MORNING WALK IN YEO VALLEY AND ACROSS TO CLIFTON WOODS
WEATHER: very cold start but it soon warmed up, then it was wall to wall sunshine all day. Light afternoon breeze
Another beautiful day started with my usual walk at 7am. I photographed a Magpie that was sitting out in the sunshine at the top of a tree, I was cold because the sun hadn't reached ground level yet.
The next two birds I saw were both Little Egrets, they flew up from the stream as I crossed the road-bridge to get to the valley. Shame, I never had a chance to get them in the can, Grey Wagtails also flew down stream when I looked over the bridge.
a male Grey Wagtail
It was nice to see the Nuthatch nest still intact, I saw two, previously unobserved, types of behaviour today. Firstly the Nuthatch was collecting tiny newly formed leaves from the twigs outside the nest, he would then fly to nest hole and drop then inside? Secondly and understandably, a Green Woodpecker called from close by, the Nuthatch quickly flew to the nest and sat guard just outside the hole, I have never seen that before.
the male Nuthatch standing guard at the entrance to his nest hole
collecting budding leaves which were then dropped into the nest
My walk all along the stream was extremely pleasant and very rewarding, it was so great to be outside, it has been a month since we had rain down here, I just can't believe our lockdown luck.
It was still quite cold when I finished the walk, not a single butterfly was on the wing but plenty of bird species were in the air. I saw Grey Heron fly over at a great height, also flying were: Little Egret, Common Buzzards, Raven and countless Wood Pigeons.
mist rising from the stream as the sun warmed up the air
frozen grass along the River Yeo
The usual birds were in song, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Goldcrest, Great and Blue Tits. During this lockdown period I have seen Coal Tit only twice and both times the birds were coming to my feeder in the garden, but today I saw a pair along the stream.
I now have three Treecreeper nest sites along the stream to look at and, of course, I saw the Kingfisher three times.
some easter Bunnies
I met Dawn as I completed my circuit in the Valley and we walked together heading south along the stream. We were heading to Clifton Woods, they are private with no entrance permitted but you can walk along a good length of wood's perimeter.
The public footpath takes you through a farm then across a couple of sheep fields to the wood, we saw very little in the sterile grass meadow environment. But along the edge of the wood was a different world entirely, especially the west and south facing edges. All of sudden we found ourselves in a very warm sun-trap where dozens of flowering plants could be seen and a multitude of butterflies were feeding on them.
a Linnet from this morning
We saw carpets of Bluebells in the Woods it was an amzaing sight and the scent was overpowering. Along the outside edge of the wood we saw Wood Anemone, Greater Stitchwort, Cowslips, Sun Spurge, Primrose and lots of flowering White Deadnettle, a fantastic array of colour and diversity.
After soaking up this wonderful midday experience we set off back home, as we walked past the farm we saw a Barn Swallow around the buildings, it was a male and I'm pretty sure he will have nest in one of the barns.
On our return we noted that the local farmer had been in and ploughed the meadow next to our flat, I guess we will soon find out what he is going to plant there?