This afternoon, all such frustrations melted away. A short walk and a long sit down on the SE slope of Pitstone Hill. Overhead, puffs of white cloud were passing through an otherwise blue sky and the sunshine would peak in and out as appropriate. I came upon a pair of Stonechats (Saxicola rubicola), both birds regularly calling, creating that unmistakable sound of two stones being bashed together. I think the male even sang a little, which I’d never heard before.
The hillside was the epitome of Spring bird song. Numerous Yellowhammers, a couple of Corn Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, all singing, performing or searching out food and a foothold. I lay down in the sunshine and just soaked up the sounds. A Skylark flew into the air-space over me, singing hard, only to parachute steadily away, taking his trills with him. The Yellowhammers buzzed and sparkled in the sunshine. They have to be one of my favourite birds - so bright and smart and colourful. I wish I was able to do them justice in photographs (today's shots are extremely heavy crops…best viewed small).
|Yellowhammer (male) (through wire fence!)|
Further around the hill, there were 3 Starlings lying on the grass, motionless, doing as I had done earlier, soaking up the sun. Initially, two were hidden and, at first glance, the lone bird looked like a Ring Ouzel…until I realised it wasn't. A small flock of Linnets flew through, chattering to one another and, over Ivinghoe Beacon, I could see 2 Red Kites circling slowly. Ultimately, I wasn’t the only one taking it easy on a Friday afternoon.