A day of sunshine, a rarity in between the heavy overcast days that have dominated the weather throughout February. I had the chance to leave work early, and Helen and I set off for a walk from home.
As we walked down Lymington Bottom, the blossom was in flower on the Cherry tree outside the village Hall. This is always a good spot for early blossom and a good indicator that better days are just around the corner
As it was approaching the end of the day there was plenty of bird song all around. In the distance at least two Song Thrushes could be heard, and several Robins and a lone Blackbird were also heard above the traffic that continues to speed down the road despite the many signs advising the speed.
Then I heard a familiar song above those of the early singers, the nasal wheeze of a Greenfinch and found two in one of the trees close to the village Hall.
We walked to the bottom of the road, crossed and made our way up past the school towards Kitwood. Another songster appeared, this time the male Chaffinch with thesong that ends with a flourish.
We walked past the pond, pausing to look for frogs spawn, but could not find any in the usual spots. At the back of the pond the pair of Mallard were still present and dabbling close to the edge of the water. Maybe this year they will nest close by.
As we left the pond I was taken by a small clump of Daffodils just coming into flower, and contrasting with the inky black darkness of the water.
Walking away from the pond several alrm calls rang out and I picked up a male Sparrowhawk flying just above the top of the hedge. It flew past us, w watched it all the way, and headed into the trees at the back of the pond. A few more calls went off, then everything returned to song.
We walked down Swellinghill, with the calls of Redwings above us, and again more Robins in full song. A little further on several Pied Wagtails called above us. Probably heading to the fields where there were grazing Sheep.
The sun was now setting, and it was becoming a little dark. A single Blackbird could be seen sitting at the top of a bush, silhouetted against the grey sky.
A little further on a Redwing was found at the top of a tree taking in what little there was left of the sunshine.
We turned up Court Lane, and away to the west the sun was setting sending a golden colour across the sky and clouds and contrasting with the bare blackness of the trees in the middle of the field.
The last time we had walked along here there had been a buzzard in the garden of the new house, then it had been too dark to get an acceptable picture, but this evening we could easily make it out sitting amongst the branches.
As we had walked past the footpath leading to the Desmond Paddocks there had been at least two singing Yellowhammers, and as we walked down Court Lane towards Brislands there were at least six Yellowhammers on the overhead wires, and from the hedge you could hear their calls.
Away to the west once again the moon was heading west towards setting around midnight. It is in its waxing phase, which is the first phase after a new moon. This is a great time to be able to appreciate the craters and features on the surface.
At about five o'clock from the moon was the planet Venus, one of the brightest objects in the sky.
The walk up Brislands delivered some more Yellowhammers and a Buzzard that drifted across the road towards Old Down. As we came up through the trees and past the entrance top Old Down looking back the sun had set, and the sky was a fiery red and orange with the dark grey clouds.
Not a lot about this evening, but it was very nice to get out and actually take in some of the countryside, something we haven't done for quite some time. There was no real signs of spring apart from the daffodils. What I would be hoping for in the next few weeks will be some celandines, and maybe a singing Chiffchaff. Who knows maybe next week we can get another late in the day walk.