Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Isn't it funny how a short walk can turn into a three hour stroll when the weather is nice. Thistle Corner Drove was full of birdlife this morning, from the very start, where a Whitethroat has moved in to the bank of brambles that the Linnets are nesting in, to the bank of the river where the track eventually stops, where, in another bramble a Sedge Warbler was singing while a pair of Reed Buntings twitched around the rank vegetation. A pair of Bullfinches busily nipping the buds by the railway were startled by an oncoming train packed with commuters, and I felt lucky. Blackcaps sung in every piece of available habitat. For a short period after their arrival, the Blackcap males are too caught up in their singing contests to notice anything that doesn't make a noise. they will shout at anything that makes a sound vaguely similar to their own chatter and aren't afraid to step into the open. One male I'm sure was taking on a whole flock of Linnets, and his volume certainly matched that of the wittering from across the way. The females stay for the most part in cover, but every now and again they can be glimpsed as they forage through the gappy hawthorns. A lone Willow Warbler was evidence of a slow and gradual return- numbers do seem to be down when compared to the other usual migrants. Out across the fields the Barn owl was hunting again, and a few Skylarks twinkled in the blue.
A couple of weeks ago I had gone out to try and record the Yellowhammers, and had failed, only to get the consolation of some close views of the Owl. Today I was lucky, and saw four or five birds. They are another species that, like the Willow Warbler and many others, have fallen on hard times. There is nothing that embodies a warm country lane like a singing Yellowhammer. Cowslip-coloured head and maple bark streaked back, it's soporific tune spreads along the hedge like a shaft of sunlight. You can't help but stand and stare.