Mood changer

Woke up this morning to grey skies as per the forecast. I needed to go to Marlborough so had decided on a walk on Fyfield Down. I arrived there at around half nine. It was still pretty dull and seemed like it might rain. I took my usual route into Clatford Bottom and then headed north to Fyfield Down. There were hardly any birds around to start and I was beginning to wish I had stayed in bed. In a small group of trees I found Goldcrest and Siskin which lifted the mood a little. I then reached the first area of Sarsen Stones. This part of the walk is usually good for Pipits and Wheatear but was totally devoid of birds. I heard a Green Woodpecker yaffling in the distance but that was it. Not even a Crow or Wood Pigeon. I decided to stop for a coffee at one of the largest stones.  Normally a good place to sit and scan. This is what I did and almost immediately found a male Ring Ouzel feeding on the grass path a couple of hundred yards away. The first for the year and also a first fo me at this site.The white crescent on its breast stood out well. I watched it for a few minutes before moving on. I was taking a circuitous route to avoid disturbing it when along came a group of mountain bikers. The bird flew to about fifty yards from me and settled to feed amongst the rocks giving some more great views. No camera of course!. obviously my mood had now totally changed. Amazing what one bird can do. Strangely the birding improved with a Curlew heard and flocks of Fieldfare, Redwing, Meadow Pipit and Starling seen. Also a couple of Buzzard and a single Red Kite. Walking through Totterdown Wood added Nuthatch and heard only. a Chiffchaff and the years first Willow Warbler. The walk ended with a creditable thirty-four species. Later on in the day Nigel found a female Ring Ouzel in the same area. That was it for my birding today with painting and gardening filling the afternoon.

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