We have been away all week, up on the Isle of Skye in the north west Highlands of Scotland. There are the first details on the "away blog". This morning though with it overcast and quite mild we decided to get some air, and to stretch the legs after what was a long journey home yesterday.
As we walked along Brislands there were Robins singing on either side of the lane, and my first singing Chaffinch of the year. A little further on I picked out a Firecrest singing in a different location to where I have seen them before. As seems to be the case lately it was difficult to pick the bird out, but we could see it moving through a Holly tree. Then with one final flourish of sing it flew out of the tree and away from the camera.
A little further on I was again frustrated by a group of Redwing that managed to evade my attempts to get a photograph. As it was the first photograph I managed to take was of the Lesser Celendines that were now flowering well along the road side.
We carried on down the lane, I could hear in the distance a singing Skylark but was not able to see it. At Manor Farms sheds there were a few House Sparrows but no sign of either a Pied or Grey Wagtail.
It was extremely quiet, perhaps as quiet as I have known it around here for some time. Spring is just around the corner, and it can't come quickly enough for me. It wasn't until we turned up Gilbert Street that we noticed something different, the sky was full of Common Gulls.
It was difficult to count them as they drifted above us, but I estimate it must have been close to 200. They were gathering in a distant field, then were spooked and came over the lane heading north to the paddocks.
As we started up Swelling Hill there was a constant stream of water coming down the hill. As we walked on we found the source, the water was coming up out of the ground by the side of the road, this was a good indication of how high the water table is currently around here.
A little further on in a familiar site was a lovely show of Snowdrops in amongst the yellow celandines.
Reaching the top of the hill I noticed a large bird off in the distance, and the day was brightened by the sight of a Red Kite floating over the field in that relaxed motion that is so characteristic of the bird's flight.
At the pond two Moorhen burst from the side of the bank in their normal panic, and on the far side to drake Mallards and a single duck cruised along side the reeds.
We made our way down past the school then turned up Gradwell Lane, again nothing much about, a singing Song Thrush and a couple of Wrens brought us to a wait, but they managed to hide successfully from us. A singing Robin was too much of a temptation, and I couldn't resist it.
As we headed along Brislands a couple walking towards us suddenly pointed into the field where a Roe Deer sprinted away from us, and sadly as we passed the village hall, on the other side of the road was a dead Badger, probably killed last night from the condition of the corpse, always a sad sight.
Well we managed to get the needed air, and the chance to stretch our legs but that was about all. Although Red Kite and Firecrest is not a bad couple of sightings