Monday 28 March 2011

First Swallows

It was back to the reserve this morning after my little excursion to Warden Point yesterday looking for migrants and like they say, there's no place like home. As I walked across the marsh this morning my first Swallow came zipping across the reserve in front of me. Later, as I was passing through the reserve's entry gate on my way out, a second Swallow also came past. Today's Swallow was one day later than that of last year but my earliest still remains as the 15th March 2009.
Seeing that first Swallow is one of the year's special events - like looking at the simple beauty of a Primrose flower, like suddenly in the depths of a hot summer's day hearing a Carpenters song, like coming home from a freezing cold, mid-winter dusk and sipping at that first glass of something, like all those things that suddenly, out of the blue make you feel good.

Apart from that little bit of excitement the reserve was fairly quiet, with nothing else out of the ordinary, still small flocks of Teal and Wigeon and the 200+ Whitefronts but Tufted Duck and Pochard are in better numbers than the last few years, with 15-20of both types most days. Probably meagre by some peoples standards but good counts for us and a delight to see when bunched together and I look forward to a few broods of their delightful ducklings.
As is usual most mornings, the Barn Owls were still out hunting in the daylight and this one sat on the fence and watched me drive by. I managed to photograph it a split second before it opened its wings and flew off.

Along the Harty Road I stopped to watch this Hare as it wove huge figure of eights through a flock of sheep and lambs, always with its nose to the ground and I imagine it was probably following the scent of another one that had been there earlier. Given the time of year the other one had possibly left a particularly enticing smell behind.
One other sighting along the road was a flock of 78 Corn Buntings on the overhead power cables, always a joy to see but never easy to photograph.

My garden pond is looking a bit bare at the moment where I have been doing some renovation work at the rear during the winter but the frog spawn in the middle of the weed is now starting to hatch.


  1. A Swallow, it must be Spring! How lovely to get the photo of the Barn Owl, I haven't seen one for years and never photographed one. Good to see the Hare too, I tried my best to turn a Rabbit into one this afternoon with no luck ;)

    Nice to see you had a change of scenery yesterday and saw lots of Spring sights and species you wouldn't normally see.

  2. Jan,
    Luckily for us the Barn Owls are a daily feature, all year round, and we also ring their youngsters every year.