Seems like this post was lost during melt down, so I've replaced it
11th May. It was a nice evening with only small patches of ominous grey cloud building up from the west, so I took a quick stroll to which eventually led me to the lake. It was amazing how verdant everything had become since the rain showers of the past few days and some of the grasses were now almost knee high. Although in the main it was sunshine and blue skies, the pathway behind the village was dark and almost like a tunnel beneath the trees. Bird song was with me every step of the way and I quickly found one of the Blackcaps, not very well hidden in the lower trees. Swifts flew overhead.
Chiffchaff song seemed to overpower the seemingly lesser number of Willow Warblers singing. Whitethroats were heard, but never seen. I listened for Grasshopper Warbler in the area I had found one last year but heard nothing. Blackbird and Wren song was loud and clear. I really enjoy the song from Blackbirds on quiet evenings like this. A couple of groups of youngsters played football on the playing fields, probably not noticing the bird song at all.
Once down to the small lake, seemingly followed by Swifts all the way, I soon got my eye on the Great Crested Grebes. The female bird was with two youngsters. I watched for some time and had to assume that the third youngster had been lost. The male bird flew across the water with a feed and the two young mounted the females back. It was some time before the third youngster appeared, from where I know not. It certainly looked small in comparison to its two siblings, and when they got back into the water that size difference was very apparent. The smallest of the three seemed to keep its distance from the rest of the family during the time I watched. I remembered that male and female adult each tend to show favour to a separate youngster. I wondered if this third youngster was the odd one out and therefore missing out. This didn’t appear to happen to the young birds last year with all seeming to grow at the same rate. It’ll be interesting to note what happens to this smaller bird in the longer term.
I crossed to the larger lake but didn’t walk far from the road. By now there were numbers of Swifts. Some Swifts flying high over the lake, whilst others sheered the surface of the water. I only found three Swallows and there were no martins. I found one of the Greylag Geese, the other probably just hidden from my view, and a Grey Heron stood on the corner of the now sad looking floating reedbed. I saw no sign of the other pair of Great Crested Grebes. Sad though the reedbed is, the Coots seem still to have successfully delivered numerous chicks. They are still sitting on nests on the smaller lake. A parent had brought her little boy down to the lake to feed the birds and Moorhens moved close by
I made off home with Swifts still flying overhead. The bright clear light was as it is when there has been showers or when there is about to be a shower. I heard Goldfinch calling.