Why is it that you can go the whole winter without catching a cold but as soon as the nice weather arrives so does the man-flu? This week hasn’t been all bad though as I’ve caught up with several jobs around the garden and just generally enjoyed the feeling of being outside. At least three Chiffchaffs are now calling continuously around the house, a pair of Bullfinches looks to be nesting near our back lane, Blue Tits have been popping in and out of one of the nest boxes and the male Yellowhammer is still visiting regularly and has even been singing from a perch just over our boundary wall. It’s amazing what you see while doing DIY.
This evening we headed up to Bryn-bach-Common after work and were immediately greeted by the sight of a Buzzard soaring on thermals off Goppa Hill. This was the first opportunity I have had to try the new camera out on a bird in flight and once again the autofocus has blown me away. Although a bit distant the bird is pin sharp, something which was very much hit and miss previously.
A Jay and the first singing Chiffchaff I have actually seen this year as opposed to merely heard entertained us on our way up to the common itself where four soaring Ravens could be seen high in the sky. As we searched for Yellowhammers it was the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks who provided the background audio track, which good though it was didn’t seem to be attracting our little yellow friends. If this past couple of weeks is anything to go by it seems that the Yellowhammers only move up onto the common just before sunset so instead we decided to try out a couple of other locations further down into the valley. On the way there it was hard not to stop and photograph one of the newborn lambs suckling from its mother.
At Craig y Bedw a fly past from a Red Kite was only narrowly eclipsed by this stunning male Yellowhammer which briefly appeared on an overhead telegraph wire. I just had chance to grab a quick record shot before it flew back along the valley and out of sight.
As we walked further down the lane other calling Yellowhammers could be clearly heard from both sides before I spotted a female bird in one of the Gorse bushes to our left. She almost immediately flew up into a tree where remarkably another two females were already sat.
With at least another two calling birds further along the valley floor we must have seen most if not all of the birds that I estimated were present in my previous post. Given that our search was far from extensive I wonder how big the population there truly is? What is for certain is that it seems to be growing year on year which is fantastic news.
Our return route took us along the River Dulais where we spotted a male Pheasant running up the valley side. Although in many parts of the country these are common birds, our local population is very small indeed. I think I have seen one in the valley once before but never as well as on this occasion. Three Mistle Thrushes were also a nice find but it is the humble Robin which I shall end this post on. I mentioned previously that a new camera is never truly christened until its photographed a Robin, something which this evening I finally achieved. And what a beauty it turned out to be.