Sudden Burst of Spring by David Cole
Date: 2013-05-01 12:59:27 | Category: Bird Watching
| Author: David Cole
Well, everything has experienced the sudden burst of Spring in deepest, darkest West Sussex during the last two weeks. Late, but welcome.
My 5am-6am walk to the paddock behind my home to provide a 'comfort break' for an elderly Golden Retriever and her two Springer Spaniel 'nieces' now has me pausing, in spite of the chill, to listen to the Dawn Chorus which seems to get better every day. Every bird from crows to robins has to have their say, and in spite of the apparent discord the sound merges into a real 'Chorus'. I'll be taking a mug of coffee with me from now on and extending my stay.
After more than fifty years as a professional photographer I now get great joy from turning my long lenses on the wildlife in my area - and of course the results supplement my pension - the pictures that I take are used by various media worldwide - and it is something to keep a septuagenarian out of mischief.
I noticed a young rabbit carcass on the Green in front of our house - victim of a stoat judging by the teeth punctures behind the creature's neck. It was attracting the attention of the local Buzzard family - then suddenly a bigger wider version swept in with a well-defined 'notch' in the tail - the first Red Kite to be noted in the locality. So I set up a hide within camera range and spent more than six hours waiting for one of these magnificent birds to take the free offering.
The result; nothing more than a profound stiffness and a cold nether region. The carcass was taken overnight...
The bird feeding stations to the south of my home - within a few yards of the kitchen window continue to throng with a variety of Tits, Marsh, Coal, Blue, Great - and this year for the first time the Long Tails have arrived and been tempted in.
The various feeding habits of the Tit family cause much wasted time in my household. Beak shapes, and shyness control some feeding patterns with the Blue Tits now so sure of themselves that a couple of them take seed from my wife's hand.
Nesting is slow with just a couple of sites in a well-developed state - I hope that the forecast cold downturn does not put them off - we could do with some new young life about.
At the end of each day Jessie, (the retriever) with Meg and Emma (the Springer's) take me to the paddock again - it is usually about midnight - and for a few weeks a Robin has been singing. But three days ago there was no mistaking the new voice in the coppice - a Nightingale - and in the distance near the river was another ... this, and my wife assures me that she heard a Cuckoo while sowing some carrots - Spring must be here at last...