Like a lot of us emerging from hibernation, I’ve taken to walking a lot more lately. Granted, in my case this is in part due to some exasperating traffic restrictions on my (usually driven) route to work – but whatever the cause, it’s been a good week to be on foot.
Apart from the reduction in noxious emissions (a good thing for birds, and other living things) getting out of the car frees your eyes and in particular your ears to the season’s voice. Previously unbeknownst to me, there are Dunnocks in the hedgerows on the way to work – lots of them, throwing out their short, sweet warbling phrases. And the Nuthatches that I saw a lot of last spring (while in parental, village-orientated mode) are back in the same spot to breed this season, in the ‘nature reserve’ woodland, between the entrance to Firle Park and the school.
Then there are the birds passing overhead – yesterday four Cormorants, the most I’ve yet seen together in the area, heading towards the Ouse. The House Martins are back at their favoured spot just down Mill Lane, where they hawk near the lip of the old chalk pit. The two adult Great Black-Backed Gulls, hauling their Heron-heavy frames over the park fields in the hope of spoils from the lambing season.
Most or all of these would have gone unnoticed in the car. Two feet good, four tyres bad.