The weather may not be brilliant, but the lengthening days and mild temperatures are having an effect on the local bird population with many now singing/displaying and nest boxes around the farm are being defended by Blue and Great tits. Perhaps this is what the birds were doing during the Garden Birdwatch. Or should it be re-named the “Great Disappearance”? Is it possible birds posses an innate sense for “being counted” which is brought into play the moment one sits down with binoculars, pen, paper and cup of tea? Even the pheasants, usually present as soon as the ducks are fed, did not appear until late into the count ( a study for a PhD student perhaps). Still, in the end, 20 species were counted including a lovely flock of 28 Siskin.
We now have at least four Snipe feeding regularly in the field rushes and the Woodcock is frequently seen. At least five jays are coming daily to the tree stump for peanuts, though we have had up to eleven in previous years.
The highlight of the month occurred last week when a Peregrine flew low over the house and garden, folded it's wings and dived, heading over the barn and down the hill aiming for the very large flock of Wood Pigeons that have been around the farm all winter.