Sunday, 7 April 2013

Signs of spring at last

After yesterdays relative warmth the temperature plummeted 18C overnight to -7C bringing a heavy frost. Despite this as I checked the sheep just after dawn this morning a Chiffchaff was quietly chiffchaffing in the oak trees by the ewe's field, my first of the year. The rising sun quickly dissipated the chill and a mid-morning walk around the marsh was very pleasant. Reed Buntings had started to sing from the tops of reeds, the Marsh Harriers were displaying and a small group of 3 Chinese Water Deer allowed a close approach before scarpering across the marshes. I also flushed 4 Snipe and Lapwing seemed to be displaying.
News of a small raptor passage had me scanning the marshes again from the patio at lunch and this time I was rewarded with a Red Kite, its twisting red tail making it stand out from the seemingly innumerable soaring Marsh Harriers at some distance.
Further evidence of spring came in the shape of first a Peacock butterfly in the orchard and then a Small Tortoiseshell flying across the ram's field.
With the Reed Buntings seemingly starting to move out from the garden on to the marshes, I decided to have a go at photographing them around the bird feeders before they left, using my daughters old Wendy House as a hide. The decrepit state of this little timber shed became all too obvious when I opened its window and the bottom of the window frame fell off leaving me with no means of propping the window open. Every time birds started to come to the feeders the wind would slam the window shut scaring everything away. I eventually got a few photos but only after my feet had gone to sleep in the cramped conditions.

OK, so they're all common birds but Long-tailed Tits are cute and the Blue Tit looked particularly bright in the spring sunshine.

And finally, the primroses have at long last burst in to flower.

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