When I said last week that the next few months would be very interesting on patch, little did I realise quite how soon those words would come to fruition. In the end it only took until Friday evening when a loud but unfamiliar call interrupted my exploration of Cefn Drum’s lower slopes. Looking skywards I spotted a flock of four smallish birds heading into the uppermost branches of some nearby trees and duly went to investigate. What I hadn’t expected to find was true patch gold in the shape of my first ever local Lesser Redpolls, and indeed the first for this year. What’s more a couple of them were stunning males with incredibly vivid red plumage.
A short distance away the short, sharp peeps of recently fledged Robins led me to three very tame individuals. The parents were nowhere to be seen and as I crouched in a ditch the young birds approached to within a meter of my position. With their gapes still on show and a tuft of feathers above each eye they were the perfect vision of spring in action.
Another couple of Robin families were spread out across the valley floor with further breeding success evidenced by two juvenile Stonechats. Some species are clearly a little way behind with this Crows nest holding a sitting bird. Whether on eggs or chicks I couldn’t tell you but it’s certainly quite exposed to the elements.
The usual culprits were all in attendance but it’s worth noting a marked increase in Linnet numbers at last with at least six birds now present. Yellowhammers are also finally beginning to show themselves more readily with a stunning male and at least another two birds in the same locality as the young Robins above. There was also the unusual sight of a male Blackbird chasing off a Jay who had no doubt strayed too close to its nest. Who knows what will turn up next.