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May 27th- reed bunting, sand martins and swift diary

A mid morning walk along the Holbeck. The garden warblers are secretive now and quietly nesting. We heard occasional bursts of the male’s rich warbling song. Within fifty metres we also heard blackcap, whitethroat and chiffchaff singing. The lesser whitethroats are now quiet and rarely heard. This interesting list of warblers visible from one spot has led my son to name this area “warbler corner”. We have grown very attached to this tiny piece of North Yorkshire and it always delivers something of great interest.

We had lovely views of a male reed bunting singing its pleasant song from the top of a hawthorn. We have heard it frequently but have found it hard to see until today. We saw a pair of males squabbling over a territory boundary and studied the singing male at length. They are very smart looking buntings in full breeding plumage.

Sand martins flew up and down the beck, now collecting food for their young in the bank further down stream. Orange tip, green- veined white and large white were the most abundant butterfly species today. As we walked by the cow parsley that lined the field edge orange tips seemed to pass us every few minutes. I made a watercolour of the Holbeck (below) which hopefully shows how verdant the landscape is at the end of May. The may blossom is just starting to fade, some of it taking on a pinkish hue as it does so. It is sad to watch this beautiful blossom fade, but I can look forward to the dark red berries that will feed redwings and fieldfares when they arrive from Scandinavia in the autumn.

Swift Diary

Our swift pair laid a second egg this morning. They seemed reluctant to start incubation, so I suspect they may go on to lay a third egg. They were joined in the air today by another swift. The three birds performed some spectacular fast and low passes over the garden this morning. I hope that this bird will continue to latch on to our breeding pair and choose another nest box on our house. A younger bird like this one is probably learning from our pair. Following them will enable it to find the best feeding areas in all sorts of weather conditions. This is one of the advantages of colonial nesting.

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