It’s always a major date in the diary and a massive milestone of spring, so of course it’s worth marking the arrival of the first wheatear of 2015 on the Chayne yesterday – a game little cock bird bouncing around the knowes. The past few years have always brought hens first, so I wonder if there is any significance in this change-around. Their arrival is always surprisingly precise, and in 6 years of recording the first bird, the date has only varied by two or three days.
I’ve got a couple of wheatear projects I want to work on this year, so there is plenty more to come on these cheery birds. I moved on past the wheatear and headed around the back of the farm where I waited for a fox, but despite four hours lying in the moss, there was only a goshawk in the forest and a merlin flying huge loops out over the open hill. The black clouds came rushing in from Cairnsmore of Dee, bringing sprays of hail and then, having passed, warm, honeyed sunlight as the wind swung into the North and the snipe began to buzz.
And on a more lowland note, I also heard the first chiff-chaff too.