A Spring Walk...
other weekend I went for a bit of a walk on the Local Patch and thought you may
care to come along with me...
We watch her for a while, whilst she watches us quizzically back, before flying off to continue her home improvements.
There are a considerable number of them and we watch quietly (any movement prompts them to disappear under the chickweed and water) as they continue about their business. There are quite a few froggy couples apparently relaxing...
until small groups of males appear and try to suggest a change in partners.
Whilst onlookers watch from a quiet spot...
They have actually appeared a week or so earlier this year, despite it being cooler of late. The pond is a lot shallower, with many of the fallen branches in the bottom showing; this year, instead of being around the edges, there are clumps of frogspawn in the middle, where it is deeper and where most of the Annual Frog Ball is going on.
We head off along a little path, just inside the edge of the woods, which goes through a few Wren and Robin territories. Along the path there are patches of Brambles, small Elder trees, Holly and the floor of the woodland is green with Bluebell shoots.
calling and listening, before flitting off to another vantage point. Looking around, we can hear a thin clear, but melodious song coming from above us.
There are a
number of rough barked mature trees and as we peer up the trunks, we suddenly
spot the singer
It is one of the Treecreepers that frequent this part of the woods. Now usually we will have seen them flit to a tree and scurry quickly up the trunk, pausing now and then to probe for food, however this one is most likely letting the lady Treecreepers know that he is looking for a mate. We watch and listen a little while longer, before he decides to ascend the tree and then flies on ahead of us.
down the slope to see if we can catch sight of one of the Wrens, who favours
one of the big bramble patches, we can certainly hear him, as well as another a
little further ahead of us, however, apart from seeing a few 'quick flits' as a
little brown dart changes location, we are unlucky with any clear views.
some sunshine is a handsome male Blackbird,
who keeps an eye on us, as well as others that we can hear foraging amongst the leaves on the ground. As we stand there, every now and then there is a peal of Blackbird song as males chase each other or pursue females through the vegetation.
We start to pick our way through the Elder, flowering purple ground ivy and emerging stinging nettles, being careful to avoid the molehills and rabbit holes. We can still hear the 'other Wren' so stop and watch for a while, having caught a glimpse of it pausing on the mossy surface of a fallen log. Sometimes they will follow a 'circuit' and return, however this one was on a mission. Ahead of us, on a favourite perch, is a Robin, in full song
Joining in, from above, we can hear a clear 'pinging' chatter going on, it is one of the Nuthatches being exceedingly vocal! We spot it on one of the remaining Ash branches, just as it decides to fly off into a thicket ahead of us. The Robin moves to another branch as well, so we walk on along the path, heading towards a clear area in the woods; as we do so, there is 'Ping, Ping' again and into the sunlight, the Nuthatch flits briefly, before going off to another favourite tree.
across the clear area of the western end of the woodland, the floor is thick
with Bluebell foliage. Here and there are a few buds, but none are
opening just yet. We exit the woods along a tractor trail, which runs
alongside a row of young Oaks and Salix; one of the Salix has just come into
flower and is a vision of yellow!
over to have a closer look and can see several bees flying around the top
branches and making the most of the yellow banquet before them; if any
confirmation was needed, this is it - once this tree flowers, spring has begun
and everything else follows suit!
Amongst the Brambles and Blackthorn, we can hear the bubbling chirping and chattering of a pair of Long Tailed tits, who are busy nest building; further into the woods, in a Hazel tree, one of a pair of Marsh Tits is chirping away and hopping about amidst the branches.
We watch as it flits busily about before turning back the way we came, to head down the hill and across the fallow field, to see what is about along the edge of the brook on the far side.
From out of
the middle of the grasses and a stumpy stand of willows, we hear a Wren, which
then shoots across to the far side of the bank into the lower branches of a
there a moment, before descending lower still and continues to serenade us from
within the safety of the vegetation. Last year, there had been at least
one family of Wrens who had, it seems, nested in amongst the grasses, bushes
and hogweed out in the middle of the field, I wonder if this character is one
We reach an
old log, which is where I had seen Common Lizards at the end of last summer,
but are distracted by a familiar sound in the brambles behind.
Whilst one is on lookout,
are continually 'chatting' away to each other, a pair of Long Tailed Tits are
in serious nest building mode! They watch us back briefly, before
deciding we are no threat and then continue taking it in turn to disappear
under the brambles with beakfuls of grey feathers to line their nest.
are busy, we begin to peer at the log, which, as it was last year, has quite a
covering of vegetation in places. I recall that there was a particular
spot on it, that the Lizards liked to peer out from. Sure enough and
doing it's best to blend in with the background, there is a young Lizard,
probably one of last year's brood and minus it's tail, sunning itself.
us for a while, before darting back into the safety of a nearby crevice, after
a while however, curiosity and sunshine got the better of it and it
nights still being very chilly, it appears that they are constructing a very
cosy nest (we cannot see it, it is under and behind the brambles, away from
prying eyes!). As we watch, a movement on the far end of the log amongst
the stems of bramble and grass catches our eye.
He stays there catching some sunshine, as well as possibly watching a few of the insects which the sun has brought out.
off into the next patch of woodland in the hope of maybe another Treecreeper,
none seen, however there are many of the Tits chasing about and calling.
This patch of woodland is mostly of Oak and Hawthorn trees, as well as
Elder. Amongst the branches of one of the gnarled Hawthorn, we spot a
tiny bird, flitting and fluttering acrobatically amongst the branches.
It is a
female Goldcrest, Britain's smallest bird.
watching her and another as they both perform their aerial routines whilst
foraging. (closer examination of some of the shots, showed that her
foraging paid off, at one point she captured a small fly - record shot only,
but 'best of the worst' are in the collage above!)
that time is getting on, so head back up the hill, to follow the path around
the edge of the field. Amongst the shoots of whichever cereal crop that
has been sown, there are masses of tiny blue flowers, a Speedwell variety of
and the hazel trees are festooned with lambstails and looking carefully at them, we can see both the male and female flowers, they've finally sorted their timing out!
Under the eaves of the trees and looking back into the woods, we see a single stem of blue with the promise of more to come...