So, they were my surprise delights over the weekend. On the Monday, I had agreed to help a friend complete a bird survey of a local organic farm. A 4:00 a.m. start straight after my hen weekend was a bit of a struggle, but it was well worth it. We saw a total of 46 species in all, and at least four out of the ten farmland specialists we were after; including yellowhammers, skylarks, linnets and white throats. I was also quite pleased with the number of different bird songs I appear to have learnt over the past year or so. Usually I only hear birds separately, but with so many singing together it was a privilege to be able to pick a few out. With the "bread, bread, bread, bread, cheeeeeeeese" of the yellowhammer, the sparkling song of flying linnets and the delights of the endless cascading song of the skylark in display flight, it really was magical.
|Yellowhammer posing, just before treating us to its song|
At that time of the morning, we were also treated to wonderful views of roe and muntjac deer and enormous amounts of hares; we saw nearly 20 in just one field! I love hares, and I could happily sit and watch them all day. A couple even decided to have a brief box, behaviour which I have never before witnessed for myself. We also saw some beautiful butterflies, including the silver-studded blue and the speckled wood below. Helpfully, it was still too early for the butterflies to have fully warmed up, so they were very obliging it letting us get close-up photos.
|A roe deer, sussing us out from a distance|