March has been and gone. A few winter visitors in the Park and elsewhere soon disappeared, although a healthy flock of Yellowhammers remained near the chaff dump just above the Scrape. April has brought Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, and now Blackcaps. So all in all pretty dull, and now I'm gainfully employed again likely to remain that way.
But not so fast! D#2, who is now 14, has taken to going for walks along the river as dusk approaches. Like the rest of my family, he steadfastly regards any interest in nature as some kind of personality disorder, to be tolerated but not encouraged, but is happy for me to accompany him on his walks. He pronounces on religion, politics, and the modern world with the kind of wisdom and certainty that only a fourteen year old can have, whilst I keep an eye and an ear out for birds.
And slowly but surely we are seeing wildlife. From a dead pike floating down the river to a couple of Muntjac, a pair of foxes playing in a field, and a Barn Owl seen close to a couple of times. Yesterday in near darkness we had a couple of bats swooping up from the river, and I assume from size and the nearness to water that they were Dubenton's bats.
And D#2 is leading the way in spotting these sightings. His young eyes see things before I do, and from the tone of his voice he's quite excited to see them before he remembers himself and feigns indifference.
So quite unexpectedly, its been quite good recently.