Sunday 26 April 2020

Lockdown Birding: Dawn on the heath

 When the Gorse flowers, it's kissing season! Fortunately, it flowers most months!

One of the few field tasks we have continued at YWT during lockdown has been checking our livestock to make sure they are healthy and happy. I am on the rota for checking the sheep at Strensall Common, so this morning I got to go out to count the sheep. Counting sheep is a challenge, not least because it can send you to sleep, but also because they can be surprisingly hard to find among the undulating heather and bracken-clad heath, interspersed with stands of Silver Birch. Nevertheless, I savoured the exeprience this morning, enjoying the tranquility of the early morning heath.

34 Hebridean Sheep and one Charollais cross. All present and correct.

My First Cuckoo of the year was calling to the south and at least two Tree Pipits were singing away from the tops of the birches, looking striking in the early morning sun. Garden Warblers chattered away in the scrub with many Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps for accompaniment.

Nice views of one of the freshly arrived Tree Pipits, showing nice strong bill, bold head pattern and underparts with heavy black streaking on the buffy breast, contrasting with white belly with fine pencil-thin streaks. Quite different and striking compared with the nearby Meadow Pipits.

No comments: