Monday, 8 April 2013

Sights & Sounds of Spring

Finally, at the weekend, there seemed a break in the weather.  The long grip winter has had on the country, seems to at last been released as we experienced some long overdue sunshine.  Temperature lows were still down to freezing early morning but it warmed up to a dizzy 9 degrees.  Walking around the woods it didn’t seem like Spring.  Although I removed one layer of clothing, it was still cold enough to feel the need to wear gloves, at least early on, but it was the surroundings that contradicted the time of season.  The trees were still bare and little signs of growth you would normally expect to be showing by now but the woods were alive with the sounds of birds.  They at least felt Spring had really arrived.

An early encounter with five Roe Deer was my first major sighting of any wildlife.  They were clearly alerted to my presence, stopping and staring in my direction for what seemed an age before continuing.  The female seemed particularly cautious, sniffing the air, but with little wind all I had to do was freeze where I stood until they continued to move on.  The male buck was less bothered by my presence and, as he put his head down to feed, I was able to move closer to get a better shot.  Eventually they drifted off and I didn’t want to follow and risk alarming them, so moved off in the opposite direction.


TBP_0117I’ve been visiting these woods now for quite a few years now, in all the different seasons and I new that despite the late arrival of spring, it would be only a few months before the bare, woodland floor would be completely transformed.  Hard to believe that standing in the same spots in the images above and below, they will soon look like the image left which was taken during May.

The ferns will be almost head high and with the foliage on the trees as well, will mean finding wildlife, at least in these parts of the woods, will be very difficult – unless you count the thousands of mosquitoes!  If you walk very quietly in the summer, you have a good chance of literally stumbling across a Roe Deer within metres.

This then is a good time to watch wildlife here in these wood as activity increases, sunrise isn’t too early in the morning and the light for photography isn’t too harsh yet.  All is needed is some decent breaks in the weather.


As I walked around that day, it felt very noticeable the varying sounds mostly made by the birds, so it was nice to stop every now and then and just soak in the atmosphere especially by mid morning where the temperature and mostly sunshine, made it feel very pleasant.  All in all I went from dense woodland to open ground and water, each having their own unique sounds.

Below are some recordings of the sounds – all birds and although there are other bird sounds in the background the predominant ones are those titled.  I’m not completely sure about the Buzzard as this is not their typical call but I’m pretty sure this is correct.


Blackbird & Woodpecker


Common Buzzard


Robin & Wren


By the end of the walk I had seen plenty of life, mostly as expected bird although at first glance it wasn’t obvious, sitting still for a while, it was soon noticeable.  Other physical signs included Roe and Fox prints and a couple of Sparrowhawk kills (or what was left).


Jay tempted by some peanuts


Male Mallard calling


Grey Squirrel


Remains of a Sparrowhawk kill


One of the few physical signs that spring has arrived


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