Sunday, 8 February 2015

Golden slumber

What a difference a day makes. After yesterday's gloomy, chilly weather I wasn't expecting an almost balmy spring day. It might only be the second week of February, and the weather is more than capable of rising up and biting us on the bum, but it felt as if we might have turned a corner in the progression of this particularly ordinary winter.

I took myself off to the southward slope of Colley Hill, mainly because this site was my best bet for a local Red-legged Partridge. Settling down at the base of the hill, overlooking the favoured fields, I had a good view for miles towards the south and west. Sheltered from what little breeze there was, I was sitting in a perfect sun trap and a number of small insects were constantly on the wing, always a welcome sign in the winter months. Off came the hat, gloves and coat. Eyes shut, head back and feel those golden rays...

My slumber was broken by the rhythmical calling of a Red-legged Partridge that was present on the weedy edge of the closest field. A number of the half-dozen Common Buzzards present were also calling, some half-hearted display also being observed. The best however were the Peregrines - after a male had paraded in front of me I picked up a big female that seemed to be heading east, then started to purposefully gain height where it then joined a further two birds (most probably a male and female). A spot of chasing was then indulged in before they all left westwards. I stayed rooted to the spot, loathe to leave the warmth and raptor show. But before I finally did, a Cormorant joined the 2015 patch list, which now has reached 69 species.

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