I must admit , I was quite pleased that it was a Saturday off from hedgelaying when I saw what was outside the curtains this morning . The wind howling and rain lashing , finishing up with hail . Eventually the clouds cleared away and the sun came out , so after lunch , I set off on a local walk .
All the birds seemed to think Spring had arrived and were singing their heads off , especially the Great Tits .
On the Bridlepath near Rouse Farm , a Wren was busily working it's way along the hedge , quite oblivious of my presence . Whilst watching it , I noticed a movement in the field beyond , which turned out to be a Mistle Thrush feeding in an area recently vacated by the sheep flock . Past the farmhouse and down between the recently flail butchered hedges , things were very quiet until I noticed something bob down onto the path and back up onto the hedge , at a distance and by eye , looking like a Robin . Through the binoculars , sitting in the sun was a male Stonechat . I closed the distance between us , but apart from a couple of hops either side of the hedge , he returned and showed really well on the top of the hedge . I got to within 10 mtrs. of him and he just sat there . Like with the Goldcrest the other day , how I wished my camera was on my hip , insead of in bits in the repairers . Eventually , he disappeared over the other side of the hedge , so I gingerly crossed the path and looked over . There he was on an old fence post . Then , another movement further along the fence line , and a female lands on another post . I stood and watched them for some time , and at one point she was sat on a post and he was on some wire 20 cms. away from her , the pair of them , no more than 10/12 mtrs away . What a cracking shot it would have made , but it's no good crying over dropped cameras . These were the first Stonechats I have seen in the area , I wonder if they will stay ?
On the footpath between Nash and the bottom of Fox Hill , I disturbed a Green Woodpecker which flew off and landed on a wooden power pole . It sat still and I was watching it with the binoculars , when from around the back of the pole , comes another . The one I disturbed was a female and the new arrival from around the back , a male . They sat either side of the pole and once again the possibility of another shot was lost . They flew off together down the field and disappeared into the long grass , to be replaced on the cables about 5 mtrs. away from the pole with a calling Meadow Pipit and , as I watched it , two Bullfinches were calling behind me . I couldn't see them as they were directly into the sun , but nice to hear . I used to see good numbers of these Meadow Pipits on the wires all over the farm , but they have been few and far between over the last few years .
From the footpath , I made my way up onto the Common , but any excitement was over . I headed for the area where I had the Bullfinches the other day , but all was quiet . I got Gt.Spotted Woodpecker calling and a pair of Long Tailed Tits and a couple of Wrens on the heather/gorse patch .
The walk back home was uneventful as well , just the usual in the horse paddock on the bottom lane and four noisy Magpies , before getting back to the resident Jackdaws around the houses .
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