After a bit of work this morning, I headed out to make the most of the nice weather and went to one of the local birdwatching spots. Sandwich Flashes are a series of lakes and wetlands between Crewe and Sandwich, formed by subsidence caused by the solution of underlying salt deposits. I occasionally pay a visit if I have a spare hour or two on an unplanned Saturday or Sunday and can usually get a good bird list of 40 or more species, depending on the time of year. It’s usually a focus of more seasoned birdwatchers, birders and twitchers but it’s also good for less persistent observers of birds like me.
Despite the unexpectedly fine weather with a warm sun out of the cool breeze, the birdlife was as much of winter than of spring. The waterbirds, such as wigeon and teal, that have stayed over the colder months have yet all to leave and the winter thrushes (redwings and fieldfares, are still about in goof numbers (and I’ve seen good flocks elsewhere too).
However, the calls of the breeding residents are growing stronger and pairing behaviour is becoming more obvious – the roving tit flocks have now broken up and the long-tailed tits are moving around in twos; no longer in the merry bands that pass swiftly and noisily by. The hedgerows are also showing signs of new life with the hawthorns breaking out into leaf.
The most spring-like of all signs I noticed today were the very tentative and quiet first calls of a chiffchaff; not the full call of the height of spring but a sure sign that the new season is here.