This evening marked a significant moment in what I like to think of as my own personal calendar of seasonal events. For the first time in months I was able to get home from work and out onto my local patch with light still in the sky. I even managed to catch the tail end of a pretty decent sunset, which after the weather February has brought us so far should really be labelled as the greatest sunset in the world.
Regular readers may recognise the feature tree in these shots from last year and I make no apology for using it again here. It’s by far the most photogenic foreground I’ve found on Gopa Hill and I really love seeing its bare branches at this time of year. There are of course a whole host of other shots floating around in my mind for the wider area, and weather permitting I’ll hopefully be bringing them to this blog in due course.
While I was up there I couldn’t help noticing how loud the early evening has now become. After the almost deathly silence of winter it’s a real pleasure to hear the birds calling once more, whether that be Robins singing, Great Tits swearing or the almost continuous sound of Blackbird alarm calls. On the subject of Blackbirds their numbers seem to have really rocketed since last week with at least eight individuals seen in just a tiny area. One small tree alone held a group of four with many more hidden in the surrounding vegetation. I imagine that now things are beginning to warm up they are starting to spread back into these higher altitudes to breed and reduce competition for food elsewhere.
I did of course keep my eyes open for any new species to add to my patchwork challenge but, apart from a possible calling Green Woodpecker, my species count remains unchanged. Rather tantalisingly I did see a Tawny Owl flying over fields near Pontlliw last night, though sadly a couple of miles too far away to count. Still a great bird to see and very good news that they are still in the area.