And what a difference that rise in temperature and sunshine made to the birds at least. Two pairs of House Sparrows were taking nesting material into my terrace nest box, see below, leaving just one compartment free and another pair were taking nest material into the hawthorn hedge where they nested last year. Despite the fact that my 50 strong flock of sparrows daily empty all the bird feeders, I felt sorry for those left out and hastily yesterday made another nest box and put it up on the bungalow wall.
The only thing that spoilt the day out on the reserve was the heavy rain that we experienced early Wednesday, it has waterlogged the grazing marsh again and seen ditch levels rise back to where they were a month ago. However, with the next week due to be rain free, hopefully we will see a gradual drying out of the marsh again, in order to get to conditions that will suit the ground nesting birds such as Lapwings and Redshanks. Lapwings in particular, lay their eggs directly into a circular scrape that they make in the ground and their eggs quickly chill and become useless if we get future heavy rain spells that re-water-log the ground.
Today started with a hard frost and then thick fog and for most of my walk round the reserve I was confined to sounds rather than sightings but as the fog rolled in and out, the sun eventually won the day and by 9.30 we had blue skies and warming sunshine again. And that was the signal for all manner of birds to suddenly rejoice at Spring and begin calling, courting, or simply just singing. Very high up in the sky, Marsh Harriers circled round, repeatedly uttering the plaintive call notes that they do when calling for a mate. Skylarks, that didn't seem to be that plentiful a few days ago, were all of a sudden everywhere, serenading the whole marsh from on high with their beautiful song but best of all were the Lapwings. Late as they have been with their courtship displays, today it was all go as they rolled and tumbled in the sky, "peewit" calls echoing across the marsh, scrapes and eggs won't be too far away.
This afternoon as I write this at 13.00, we are now as it was yesterday, wall to wall sunshine, windows and doors in the house are open and Spring is bursting in, lets hope that it's not a false dawn so to speak.