Twenty four hours later and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Sunday’s blizzards were just a dream. Sunshine and clear blue skies abound with only a few small pockets of snow holding on in shaded crevices any reminder of our recent wintry weather. Finally it feels as if we’ve been able to cast aside the last few months and can look to the future with real confidence, those nurtured memories of long summer days just waiting to burst back into reality once more. And if I could sense that change then our wildlife certainly could too if the sheer abundance of life yesterday evening was anything to go by.
As I hope will be the norm for the foreseeable future I was able to get back from work on Monday and head straight for the hills. Immediately I could hear the high pitched calls of Redwing, not an all too common patch visitor but one which seems to mass here about this time of year as final preparations for migration are made. They remained frustratingly elusive throughout with only occasional flight views possible but each one was a moment to savour, the setting sun picking out their red under-wing patches perfectly. Not to be outdone our resident species were also putting on a good show with Mistle Thrushes rattling their way overhead, a pair of battling Buzzards up on Gopa Hill and of course the yaffling of Green Woodpeckers. There were lambs too, many more than there had been even that morning and each one a picture of innocence which could surely melt even the hardest of hearts.
Up on Bryn-bach-Common I turned to find a pair of Ravens just hanging in the air parallel to me, a brief moment of eye contact before they soared off down the valley to continue their evening patrol. Less easy to spot were last week’s Wheatears which may have already moved on but in their place came a marked increase in Linnet numbers and a return to voice for the Skylarks. The Yellowhammers too had done a bunk with Stonechats seemingly now occupying what I had hoped could be breeding territory for the former. Time will tell but I feel the Stonechats may have the weight of experience on their side as they’ve successfully raised several broods here previously.
And still they came. Meadow Pipits adding their own voices to the mix, the silent glide of a Sparrowhawk looking for its next meal and let’s not forget those Buzzards which seemed ready to kick off round two. I saw all this and more and just had to take a moment periodically to stand, listen and absorb.
Looking down towards Loughor I was struck by how far west the sun currently sets, something which will soon start to change as our daylight hours lengthen and the sun makes its steady march north. Yet another reminder that it’s still early days but that great things are just around the corner.