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WELL I NEVER NOTICED THAT!

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It's quite early in the morning and I'm going for my lockdown permitted walk although why we have to use the word permitted is a mystery. The sun is shining and there is little wind as I leave the house. Today I have decided to take a slightly different and longer route. Also today I have decided to look at other things like trees, the woods I walk in and the bluebells I look at every day, thinking "WOW" they are so gorgeous then walk past them. For today is a new dawn! Well, not really just in a better mood, my permitted mood of the day is 😊 until it changes that is.
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I have seen the Peregrin this morning and that's made me happier because I was afraid it had abandoned the nest, but I am assured that the nest is in tact and being tended to proficiently. This information comes from a chap called Graham Todd, now I have lived in this village for 24 years and in that time or for as long as I can remember I have read Hillam News. A wonderful part of Hillam News is the birding column, written by Graham every month and it's good, very good and for all these years it has played a part in my obsession with birds.

I had never met Graham and had no idea where he lived other than in Hillam. As I said I was walking in my happy mood and when I, along with my wife entered the woods, we noticed a man with binoculars walking towards us. We exchanged pleasantries at the permitted distance and I asked if he was local and the rest is history because I had now met Graham Todd, the man the mystery and the birding guru that had shaped much of my birding for so many years.

I am very happy to say we now exchange text and email sightings almost every day at the permitted distance of course and that distance is about three gardens or so, he lives just around the bloody corner.
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Now enough about Graham, and onto butterflies trees and landscapes. At this time of year everything looks pristine, brand-new and noteworthy. The trees are in full blossom butterflies look beautiful like they were born yesterday, they probably were. And without all the pollution in lockdown Britain the air is clear and full of oxygen it makes you glad to be alive.

The peacock butterfly at the top of this page and the wonderful Hairy Backed common butterfly above we're on the same path basking in the Sun. What? Never heard of the hairy backed common? It's actually a new species found locally and only identified by me. That could be a load of Tosh it could in fact be masking my inability to identify this beautiful butterfly. I have scoured the books including the Collins guide to butterflies and cannot match this one exactly. I am sure it will be common and widespread, it looks like, well a bit like Vanessa Atlanta but I suspect not. Maybe even a Fratillary of some kind from the genus Nimphalidae, or just a Painted Lady. If you know, email me, if you don't know, please spend hours and hours researching it and email me to let me know as I would genuinely love to know.
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Above is a Cherry blossom tree (Prunus) apparently frequented by a Little Owl a gentleman told me, but I pass this tree most days and have not seen it for myself. Just over a small track from this tree is a very healthy and very noisy flock of Skylark. They are almost impossible to photograph, they are either too fast or too far away so I was lucky to accidentally get the shot below, not great but adequate for identification.
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Let's talk yellowhammers, yellowhammers are definitely near the top of my favourite birds list. They are definitely near the top of my bird sounds list. They scream from the treetops "a little bit of bread and no cheese pleeeeease" listen to the recording and say it to yourself and you will never forget the sound of this mighty start to spring.
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Tree Pipits and Meadow Pipits! I can't believe I'm going here. First of all the only way to tell the difference without really good views is sound. Their calls and Song is quite different.

Meadow pipits below (immediately) are usually lighter and can appear biscuit coloured like this one. But sound is the tool of choice unless you are very confident and have seen many of both in different seasons and different landscapes, they vary enormously.

These photo's were taken just the other day along with the Tree Pipits within the same tree group on the edge of farmland east of Burton Salmon.
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The Tree Pipit below as you can see is markedly different this one is much darker and more heavily marked with a darker head more pronounced striping and a whiter eye ring. I was fortunate enough to spend up to half an hour listening to this one singing, there were at least five Meadow pipit and four Tree Pipit in the same group of trees.

Right: Another Tree Pipit with its very distinctive song.
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TREE PIPIT

MEADOW PIPIT

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Above: Just because I love them, there are literally hundreds around where I live, they are fearless and quite cheeky, the Goldfinch.

Below: I have never seen any of these where I live and had it not been for these strange times, maybe I wouldn't have, Grey Partridge.
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