This post is a small collection of events and walks this week. On Tuesday Helen and I had the chance for a walk, and we took the chance to enjoy the Bluebells in Old Down Wood one more time. There days are now numbered and soon the canopy will close over, and the bluebells will die away until this time next year.
Walking along Brislands at this time of year provides probably the best view in the village.
A little further on still looks lovely in the spring sunshine.
In the woods we were greeted by Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, but it was all aoutthe flowers once again.
Along the side of the track the succulent leaves of the Ransoms cascades across the ground, and the white flowers send a heady perfume, if that is what you can call it of Wild Garlic.
Walking the perimeter track we came across the Early Purple Orchids, most of them have gone past their best, but there was still one in a fine state of flower.
Back home the Blackbirds and Robins continue to make us feel guilty every time we appear in the kitchen. The mealworms continue to flow, and both the Blackbird and Robin are now working to feed fledglings. This means that of course you have to take as many mealworms as possible, just in case the Robins pinch them.
But as fast as you pick one up, you drop another.
Finally you manage to take the maximum amount.
So who is benefiting from this collection of fine mealworms? Well it is this youngster, there may be more but this one has been the only one I have been able to photograph. Looks well on its diet doesn't it?
Thursday evening I received an email asking if I was aware that here were Mallard ducklings at Swelling Hill Pond. I wasn't and I would not normally get too excited about ducklings, but these would be the first I have ever seen on the pond, and definitely the first in the five years I have been writing this blog.
I decided that it needed an early trip to the pond just in case there was anu disturbance later on. So despite the drizzly rain I arrived their and could see the female Mallard on the far bank, but no sign of any ducklings.
Not wanting to spook her I used the car as a hide and waited. Soon one duckling appeard and swam towards the duck.
In the email I was told that there were five ducklings, had she lost four overnight? As I watched a Crow appeared on the bank, very close to the duckling, and while it wouldn't goa after it in the water it could pick it off the water with its beak. I raced around to the other side, but the mother duck had taken the duckling into the Iris bed. I walked onto the jetty and the mother swam out, followed by at least three ducklings, better news.
The ducklings were dabbing at all the small lily pads picking off the insects As I watched four came into view. It would seem the disaster of losing four had not happened, but the family was down one duckling.
Sensibly the mother kept them in the cover of the Irises, and I would just get the odd glimpse.
Then the mother duck swam out of the Iris bed, and headed out across the water, all four ducklings scrambling to catch up with her.
The family all together at last.
She took them across the open water and then turned back in towards the bank once again on the west side of the pond. The ducklings then headed into the reeds once again and the safety the cover would give them.
While I always felt that 2017 would prove to be hard for new sightings, this year so far has been one of firsts. Earliest arrivals in the form of House Martins and Swifts, high counts of Holly Blues, and now the first ducklings on Swelling Hill Pond. I wonder what else is in store?