Thursday, February 26, 2009

Still dry with relatively warm air moving in from south & west over the sea; just a few last patches of snow on the mountains. The annual, early morning dawn chorus session was muffled out by fog formed as warm sea air met cold land; only stalwart Song Thrushes & Robins sang sweetly through grey mist, along with scratchy, descending whistles of Chaffinches. Hammer-drill bursts of Great Spotted Woodpecker perked things up, rattling on dead Oak like a wooden machine-gun.

The previous evening, Redwings gathering to roost were squeaking & singing quietly in dense Norway Spruce, a sound only occasionally heard in March in tree-tops, just as they leave for the north.

The loud, monotonous, two-note refrain of Great Tits’ song is characteristic, but each interpretation of even this basic theme is subtly different in note, tone and volume. This morning, one boldly marked individual was breaking new ground as an initial, quiet grace note was followed by the usual two loud notes, lowest first; each triplet separated by a significant pause.

Out on the estuary, Skylarks are also starting to sing, more often rising from rushes with a liquid ‘chirrup’ to flit, glide and drop out of range on broad-based, triangular wings. On low shoals emerging from the tidal lagoon, fourteen slim Mergansers rest up: white-on-black streaked drakes preening reddening breasts with long, red saw-bills, bottle-green crests lifted up behind; ducks more muted with pale chestnut quiff.

Twenty minutes later, the tide a little lower, and all are gone, bar just two now fishing in the tidal entrance.

First Welsh Mountain lambs are appearing in the fields, fragile & gawky on wobbly legs. On the warm lane bank, just two golden cartwheels of Celandine were open at the weekend, with insignificant white petals of Barren Strawberry still held tight.






Wildlife Wales Short Breaks: Autumn, Winter & Early Summer
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