Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Taste of Spring

As the autumn winds start to swirl outside and the chlorophyll drains from the leaves turning the trees to their rusty and golden hues, my thoughts go back to the Spring. I love Springtime, a time of renewal and hope for the warmer months to come after the long dark days of winter. However, this year the UK climate had other ideas and cool days and torrential rain predominated and nature's calander was perturbed. The usual arrival of migrant birds seemed to be delayed by about a fortnight and then all the summer visitors suddenly seemed to arrive at once. So this post is about some of those Spring birds, the photographs of which have sat on my hard drive gathering dust.

One of the first arrivals each year are the Northern Wheatear, usually touching down around the end of March. They are welcome addition of warm colour against the be-draggled vegetation ravaged by the winter weather. An energetic bounding bird species that pause briefly along the local coast as they head northward during their journey from Africa to northern breeding areas.  The females are attractive but for the photographer the male birds in their smart and bolder spring colours are the real prize
Amongst the Wheatear, the Skylarks battle it out for breeding territories. Many fast acrobatic chases between males occur low over the rough grassland before one of the birds will soar upwards in liquid song until it becomes a mere speck in the sky.  There it will hang in fluttering flight, often for many minutes, before rapidly descending back towards earth.
For those of you who have never had the fortune to be very close to one.
They will also occasionally sing from low perches on the ground. This bird would often use a particular boulder.
However, it would take exception to any other bird landing on its rock. This was the response received by a House Sparrow that landed just out of frame.

During mid to late April the scrub, reedbeds and low lying bushes come to the life with the churring, click, grating sounds of warblers. First the Grasshopper Warblers but closely followed by the Sedge and Reed varieties and the Whitethroats. Not wishing to become too anthropomorphic but Common Whitethroat always seem to be a slightly 'angry' and 'impaitent' bird. They are always fun to photograph and relatively easy with the right approach.

At the beginning of May Yellow Wagtails arrive brought, on the warming winds from the south. A brilliant splash of yellow and green amongst the rapidly growing vegetation. The first encounter with one of these birds each year always brings a smile.
You normally hear the birds before you see one as their characteristic high pitch 'jeet' calls emaniate from a field of low crops and penerate the dawn chorus. They absolutely glow golden when hit by the early low sun.
This bird caught by a sudden gust of wind from behind was having a 'bad feather day'.
Much as I like the Spring, I always look forward to the winter. The daylight may be limited but when the sun does put in appearance the low light can be just stunning. Lets hope we are not in for a gloomy wet winter.


earthenmagic said...

...absolutely brilliant! ~ awesome share! ~ thankyoU sO much dear kindred!... ...xXx...

Judy Royal Glenn said...

Love the "bad feather day" photo. Too cute!

Robin said...

Rich, what a wonderful series of shots! Well done!

ZielonaMila said...

Wonderful photographs, fantastic birds. I am greeting

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for the replies,. Your support is always appreciated.




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