In the pre-dawn darkness, lit by the odd street lamp, a Robin sang this morning. It sang as early morning cars went by and it sung to the lady waiting for the early London bus. I opened the bedroom window ajar and listened in the cold, in-rushing air as he continued to sing, bold as brass and cocky as a sparrow.
A little later when I'd got up and gone into the garden dark he was still there, atop a bare magnolia bush in a neighbouring garden, looking down at me with half-cocked head as he sang. Just then another Robin close by also began singing and my Robin's attention was lost to that threat close by as they dueled in song across the gardens. Many other birds are rightfully praised for the beauty of their song but for me the Robin's takes some beating, to hear it emerging from the dank fog of a November day or the cold darkness of a pre-dawn January and it can be so uplifting.
When it finally became light I made my way down to the reserve with the dogs, having missed going yesterday due to the rain. It wasn't the most pleasant of scenes down there though, after yesterday's rain and in this morning's still damp air, everything was so wet and muddy. The majority of the reserve is also pretty much taken over by sheep as well at the moment and so I made my round the boundary fence of the reserve and decided on a walk across the two RSPB fields. Before I did I left the main pump running in order to replenish the part flooded scrape in the "Flood" field.
The two excellent RSPB fields are still holding really good numbers of larks, finches and buntings and support well the reasons for having that type of habitat out there, a true oasis for wildlife amongst so many well grazed fields. As I walked along the top of the bund between the two fields a mixed flock of around 12 Lapland Buntings and 20 odd Skylarks got up and briefly flew round before re-alighting where they'd come from, 2 Twite passed by overhead and then a flock of around 50-60 Linnets also dropped in to feed. Herons are aso still to be found walking about in the two fields on a daily basis, something I imagine that suggests a probable healthy vole population for them to feed on.
Other than the small birds however, it was a remarkably quiet morning birdwise and stopping to talk to three other birdwatchers by the two fields, it seems that they also thought the same, no harriers or S.E.Owls had been seen by any of us and the White-fronted Geese on the reserve have also moved on in recent days.
A misty and heavy drizzle set in for a while to add to the dampness of the day as I made my back on to the reserve and to switch off the pump. Having done that I turned into the drizzle and decided to head for home, such damp and dull days are not my favourites, the bones start to creak and the arthritis becomes sore, yes, time to hobble off.
Of interest to any birdwatchers intending visiting the Raptor Viewing Mound this week/weekend, the re-surfacing of the Harty Road has begun but it has started at the Harty Ferry end and so it should be a some time before it starts to cause delays getting along to the RVM.