The first surprise, well not really a surprise as I knew the proposed date of this event, but the surprise was in the fact that this time the promised date delivered the goods ......... The long awaited bridge over the river Tame joining the Dosthill and Middleton sides of the RSPB reserve opened for public use. I enjoyed my first walk across on Sunday morning.
The next surprise was news on Tuesday 19th May, of the first successful breeding of Avocets in Staffordshire, right on our doorstep at Middleton RSPB. Great news and I went straight from work on Wednesday to see these history making Avocets and chicks for myself. I was very pleased to get reasonable views of them. I hope they survive and look forward to future photo opportunities and ultimately more breeding Avocets at Middleton.
Surprise number three! A local walk in an area I had almost forgotten about produced some interesting results. Pete had been looking at Ordnance survey maps in an effort to find some local areas we may have overlooked. He had identified some areas of interest and Saturday morning we set off to have a look around. Now it is possible to Customise your own Ordnance survey map, it's never been easier to find interesting areas radiating out from the central starting point of your choice.
The area in question was pretty much as I remembered it until we ventured off the main paths following a route Pete had picked out on the Ordnance map, and started walking through areas new to both of us.
There was an abundance of Herring Gulls and Crows in the area, and then scanning the fields my first local Hare of the year was seen crossing through a crop in front of us. Then, in the same field a large Vixen appeared, her coat was very light, almost blonde in fact. One I will definitely recognise if our paths cross again. Unfortunally, I didn't manage pictures of either.
A bit further along our route and Pete stopped, lifted his binoculars to check what he obviously suspected and then confirmed he had just seen a local Tree Sparrow. They can be a bit thin on the ground around these parts.
We were soon both watching a few Tree Sparrows, and I quickly counted about thirteen. As we moved further along the route it became apparent that there was even more Tree Sparrows than I had first though. We spent a good while watching the antics of these Chestnut headed beauties. I will be keeping a regular eye on this breeding Tree Sparrow colony and monitoring their progress with interest.