I was alerted to a distant trumpeting sound to the south and it wasn't long before 3 Swans were in sight. The call of Bewick is a lot less trumpeting than the Whooper but I could tell almost immediately as I always feel the Bewick looks more goose-like in flight. I needn't have worried about I.D. though as the birds flew directly overhead heading north-east.
Encouraged by the sighting and with the sun now shining It wasn't long before I'd finished the chores prematurely and was out and about, first stop Napton Reservoir, and for a change with my camera in hand.
My second surprise of the day was shortly after arriving at the reservoir when a very pristine looking Stonechat greeted me, sitting for a good 10-minutes on the wire before moving off towards the canal. The pool itself had the usual wildfowl, Shoveler, Pochard and Tufted, plus 8-Great Crested Grebe and around 100 Common Gull. I took a walk to the top end of the reed bed, where it seems that British Waterways have been working once more, stripping a good section of reed out and dumping it very untidily at the nearest available point! The reeds were in fact totally devoid of any birds during my visit.
The walk back in lovely sunshine produced 3-Common Buzzard enjoying a thermal, and being pestered by 2 very persistent Raven. Once the Raven departed I was then treated to some incredible aerobatics as the birds entered display flight, one diving beyond view.
I ended my afternoon at a very quiet Napton Hill enjoying a long converstion with Bob and Pat who run Church Leyes Farm. Bob tells me that his highland cattle have had 3 calfs so congratulations were in order.
Back to the car taking the church yard path, more signs of spring with Snowdrops and my first Lesser Celandine 'Spring Messenger' of the year in full flower.