This weekend I was reminder of how nice it is to live in Warwick. I have the benefit of a fairly well resourced town surrounded by the countryside. The thing with Warwickshire is that it is a little bit forgotten. It is a little too south in the Midlands to be bothered with and too far north for the Cotswolds to include, we have no major cities although we are criss-crossed by multiple motorways. We have no major lakes, country renowned reserves, no mountains and no coastline. This means it is often overlooked by programmes such as Countryfile or Countrywise. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I do feel we are a little side-lined.
This weekend I managed to get out and about a lot. Firstly on Saturday morning I was faced with a multitude of possibilities, would I check on the Swan, look for Rabbits in Priory Park, look for Farmland Birds up 'Volvo Lane' or visit the racecourse to watch skylark.
I started by cycling down to the canal on my estate to check on my local swans, by my reckoning they are ready to hatch any day now, but still there was no activity. From there I rode north remembering that in a small paddock next to the tow path and cemetery Rabbits could often be seen, and they did not disappoint. A pair of young rabbits sat enjoying the sun among the daisies. It may surprise you to know that young rabbits are called 'Kittens' Note the smaller rounded ears and the disproportionate size of the eye in relation to the body, other than the overall small size these are key indicators of youth.
From the rabbits I continued up the canal through the industrial estate and out in the countryside between Hampton Magna and Hatton. I was hoping to catch Yellowhammer. I was able to hear them but was caught between the canal and hedgerow. So, I turned round and headed for the place I always see Yellowhammer, that is Wedgenock Lane called 'Volvo Lane' by our family. Its pretty flat and runs up to the edge to the hills that ring Warwick. I had nearly given up hope when on the way back I spotted this brilliant yellow bird on the telegraph wire, refusing to give up its tell tale song of 'little bit of bread and no cheeeese'. These birds are so bright that they remind me of canaries.
Aside from the Dunnock, Whitethroat and Pheasants in the hedgerows I also saw an excellent little bird normally reserved for the winter. Flitting along the hedges, trying hard to stay outside the range of my camera where some Linnet. These little grey brown birds have a delightful song when sing.
And so back to home where in the garden I was met by the first of this years baby Starlings. The young themselves look nothing like their gaudy parents and their drabness reminds me of the ugly duckling.
Later that evening I went down to bait my Camera Trap with peanuts, disappointing I found that it was no longer working. Although two years in continuous service isn't bad for an electrical device and I was able to replace it with my smaller Acorn model with which this morning I got the following pictures. Badgers love peanuts.
Sunday morning and it was time for my usual survey around m,y patch at the Saxon Mill. Despite the good weather things were pretty quiet. Don't get me wrong the birds were all singing loudly but none of what I call my specials were about (Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Buzzards). I did however see the first Banded Agrions (Demoiselles) of the year. In a few weeks their number will rocket until the whole riverside is covered in a cloud of blue and green.
Out in the main field I noted the Whitethroats had stopped singing as much, this is an indication that they have paired up and are now on nests. A single adult remained singing from a song perch. These dull birds with unsurprisingly white throats have an exquisite song.
Again back home this afternoon and sat in the garden once more I was treated to the arrival of the first juvenile Robin. I reckon it had barely fledged, its mouth was still in full gape, its tail feathers short and ragged and its flight tentative and wobble.
So much to see and hear just on the doorstep.
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I have just received news that one of the St. Nicholas pair of Swans has hatched 6 cygnets. I ll be looking for them next week.