Saturday, 20 March 2010

Winter's End

The garden is coming alive. We are enjoying frost free mornings that seemed so far off, not too long ago, when I was scraping ice from the car windows. The birds are singing and the first Tête à Tête are flowering (these must be at least three weeks later than previous years). There is a fine display of crocus on the village green and my spirits were lifted on driving into a neighbouring village and seeing a line of the previously mentioned miniature daffodils with larger ones making rapid progress towards flowering. The calendar says spring is about to start and nature is making it happen.

A sunny morning with the threat of poorer weather in the afternoon encouraged me to take a trip to Skipwith Common, an area of ancient heathland that is now being managed to ensure its survival.

Leaving the car park I was encouraged by the sight of a Kestrel in the distance and two Greylag geese who flew from one pond to another. There were however only a few Greylag and Canada geese to be seen together with a few Mallard and Black-headed gulls.

Further on a bird flew across the path and landed on a tree trunk. It was a Treecreeper.

A short distance on I saw a lone Long-tailed tit. It managed to always keep a branch between my camera and itself before flying off - to join others I presume.

A pair of Mallards in a swampy area near the path kept an eye on me as I walked by. 

As well as open heathland there are wooded areas. Birch trees are present some of which provide the ideal conditions for fungi.

The bright yellow of Gorse flowers adds some colour at this time of year.

Part of the common was used as an airfield in the Second World War and evidence of this is all around. 
There is a circular walk around what used to be the bomb dump and tucked away in one corner is this bomb shelter. Nearby there was activity in the form of Great and Long Tailed tits and Chaffinch. 

I watched these for a while then headed to the old runway. Walking to the edge of the woodland and looking over the farmland I saw a Red Kite flying towards me. It kept high in the air and I only managed a distant photo before it flew on. The sky by this time had clouded over. 

Walking on the path skirting the woodland I saw a Treecreeper and managed to get a photo of it through a gap in the branches. It carried on up the tree checking the cracks in the bark for insects.

A little further on a Wren sat for a while on a branch in clear view but too distant for a good photo. Still I always like to see these birds. 

Looking over the open heath I saw two Buzzards circling in the distance.

There were a few butterflies or day moths that I could see at tree height but failed to identify. If anyone has visited Skipwith Common recently I would be delighted to know what they were. They were quite small and I did catch a glimpse or orange/red as one flew a little lower but my internet/book research has failed to find an answer.

On walking back to the car I could feel the oncoming rain in the air. I heard a woodpecker and owl but my hunger told me  it was time to go home for a very late lunch. Anyway I always think it better to leave a place with a reason to return and those calling birds were it.

Arriving home the first raindrops started to fall. In a day or so this rainfall could be officially called what it felt like - a spring shower.

1 comment: