6 April 2011

Growing the lunchtime list

In common with most people I don't automatically qualify for a day off just because the sun's out. I am lucky enough to have some nice spots for a lunchtime stroll though. So with March's good weather continuing into April I have been able to watch spring unfolding in a series of extremely pleasant 40 minute walks.

Red-legged partridge: here's one I took earlier...

Today's walk along the canal from Preston Bagot was another little cracker - clear skies, bright sun, a gentle cooling breeze and birdsong filling the air.

A great-spotted woodpecker and the goldfinches were in their customary haunts near the bridge (along with a particularly belligerent mute swan who's taken up residence there). Four or 5 buzzards circled overhead, the chiffchaff song that has grown familiar over recent weeks was accompanied by two male blackcaps, both singing lustily and prominently, and two of our most powerful vocalists - the song thrush and wren - were giving of their best.

Then, just as I reached my 'turnaround point', I found two red-legged partridge running ahead of me on the two path. I haven't encountered this lovely species during more than a decade of lunchtime walks in this area, so that's another one for the lunchtime life list. When  I get a moment I must write that list down and work out how it stands.

Bird of the day: Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), an introduced species like the pheasant, and with many of the same characteristics - often found in the same kinds of places, with strong attractive markings and often shot at by hunting types!

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