Listening to the forecast on Friday it seemed the weekend would be a wash out, but rain coming late yesterday allowed us to finish the work we had to do, and then blue sky and some warm sun this morning meant we had the chance to get out for a walk. As we got ourselves sorted out in the garden, on the TV aerial opposite the partially white House Sparrow was chirping away and telling everyone this was his territory.
Walking along Brislands I remarked on how much the hedgerow and verge had grown up over the last few days. As we reached the turn to Gradwell alarm calls rang out as a male Sparrowhawk zipped past in front of and then headed up the footpath under the cover of the trees. As we turned down Gradwell the alarm calls continued.
We crossed towards Old Down, and in the field a Small White flew past us settling on the shoots of the crop sown in the field.
In the wood it was so different, everywhere was a lovely green, even the cones on the Larch were a gorgeous sagey green.
Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Robin were singing close by, away in the distance we could hear Song Thrush and Blackbirds. As we walked along the main path a Great Spotted Woodpecker called close by, and we stopped to watch it work its way through the branches.
A male bird, and from its condition it would seem it has a nest close by. As we walked on, a Cuckoo called away in the distance, probably from the area around the back of the pond. This was the second bird of the year for me.
A little way along the path a Blackcap sang from the Oak tree, and then showed briefly.
In this area the butterflies drift past on either side of the open path, a Large White settled on one of the few remaining Bluebells.
We walked along the main path, then turned down the path towards the Kitwood entrance. We checked the tree for the owl, but there was no sign of it. We followed the perimeter path, and then came out on the main path, and turned right heading for the crossroads.
Another white butterfly flew past us, setting in the bramble. This was a lot smaller and getting low I could see the lovely green pattern on the underwing of a female Orange Tip.
Turning towards the West End, the Bracken close to the path was just beginning to unfold, against the background of the Beech Trees looked wonderful.
Another feature of the Beech woods around this part of the wood is the wispy grass that grows on the edge of the wood providing a lovely contrast to the darkness created by the heavy Beech canopy.
A little further on a strange shape in the grass caught my attention, it could have been a "Y" shaped branch, but it turned out to be the ears of a Roe Deer doe.
She had seen us before we saw her, and she watched as we walked to a better viewing area.
Maybe she has young somewhere, or maybe she is just a young female, a first year. She watched us as we watched her, then she turned and lept away into the darkness of the wood.
The path that leads towards the West End is always a good spot at this time of the year for Orange Tips, and there were plenty about this morning in the warm sunshine.
The main plant of interest was the Wild Carrot, and there were lots of males and females, and every so often they would tangle and then settle down together.
We came out of the wood and headed through the Desmond Paddocks. The bottom field was full of buttercups and daisies with also a few clover flowers coming through. There were several crows in the field walking through the flowers.
We crossed and headed up Andrews Lane. Looking across the paddocks it was a very quintessential English Spring scene.
A little further on, the call of a Buzzard alerted us to one just above us, the wings being caught by the sunshine, making them semi translucent.
At the last house several House Martins were flying around the trees and bushes, but apart from that there was little else about. The lambs at the top of the path have grown up but were still following their mothers around in the field.
As we left the top of the field and headed towards Lye Way Farm a small butterfly caught my attention. At first I thought it was another female Orange Tip but once I got on it with binoculars I could see that it was a pale blue. It flew high into the nearby tree, and I assumed it must have been a Holly Blue.
We made our way towards Lye Way Lane and I was hoping to find my first Whitethroat of the year, they haven't been in their usual places so far this year. As we walked through the farm yard, the Horse Chestnuts looked splendid with the candles standing out, and they were also a big attraction to bees that we could hear everywhere.
A Yellowhammer sang away in the distance, and a Linnet sat on the wires above us as we walked along Lye Way towards Kitwood.
The field to our right was in full bloom the yellow of the Rapeseed looking amazing and contrasting the industrial view of the pylons.
Coming onto Kitwood we took the road at the top, but with very little about to set the pulses racing. There was no sign of the hoped for Whitethroats. We took the path up towards the Garden Centre. As we crossed the last field above us we could hear the chatter of Swallows sitting on the wires.
We stopped off at the Garden Centre for a drink, then headed home across the field. As we came down the path towards Reads Field we stopped at the sound of the many calls of Long-tailed Tits in the trees. It turned out it was a family party, the young ones calling incessantly. They look so different at this age lacking the facial marking and a very distinctive red eye.
They then started to give some very good views.
Yes it is that time of year, plenty of ahhs.
The sun had now gone, the clouds had rolled in, and there was the threat of rain as we walked home. It was a pleasant walk, nothing spectacular, but with the usual moments of interest.