Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Birding The First Hour

Wednesday 28th March 2012


What a beautifully clear, fresh morning. I decided to spend the first hour just soaking in the atmosphere, taking the oportunity to survey all the newly planted trees and observing the birds. Just about all of the saplings are budding up now and some have already unfurled their first leaves. Even the dog roses, which were severely nibbled, are shooting back into life.

Around the farmhouse, a few Collared Doves were hopping around the branches and groups of Woodpigeons were still roosting in the trees. A couple of Starlings sat atop one of the tallest trees, clicking and squeaking as they do. As always, Carrion Crows were already busily poking about in the fields and a steady procession of gulls headed inland from The Wash (Common, Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls)
A few Pheasants noisily left their night-time roosts, while another stood proud in the meadow until it saw me, when it hunched down and slunk off. A couple of Red-legged Partridges set their clockwork legs to max speed and legged it into the cover of a reedy dyke. A group of 23 Fieldfares weighed down a tiny bush before continuing their journey North, probably some of the last I'll see until next winter. A hare bolted along the fenceline, and others could be seen hopping around the fields, their long ears betraying their presence above the growing crops. Distant enough to be unaware of my presence, a Roe Deer fed quietly and near it, hunched on the bank, a gleaming white Little Egret. Then a loud bang from nearby sent pigeons and Mallards scattering into the skies.
All the while a Yellowhammer belted out its song from its perch high on a bush, joined by the repetitive chant of a Reed Bunting perched low in the reeds. A couple of Skylarks sang from the ground before rising into the sky with the sun and a lone Meadow Pipit sat quietly preening before uttering a few notes of its song. (Running out of words for 'sing'. Thesaurus not much help - not sure yodel, croon or serenade are appropriate. Warble would be, except for the lack of warblers until later in the year).
Raptors were up and about too. A Kestrel flew direct and low from a post and a Sparrowhawk skimmed over the rape field. Three Jackdaws passed through this morning, one landed briefly in the Ash Trees where a small party of Linnets and Goldfinches were feeding. Now almost all paired up, Chaffinches flew from treetop to treetop, the males occasionally stopping to announce their territory.
Garden birds were notable for their apparent scarcity this morning. Probably all breeding now and able to feed in the hedgerows and dykes rather than needing to come close to the farmhouse. A couple of Robins were singing quietly as well as  a more raucous Wren. How does such a small bird manage such a loud noise? A couple of Great Tits and Blue Tits flitted around in the hedge, as well as several Blackbirds and a few House Sparrows. A Song Thrush made a quick dart out of and back into the hedge where an unobtrusive Dunnock fed on the ground.
The frost was beginning to thaw, but not my feet, and it was time for a warming cup of coffee and breakfast. Nothing exceptional this morning and a few of the regulars absent,  just a taste of a typical morning's stroll on a Fenland farm.

Oh, forgot to mention these!

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