The last two days have been disrupted by daughters being ill, so not too much to report. However, have still managed the local walks. A Tawny Owl calling out in the early ( day lit ) morning was a surprise, as were, finally, the appearance of Treecreeper and Long-tailed Tit locally, two of the latter visiting the feeders in late afternoon. A marauding female Sparrowhawk flashed through the garden and perched up for a while in the adjacent woodland. The cacophony of alarm calls from various species actually belied the quite large number of titmice, finches etc that are around in the immediate area.
I'm really intrigued by the situation surrounding Yellowhammers in the local area. They're quite common and appear to have survived the winter well. The habitat they're using is no different to that in many other places where they are now absent, although it obviously must be in some fundamental respect. The "core" habitats appear unchanged, as do the cropping practices, which stability may have much to do with their retention and success. A great pity to have lost elsewhere what is a really attractive species which, with several in song, add a welcome dimension to the local farm landscape. Not living cheek by jowl with them I'd never realised they commenced their breeding season this early, particularly this far north , given individuals can sometimes still be found in song in August.