Sunday, 14 April 2013

Delightful Sunday in April

The morning started off with quite a bit of cloud around and the odd drop of rain, however we decided to explore the paths around Victory Wood in Dargate. This is a new plantation which has been created with the hope of linking two existing woods together (Blean and Ellenden). We were serenaded by skylarks for the entire duration of our walk, which was absolutely delightful! I don't think I have ever seen and heard so many before!

We didn't go for this walk specifically to see any particular bird, but I always think this is best because then we never go home disappointed! In fact we went home exceptionally happy today!

In the first few minutes of our walk we watched a flock of small finch like birds, unfortunately it was windy and a bit rainy so neither myself nor my mum got a decent look at them. I did get 2 photos of a bird in this flock but they are heavily cropped so aren't very sharp! I think they were linnets but not sure. If anyone reading this has any better idea, please do comment!! :)


Bracken was getting absolutely filthy and the rain was still spitting at us, which wasn't very kind of it! We took cover in the woods where it looked very autumnal! Bracken raced around with sticks and I found some moss to take a photo of!

We left the woods and walked across the top of the ridge where we were greeted by many more skylarks! I tried to get a decent photo, but they are particularly difficult to capture, in my opinion! Below are a couple of my attempts!

These don't even look like birds! But I am pretty sure they are skylarks!!


The trees in the plantation are still pretty twig-like. It will be lovely to see them grow into a beautiful woodland! There was also lots of pussy willow to be seen, and many of the furry catkins were coming into flower.

I only realised this was some sort of fly when I was cropping this photo! Not sure how I didn't notice it before!

This walk also brought us our first 2 swallows of the year! I always used to say that swallows were my favourite bird, but now I find it very difficult to choose a favourite. I now take the view that each and every bird has beautiful qualities. However I will never ever get bored of watching these fantastic creatures!

Beautiful swallows

After about 1 and a half hours we had done a nice circular route and had reached the link sculpture where eventually the 2 original woods will meet. We had earned spectacular views from the top!

Myself and Bracken

On our way back down I thought I heard a chiffchaff amongst the overwhelming skylark song. We made our way towards the brambles and shrubs and managed to locate the little brown bird! This walk was turning into one filled with spring migrants!


Our next birdy spot was a kestrel which landed on a fence post and had a nice preen! It was fairly distant so the photos weren't great. I'll include them anyway :)

We then noticed what at first I thought was a blackbird. It was calling slightly differently. I joked with my mum, "Imagine if it was a ring ouzel!" It flew from the distant tree onto a fence post a bit nearer to us. Immediately we noticed a white bib!! I edged a bit nearer to try and get a photo that I could look back at when we got home, just to make sure! A RING OUZEL!! We love seeing new birds which we don't expect to see! That feeling will NEVER grow old! :)

Ring ouzel on the middle post

Ring ouzel (heavily cropped) showing distinctive white bib

This cropped photo shows the white streak down its wing and part of its white bib

This was most definitely the highlight of my day! It was a shame I couldn't get closer before it flew away and that the sun wasn't shining. Sod's law that as soon as we got in the car, the sun came out and the clouds cleared! We watched another 2 swallows dancing in the sunshine before we headed off!

We got home and had some lunch. Pup was knackered and lay in the sun on the patio. My camellia (which two of my friends bought me for my birthday last year) is flowering and so I took the opportunity, while it was sunny, to photograph it.

A blue tit was chirping in a nearby tree as was this rather demonic looking goldfinch!!

How blue is that sky?!

I then said to my mum: "Wouldn't it be lovely if a house martin flew over right now" and about 5 minutes later when we were taking the washing in, what did we spot? Only a blooming house martin! Could this day get any more perfect!! :)

So to wrap things up, today has been a wonderful one! Not only the hottest day of the year so far, but also brought spring migrants and a "lifer".

I hope everyone who reads this also had a lovely day!!


  1. Amazing birds! Impressed with the bee-fly too :)

    1. Thanks Tom :) I hadn't a clue what it was so I appreciate you enlightening me!

  2. Hi Lou :-) What a lovely day you had! Many congrats on the Ring Ouzel, that was a fantastic sighting!! I have to admit that despite my best efforts I've never seen one. Great that you saw Swallows and House Martin too. I wasn't able to get out with the camera yesterday so haven't seen them here yet this year but I've heard they have been seen locally.

    I agree, there is something very special about Skylarks, a lovely sight and sound. Yes, I definitely agree with your Linnet identification and with your commenter who said your insect is a Bee-Fly.

    A delightful day indeed and a very interesting post too. It was also lovely to see you and Bracken :-)

    1. Thank you :) I do feel kind of bad that we just happened to come across this ring ouzel when people go looking for them! Definitely a 'right place at the right time' situation!

      Thanks also for confirming my suspicions! Sometimes identification is tricky in windy wet conditions (for me anyway!).

      I'm glad I now know what a Bee-Fly looks like :)

  3. Well done Lou, some great spots indeed! A day to remember...


    1. Thank you Peter. I shall certainly remember this day for a long time! I hope you had a good weekend too! :)

  4. You really did have a great day, some lovely stuff there, well done with the Ring Ouzel and to get the pics, your post definitely has a lovely spring time feel :-)

    1. Thanks Alan. It seems the lovely weather was only temporary unfortunately!