A few weeks ago, when I was reading ‘Crow Country’, a nest appeared in one of the oak trees in the field behind the house. Since there was one nest I assumed that it was Crows. But now there are three nests in that tree and I’ve decided that it’s our own mini-rookery. Mum and Dad are visiting and they have brought their new scope with them. Dad set it up yesterday, trained on that tree, and we could see activity in one of the nests and a Rook perched between the nests. This morning I took Sam in his buggy along Park Road and up Bottoms Lane, which took me round the sides of that field. I could see Rooks in all three nests and as I watched two pairs of Rooks left in different directions and minutes later returned to the nests.
The sky had not looked promising before I left the house but now, although it was still very black to the east, a large swathe of blue had appeared to the west. Ahead the cloud looked to be breaking up:
We went up to Stankelt Road, along Slackwood Lane up the Row and back along Park Road. The ever-changing sky and the constant company of birds and their songs kept me entertained. Coming past the golf-course on the Row, I was thinking of the old adage about a good walk spoiled and it occurred to me that a round of birds is far preferable to a round of golf. This was my score-card by the end of the walk: Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Magpie, Rook, Black-Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Pheasant, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Greenfinch (heard several times before I saw one – I think that I’ve got that rasping wheeze memorised), Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Buzzard. I think that two Black-Backed Gulls flew over when I was on the Row, but I’m not confident about that identification. On Slackwood lane I saw two very small birds, possibly Wrens, but against the rising sun they were dark silhouettes, flying in erratic loops incredibly close together.
Sun rising behind the trees from Slackwood Lane
In a couple of places on the Row I heard birdsong that I couldn’t identify and was able to trace the source of the singing, but without Binoculars and a more patient companion than Sam I couldn’t identify the birds.
It also began to drizzle and then rain whilst I was on the Row, but I could see that the sun was still shining on Eaves Wood. ‘It’s going to be a rainbow day’ I thought. And then:
It was a full semi-circular rainbow (couldn’t get it all in!). But the cloud rapidly cleared and as it did the rainbow went with it so that the rainbow was only visible in the cloudy part of the sky. It was as if somebody had wiped the sky clean. The clouds retreated rapidly but still looked dramatic on the horizon:
I had to get back fairly promptly from my walk because today was the Field Day Committee’s turn to run the village Coffee Morning. This happens just about every Saturday, in the Gaskell Hall, and we regularly visit, but today we were helping to organise it.
I took Sam out in the buggy again much later, for a turn around Eaves Wood. The weather was once again very variable with bright sunshine, hail and heavy rain (but none of the forecast snow). Sam liked the patterns the raindrops made on the cover on the buggy.
When we arrived in the wood the low-angled light on the tree trunks was lovely. I was struck by the fresh-minted colour of these leaves:
Are they Sycamore? Similar leaves were emerging form buds all over the wood. Hazel buds are also just opening whilst much of the hawthorn has been coming into leaf for a while.
Eaves Wood probably isn’t the best spot for wildflowers locally, but it does do well for Primroses:
(I know that I’ve posted quite a few pictures of Primroses recently, but I love them and make no apologies for doing so again!)
A few yards form these flowers I was surprised to see a bit of purple, and upon investigating found these:
Bird’s-Eye Primrose can be found in this area, but I think that its a bit early for them, I assume that this is a Primula. Spread here from a garden by birds?
There aren’t many Bluebells in Eaves Wood, but there were some flowering today. I also saw my first Anemone of the year:
(The flash has done a great job on the leaves, but unfortunately has wiped out the flower.)
I’m pretty sure that I heard Marsh Tits again in Eaves Wood. I didn’t see them to confirm, but I feel like I’m making progress with my ‘learn birdsong’ project.