Having arrived home in late March the usual period of "catch up" occurred, either with administrative or domestic tasks. On this occasion it was further complicated by my losing my water supply! In the end it proved to have been caused simply by the pump sticking as opposed to anything more complicated.
Time has been spent sorting out what will be a trip out to America in May followed immediately by a period down in Norfolk. But prior to all this an upcoming trip to the Cairngorms and other parts of the Highlands in mid April has been demanding my attention. A more leisurely exercise planning a short trip out to Turkey in late June completed the immediate demands of travel arrangements with those in the second half of the year as yet being mulled over.
Various work projects have been "sown up" and the reports are now in the process of being finalised. Within this time it was great to have one of my daughters, Katherine, stay for a period and have the opportunity for a good chat on a whole variety of subjects. All this has meant a minimum of time being available for informal birding but with odd sessions stolen here and there.
As I write this the weather continues to hold , although the temperatures are not yet lifting. I've had a couple of opportunities to get out on the grass moors local to the house. Curlew and Lapwing are now back and in display and there calls are a feature both in the mornings and throughout the better days. Northern Wheatears, both as migrants or now as residents, are in evidence with hopefully more of the latter to arrive. A single Willow Warbler passing through the garden today was indicative of passage being underway. Meadow Pipits appear to be in much better numbers than in the past two seasons, although Skylarks are in similar numbers to previously. Chaffinches and Goldfinches appear from time to time and Stonechats have suddenly appeared on the moorland fringes after presumably being on lower ground throughout the winter. Ravens have gone quiet already, but Chough and Hooded Crow are still obvious in their habits. Discovering a pair of Barn Owls "in residence" was a nice surprise, but a battle royal between them and a pair of Chough has seemingly resulted in both sets of birds disappearing elsewhere! Such is life.