Sunday, 19 June 2011

This season is all about the little black caps.....

A sad weekend for me now that Springwatch has ended on television and I can no longer indulge in my Chris Packham adulation on a nightly-basis... however on the advice of the man himself I decided to get out there and experience it first-hand.

It has been a while since I last volunteered at Langdon - about 2 months.  Shockingly remiss of me, however I needed time to prepare for my exams etc and then a month to unwind!  Anyway, I went out this morning to assist with the work party and spent the first hour brush cutting the edges of a Public Right of Way.  Whilst fixing a wobbly blade on the brushcutter Mick received a phone call to advise that one of the cows had escaped from the meadow.  These clever cows manage to squeeze themselves through the kissing gates to make their escape.  They are only young cows but still - it's a tight fit.   We all went down and managed to herd it back through the main gate fairly uneventfully. 

 Whilst we were down there I had my first birding experience of a Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) flying around the lake.  At college a tern was described to me by a tutor as "a gull which has died and gone to heaven".  As soon as I saw the tern I understood exactly what he meant.  From a distance it looked very much like a black-headed gull but upon closer inspection it was slender, elegant and simply beautiful to watch.  Potentially, a new favourite!

Common Tern (c) Wikipedia

To top it all however I had another birding first - a blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla).  This was a male singing his heart out at the edge of the bridleway we were clearing.  Fairly common on the reserve yet I had never seen one.  A truly beautiful song, and attractive little bird too.  An excellent day for my bird spots!

Blackcap (c) RSPB

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