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April 22nd- first garden warbler of 2020

A two mile loop from the house gives a good variety of birds. We are really getting to know local bird territories. We can plot yellowhammer territories now and are making up names for small areas of habitat. “Warbler corner” is a dense patch of bramble by the Holbeck, surrounded by a mixture of hedgerow and trees. Crab apple, hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, ash, alder and holly surround the brambles which grow right down to the beck. This sheltered area is bathed in sunlight for most of the day. We stood in one place and watched blackcap, garden warbler, lesser whitethroat and chiffchaff. All were singing.

It was great to have good views of a garden warbler. The species is often thought to be one of the plainest of British birds, but I have always admired their subtle beauty. As an artist it is interesting to study a bird free from bold markings and colour which actually makes them a real challenge to draw and paint- you could not get away with overworking a garden warbler painting. We watched this bird, fresh in from its migration from Africa and listened to its rich song.

Skylarks and lapwings performed beautifully for us. The male lapwings displayed as a skylark sang high overhead. Yellowhammers are numerous and their lovely song was a soundtrack from hedgerows throughout our walk.

Orange tip, peacock and small tortoiseshell were the butterfly species seen today. The flower buds on hawthorns are swelling, so we can look forward to a mass of May blossom in a week or two. Back in the village, a pair of house martins mingled with at least two swallows indicating a fresh arrival of Hirundines.

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