Desperate to hear my first Chiff Chaff of 2013 ,on Saturday 30th March, on a beautiful morning I got up early and headed out to feed the Sheep and the Chickens with great expectations!My first and only notable sighting was 50 Pink Footed Geese noisily coming in to feed on the adjoining field!Presumably they have so far received no clues that it's time they were off to their breeding grounds!
Sunday ,another fine day,saw me up the Harthope Valley where snow still lay deep in parts making it impossible to use the usual parking spots.Surely there would be some sign of Spring up there?It was not to be- my main sighting being a dozen resplendent Siskin near Langleeford Hope!
Tuesday, and I was off up the new College Valley Path,where I had some wonderful close up sightings of Jays,a party of Long Tailed Tits and again Siskin.A Mistle Thrush was in fine voice from the slopes of the Tors while a Song Thrush vied for the best songster prize from the woodland around the Cuddystone Hall.On the way home near Howtel a Merlin dashed out of the hedge,flew low in front of the car for a short distance before disappearing through the hedge again.
Wednesday- another beautiful morning and it was off again via Kyloe ,Detchant Park and Holburn Moss.A perfect day and habitat to hear that Chiff Chaff!Not to be !However an excellent view of a Woodcock was not to be taken lightly and the Skylarks were in good voice.The new pond by St Cuthbert's Way was resounding with the sound of Black Headed Gulls preparing to nest on the island while a miserable looking Heron was gazing into the water .Over at the pond at Holburn Moss ,we saw 2 Grey Lag Geese,Mallard,and more Black Headed Gulls.
Yellow Hammer were in full song on the way back down to Holburn and on returning to the car we saw a Buzzard carrying a large twig in its talons ,heading for Kyloe Woods.
Where are the Chiff Chaffs?