I remain by circumstance virtually exiled from my Warwickshire patch, but Tyttenhanger near St Albans continues to impress as a substitute.
After a grey and gloomy start this morning, the weather started to brighten. And, as it did so, the birding began to improve too. On the main pit I found a couple of the Redshanks which have hopefully returned to breed, and then I heard word of something a bit unusual down at Willow Farm - Whooper Swan. It was probably feral, having flown from Wardown Park near Luton, but well worth a walk anyway. And I'm glad I did, since in the field next to it was also the year's first Wheatear and a Stonechat.
As I walked back towards the main pit, I found a Nuthatch nest, and enjoyed myself thoroughly for a quarter hour of so watching these two beautiful birds coming and going. All around me were Long-tailed Tits with nesting material, and a very busy Great Spotted Woodpecker hammered nearby.
Up at the 'top' fields I again found the Tree Sparrows, plus plenty of Red-legged Partridges and probably Grey Partridge too. The latter was infuriating since I have never seen Grey Partridge - and on this occasion I only saw them flying away from me, so couldn't be sure. A species for another day I'm sure.
As I walked through the final couple of fields I got closer views of a second Wheatear, and was again serenaded home by the singing of Skylarks. Bootiful.