Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Another Sign of Spring

Today we visited our best local woodland. It is normally really exciting at this time of year with the summer visitors streaming in. Today was quite different. There were resident birds holding territory, but at first hearing not a single spring migrant. There were Treecreepers, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tit, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, but the best bird was a singing Marsh Tit. Eventually we managed to see 3 Marsh Tits at the same time.

Marsh Tit
 Blue Tit at Food-hole
 Wren (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart

As we made our way past a house we could hear a Chiffchaff, which everyone was able to see after a bit of searching. We had no idea that would be the only summer visitor we would encounter. There was another group in the wood, who arrived before we did, so it is possible that they flushed any Woodcocks. We certainly didn't see any, I'm not sure if a couple of Brown Hares is an adequate substitute.

Treecreeper (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart
About 4 years ago we heard and had brief views of a Lesser Spotted woodpecker here, but we looked and listened in vain today. There was very little vegetation flowering, but we did find a Primrose. 
The day warmed up as we went along. We obtained better views of the Treecreeper and a Marsh Tit in the afternoon. Traces of winter were observed through a heat haze when we spotted both Fieldfares and Redwings in a semi-ploughed field. A rather agitated female Great Spotted Woodpecker perched in a tree for over 5 minutes, and everyone queued up for a look - only 2 failed to find it among the twisted branches - good job there weren't any leaves on the trees!

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