Saturday, 11 April 2009

Glory Be!

A memorable morning. Things began quietly with a couple of Linnets in the main hedgerow, the first since autumn and a distant Partridge sp. A Hare frolicked in the rape field by the river, but otherwise the fields here held little. Male Yellowhammer gathering nesting material. As I got closer to the village the pace picked up - a pair of duck zipped overhead: Tufted Duck, the first since last October:
And the private pond, only just visible now the leaves are nearly out, held a veritable wealth of wildfowl: 1 Mute Swan, 2 (different) Tufted Duck, a Moorhen and a Coot:
Feeling motivated I head into the fields to the north. A male Blackcap sings from by the village pond and I smell the dead fox from some considerable distance before seeing it. I'm on the main track when "what?!" - I am literally stopped in my tracks by a familiar scratchy song. I quickly raise my binoculars to search for the songster, but just end up banging them against the protruding piece of cartilidge on my nose after my accident a month ago, hard enough to bring tears to my eyes, rendering my search useless! Then another familiar song - the first Swallow of the summer zips over. Back to the scratchy singer, I finally locate him on a trackside plant:Corn Bunting! my first for Cuddesdon, the 71st species since August.

The first Swallow of the summer.

Another of the Corn Bunting. Best not to Spoonerise this species's name (reversing the first letter of each word), especially out loud in the presence of children... I am delighted with the Bunting find, on the same stretch of fence that produced Stonechat last month and the Swallow was a nice bonus, and helped make up for the bleeding nose. I then cross the road to check out the Farmhouse pond. A big female Sparrowhawk is displaying over the wood:
Sparrowhawk: ok, not much to look at here, but imagine it rollercoasting up and down and then flying with slow motion wingbeats in it's display flight - much more interesting! There is a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker interacting on the dead tree and 2 more Swallow chatter away overhead. Then another scratchy song - this time a male Whitethroat, fresh in from Africa and sharing a tree with this Yellowhammer:
The Farmhouse pond is also stuffed full of wildfowl, by Cuddesdon standards - 6 Mallard, 2 more Tufted Duck and 2 Coot. So a great morning: a new species for the village, record Tufted Ducks numbers and some nice migrants. I love Spring.

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