11th March 2018

Woke this morning to hear a weak dawn chorus, the most I have heard so far this year. It started with a blackbird at 6.15am and then went onto the song thrushes and eventually the sparrows in the hedge woke up cheeping to each other.

The birds are loving the higher position of the bird table. There is so much activity going on right now, birds everywhere, not seeming to be phased by anything at all. I heard the call of a chaffinch (the first one this year) and then saw him quietly sitting on a branch next to the table, sussing out what was going on as the more boisterous birds (great and blue tits) were swooping in here there and everywhere.

I went out to the sit~spot this morning at about 7.30am, which was the one I sat in when I waited for the fox to return to his deer leg the other day, and I heard much more bird activity this morning. there were many chaffinches singing a half-hearted song, thrushes and the myriad calls of other birds. It all sounded very exotic. I saw a jay on the top of a pine looking up at the sky and knew that there was a buzzard somewhere around as I had heard its call. I sat for about 30 minutes, but it was extremely cold and there was a steady west wind blowing that felt like it was bringing more snow. Two very vocal great tits came a scolded me, they were so close, perhaps only a metre above my head and it was nice to be acknowledged. I heard constant drumming going on a way away, and was not sure if it was a bird tapping the trunk of a tree or some human activity going on further away.

As I walked back, I saw some activity going on over the cliffs at the back of the house, I saw a golden eagle swooping high up towards the mountains, its broad-ended wings making a distinctive silhouette against the sky. Walking over the bridge, not even 100 metres from the house, I scanned the rocks along the riverbank as I knew that the dipper would be out and about and sure enough, I spotted him. He was washing himself in the shallows and carried on for a while, not having seen me standing on the bridge downstream of him.

I have been doing some research on pine martens as I want to try and attract them into the garden or at least see them in the forest. So today will be the day for going out and trying to find some signs of them; scat, footprints etc. I know that they are present in this valley as I saw one running across the road a few years back and my friend had a family lodging in an abandoned next door house.