Has Spring Sprung?

It seems a little odd to me, this year. The first warblers got established and then the rest haven't appeared. I saw 2 willow warblers two weeks ago and haven't seen another since. The butterflies came out in February and now I'm lucky if I see one all day long, despite the sun. The good old British weather, eh? Anyway, a few photos from the past week or so ...

… definitely Spring-y, a lovely little wren blasting out some tunes against a backdrop of blossom and fresh foliage

Amazing how it's always the little ones that make so much noise, with Cetti's and Great Tits giving wrens a run for their money

I often like getting 'behind' butterflies for the different aspect, like this Peacock on … willow … possibly

I think this is Maple blossom

I took a few photos of this Chiffchaff ...

… thinking "well, it's moving through the trees, so I can get ahead of it and get it when it emerges in better light." While I was waiting I had a bit of a shock … but not as much as the Chiffchaff, because this flew in from right behind me and landed just in front.

It let me move until I could get the shot above, without a single twig in the way, and then, it looked at me and flew off. How cool is that … a Sparrowhawk photographed not in a garden but while out walking in the woods and I only had to crop it for width. Needless to say, the Chiffchaff shut up and never showed its face again after that!!

I also ended up a little too close to this Song Thrush foraging in the undergrowth.

On the West Pennine Moors, I encountered 3 Roe Deer in a pine forest. They were very close and surprisingly, not really concerned by my presence, although they did keep an eye on me ...

I thought they'd run when a barking dog came along with its owner, but no, they just kept a wary eye out and I think I spent about 20 minutes watching them. Sadly, the buck was lame. You can see a black mark on its hind leg which is a significant lump and was obviously causing it pain. A shame to see it like that and I hope it clears up because otherwise it looks healthy enough to my inexperienced eye

I didn't think deer went around in family groups, but this was 1 buck, 1 doe and 1 that was either a second smaller doe or a fawn. However, this is the bigger doe again.

I'm not sure if there is a really good Bluebell wood near me, but it's obviously that time of year

Still looking for my first Swallow (although there are loads of Sand Martins around) and still waiting for the Whitethroats and other later warblers... come on you lazy lot!

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Nige   Flickr

  • Lovely photos Nige, We had a little wren nest in the Virginia Creeper on the gable end of the house last year. What a tiny nest, don't know how they managed to rear young. I had a good look a few weeks ago. Long before the birds started to show intrest in nesting, (actually I was up cleaning out the rhones) so I could get a good look. It was completly made out of moss and tightly packed in the branches. Just the other day I saw it sitting in the fence opposite, so fingers crossed. No wonder the wee Chiffchaff moved. A beautiful bird, the Sprawk, one you don't want to have in the garden, too often!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Wonderful pics Nige, certainly Spring for you ... just cold here with sleet!! Brrrrrrrr don't like it!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Cracking photos Nige, what a treat to get that S'prawk. It does feel as tho Spring has faltered a little. I still have 2 pairs of Blackcap coming in to feed which is most unusual and as you say the warblers seem reluctant to arrive.

    CinJ

    Cin J

  • A brilliant read and photo set Nigel, the unusually warm end of February and then cooler conditions which followed seemed to churn up the inflow of birds and insects which was exactly like you said - went quiet on the western front but hopefully with this more settled spell (a promise of 21 degrees Fri/Sat) we will start to see more warblers arriving including the Whitethroats. I love the spring blossom/flowers, such a cheery sight. What a cracking shot you got of the Sprawk, very obliging of it to perch for you so nicely, it's a beauty. Love the Chiffy too and glad it took cover from the sprawk. Great pics one and all.

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Very nice set Nige, lucky you the Sparrowhawk landed near you, I have seen a few butterflies lately sadly none landed.

    Jim

    My Pictures

  • Lovely photos Nigel & I enjoyed the storyline too. It's a similar story of the weather here with only a few moths a night recently compared to around 25 a month ago! Howevere fingers crossed it'll warm up.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • Lovely set of pics Nigel, spring is certainly somewhere about, saw our first swallow on Fri at Felixstowe Ferry and then about 20+ over the fields near our village sewage works, but then there was a horrible swarm of flies about.
    Also on Fri saw our first Wheatears again at Felixstowe Ferry and down the coast at Landguard NR next to the port.

    KR
    Tony

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/wherryman/

  • Great read of your woodland wanderings and beautiful photos, Nigel. Love the Wren in full voice, amazing number of decibels they can output. I'm amazed you can get so close to the deer. They spot me from half a mile away and bolt.
    The outward signs of Spring are here down south if only we could get rid of the cold wind.

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    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • Lovely woodland walk Nigel, and you saw a great selection of birds, love the Wren and Chiffchaff, what a cracker. The Sprawk is a stunner and I bet you were surprised it sat still for a photo. I am jealous of the beautiful Songthrush though, what a clear pic, I haven't seen one for ages.

    Lot to learn

  • Thanks all
    I think that's the first time wild Roe deer have actually posed for me (as well as the Sprawk). Normally, when I'm that close, it's because I've surprised them and I've never had a camera to hand, besides they look at you for a few seconds, sizing you up, and you just know they're thinking "I could beat him with two legs tied together", and then they just wander disdainfully off into the trees!
    I'm always amazed the little male Wrens build several nests for the female to choose one. Last year, one built a nest in the corner of a hide! I'm still waiting to see one with a beak full of moss this year though.
    I have to say, I do quite well for Song Thrushes around here. I have counted 8 singing during one circuit of Pennington and there is normally a pair in the park in front of my house..

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    Nige   Flickr