A 7.00am start for an Easter Monday walk. Weather started off bright and clear but soon turned to grey, overcast and a cold north westerly. Snow flurries made several appearances, but nothing settled. In all, an impressive 35 species count, but nothing new to add to the 2008 list.
A garden singing yellowhammer was an unusual sight and a calling green woodpecker could be heard from the garden. Tits and finches were feeding on the nut feeder as I set off. Goldfinches called overhead at the Ford as 5 black headed gulls headed north. A kestrel over the golf course showed well and skylarks sang from high. In one tree towards the 3rd hole a mistle thrush was observed, close by a redwing called and these were soon joined by 1 green woodpecker, 2 blue tits, a great tit, and 2 green finches. A most productive tree. A walk through Caley Wood gave up a drumming great spotted woodpecker, with three others seen before the end of the walk. 14 lesser black backed gulls lazed their way west in the breeze. The resident River Ash grey heron was disturbed and headed further upstream as jays squabbled. 2 coal tits called along the river bank before I arrived at Bush Wood. This site was positively brimming with birds. A party of 30+ migratory redwings sat at the tops of the trees and were soon joined by 26 yellowhammers. Great and blue tits called alarms as jackdaws and rooks soared on the breeze. A great spotted woodpecker was disturbed and 3 herring gulls winged their way over north. Finally, before I left, a stock dove was registered, roosting in the trees. 2 golden plover in their usual field were seen, one now immaculate in summer plumage. Fieldfares called from the sheep field and back at the Ford 3 dunnocks and a house sparrow added to the total.2 hares were witnessed in the brassica field behind Lordship Farm. Grey squirrel and several rabbits were also recorded
More sweet violets (viola odorata) were discovered and some lesser celandine (ranunculus ficaria) was found along the ditch edges. Top photo is a view looking west from the ridgeway above the Ash Valley. The golf course can be seen on the other side. The second is an ice pattern taken outside the club house whilst the third shows the lesser celandine