The morning started well as the first House martin flew past the bedroom window, it was sunny with clouds and quite pleasant and I hoped it would stick around, but it didn't.
Only had the first part of the morning today, so I decided to head top Plain Farm, I was hoping that there might be a Willow Warbler about, the scrubby areas around there are usually a good place to find them.
As I parked it was sunny but away to the west it looked quite dark. It was then I realsied I had not bought any cover for the camera, I decided to take the risk, and carried on up the path.
At the Yew Trees I could hear Goldcrest, but there seemed to be something else. The Goldcrest song was then replaced by that of a Firecrest. I could see movement in the Yew tree, so I stood and waited , and soon the Firecrest appeared.
It crept around the branches singing.
This is actually the first one I have seen this year. I heard one along Brislands last month but it was distant in the garden, this was the first seen and in an area where I have seen them before.
I watched for a little longer, then left it singing.
I walked up the hill and could feel spots of rain. Looking back the clouds did not look too bad. As I turned I noticed a bird above and it was a Swift. A real local rarity, we get very few, last year I only saw one, and that was fortunate because it turned up on a photograph when I downloaded the batch, I didn't actually see it. Today I definitely saw the bird but did not manage to get a photograph.
It was now decision time go back or head on, I decided to go and move on. I walked down past the quarry, and then across the road and up the hill towards Plain Farm. As I did so A Raven flew up from the field and headed away across the trees.
In the fields to the left two Brown Hares were sitting. They were though a long way off.
Walking up towards the workshops the tree in the field was producing a very English scene with the Black and White Cows.
The clouds then gathered again and it started to rain, it didn't look like it would be too much so I took shelter in the barn by the cottages. Swallows have been sparse so far this spring, and I had thought I would see some by the farm buildings, but they were not there. As I walked past the cows in the field three flew around them low over the grass. Once I was in the barn one came and settled on the wires close by, and sat there singing.
The barn was providing both shelter from the rain, and allowing me to remain hidden from the birds. A Kestrel came by, and hovered outside the barn, over the field.
And then turned away as I tried to get closer.
In the hedge opposite a Dunnock burst into song.
And was then joined by a Yellowhammer. He puts his heart and soul into delivering that "little bit of bread and no cheese".
The rain was easing, and I decided to head down the lane. On either side of the path Whitethroats were singing, but they remained hidden in the middle of the hedge. As I tried to get close to see them, away in the distance I heard a Cuckoo call. Not something I expected, but indeed very welcome. I thought it may be calling from the trees at the bottom of the lane, and set off towards it.
As I reached the start of the footpath a Pheasant lazily walked along in front of me.
I scanned for the Cuckoo as it was still calling, but I couldn't see anything. As I reached almost the end of the path I heard alarm calls and the Cuckoo flew ahead of me, despite my efforts I couldn't get a picture, and it then flew behind the trees and away to the north.
I walked down the the fallen tree spot and waited and listened, but there was no further sign, or sound of the Cuckoo. All I did see though was a very distant Green Woodpecker on the telegraph pole. I have seen them here before, and I am not sure what the attraction is, maybe a good resonance.
Despite the fact the Cuckoo never returned I had not only heard it, but seen it, which was pleasing. I am assuming it is a bird passing through, we just do not have the nesting birds here that they would use. One that could be a candidate, the Willow Warbler just doesn't seem to like it here.
The clouds were now very dark, and I was at the furthest point from the car. I decided that if it did rain I would use the hood from my coat to cover the camera. I set off at pace along Charlwood. The only birds to note were a few Swallows at Charlwood house, and Blackcaps singing every where. About a quarter of a mile from the car the rain came, but I managed to keep the camera dry as I finally reached the car. Not a bad short walk, three year ticks today, Swift and Cuckoo being a big bonus, even if I couldn't get a photograph. A good view of Firecrest, and a Raven, miles from any pylons.