I love looking out for signs the seasons are changing, especially if it’s winter turning to spring. This weekend, the Gorse was back in flower near Holywell – not just old flowers left over from last year, they were all brand new this year.
There were other signs of spring too, with my first Skylarks of the year, singing in bursts in the fields east of the pond. About three or four pairs were in the area, flying up into the air and chasing each other. Also in the fields was a pair of Reed Bunting but there were no Yellowhammers and not a trace of the Linnets that were there in number before the New Year.
The solitary Kestrel continues to hunt the fields though and is always a pleasure to watch. A flock of Lapwing flew over, as well as a pair of Stock Dove as I made my way towards Holywell Dene, in hope of the Dippers or maybe a Grey wagtail.
The mature scrub on the north side of the burn by Hartley looks fantastic for birds. Just a short look saw Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch and a pair of Woodpigeon that looked like they might already be on a nest. Come May this area is going to be alive with bird life!
Heading back towards Holywell village through the Dene I could hear a Song Thrush in full song but try as I might, I couldn’t locate the bird. Its song was mesmerising enough though and called to mind warm summer evenings.
The usual Tits, Robins and Dunnocks flitted about the feeders in the woods, joined by at least two Nuthatch and scaling a tree nearby, a solitary Treecreeper.
Holywell Pond was fairly quiet, holding a flock of around twelve Pochard, similar numbers of Tufted Duck and Gadwall and a few Mallard. The ducks were joined by two small groups of geese – perhaps family parties – of Canada Geese and Greylag Geese. These were notable for me as they are the first I have seen at the pond in 2015, whereas last year the fields nearby contained a decent-sized flock of Greylag Geese for most of the winter.
There were no Goldeneye on the water but a Grey Heron lurked by the island and a Cormorant fished the deeper water. To me at least, it seems like the genie may be out of the bottle and that spring has begun its inevitable march. We will see though…