breeding, and that they still seek security and warmth from the flock.

I headed towards the West End, I wanted to see if the wild Daffodils were in flower yet, it would have been so appropriate.  When I found them I was pleased that they were still there, but they are yet to flower.

I didn't want to go any further and turned back, taking the perimeter path.  As I turned onto it I heard the "gronk" of a Raven, and saw it flying away from me, it must have been quite close.  Taking to the air it caught the attention of a crow, that immediately flew in to mob it.  This is not the best of shots, but you can clearly see the size difference between the two.

It flew low over the field, and eventually settled on one of the fence posts to the Desmond Paddocks, a nice year tick, and in the usual spot, at the usual time of year.

I decided against turning back to see if I could find it and get closer, and headed on around the perimeter path.  A Great Tit was calling and seemed unconcerned by me.  You can see from the wide black breast and belly band that this is probably a male

From the wood I walked to the pond where once again the pair of Mallard were together, this time in amongst the Iris shoots on the far side of the bank.  I thought at first that there was only the male, but a closer look found the female as well.

As I walked back I saw the second pair of the far side of the pond, the female a little more adventurous.

In the evening light, the jetty reflections looked lovely, yet another reminder of the day and time of year.

I walked towards Kitwood, and stopped at the horse paddocks.  I estimated about 40  Redwing feeding amongst the turned over sods along with a single Pied Wagtail, and a pair of Fieldfare.

Rather than walk down past the school I decided to cross the field into Old Down.  As I crossed the style I could hear a Yellowhammer above me, and as I walked out into the field I turned to see it singing above me, highlighted by the sinking sun.

The walk across the field only produced a few singing Skylarks, and in Old Down there was nothing.  Coming out of the wood, and looking across towards Brislands, the Four Trees were silhouetted against the sky, while the earthy browns of the field were varied by the low light of the setting sun.

I crossed into Gradwell and then headed down Brislands, some of the trees looking up the hill were lit by the golden sunshine.

The sun all afternoon along with the milder temperatures had lifted the spirits, and made you think of spring.  The reality though was its still early, and we need more days like this to kick start the season, it is coming, but not just yet.

I was a little late in posting this, and as a result can add some news from Saturday.  It was a beautiful morning, meeting the expectations of the weather forecast.  I stepped out into the garden before we left to top up the feeders and as I did a male Sparrowhawk came swooping over the fence about two feet from me, banked and then headed up and over the house, the speed was incredible, and you could understand how a small bird would not stand a chance.  We spent the day in Windsor and Bray, in the lovely weather.  It allowed me to year tick Ring-necked Parakeet, and to see my first Egyptian Goose goslings, or is Egyptian Goslings?  All together now....

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