When you are not expecting it.

As the weather looked good we (the family and dog) decided to go out for a walk along the Tan Hill Way. Starting from just outside Alton Barnes we walked up towards Milk Hill. After watching a Hot Air Balloon land nearby we carried on up to the ridge to enjoy the amazing views. Skylarks and Yellowhammers were singing and a flock of around forty Golden Plover few over. With lovely sunshine and excellent visibility the panoramic views were stunning. Norfolk may beat us for birds but it cannot match the scenery! Near to Milk Hill is an area which is used by Paragliders and we stopped to watch. There was obviously not enough wind so not a lot was going on. I walked over to a nearby area of scrub and small trees, several Meadow Pipits, Yellowhammers and Chaffinch were seen. Suddenly a bird flew out I caught a view of a red tail as it alighted on a fence. My view was impaired by branches but I moved round and as it flew I identified it as a Black Redstart. Unfortunately I could not relocate it. A great pity as I would have liked a longer look at what was a Wiltshire first for me. After this we stopped for a picnic. Sitting out in the sun, close to the highest point in Wiltshire it was hard to believe that it is still February. We walked past the White Horse, over Walkers Hill and back to the car. Next stop was the Barge Inn at Honeystreet for a drink and a plate of chips.   Next surprise was seeing this Small Tortoiseshell butterfly flying around in the pub garden. An earlier than usual sighting. After a quick look at the Narrowboats on the Kennet & Avon we headed home. My wife decided that she was going to watch the League Cup final, I decided to spend an hour at Coate Water. Nothing unusual seen but a good view of a Kingfisher flying across the lake. A great finish to a good weekend.


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