Golden plover on ploughed field – March 2020

I miscounted this morning and thought this was our 8th spring in Dorset when it is in fact our 9th, but the difference is slight, and the sentiment all the more significant as a result.

I heard a cuckoo – the first I have heard here. It was far-off, and came through the thick of the dawn chorus, but clear enough to see me leap out of bed, pull on a t-shirt and scamper outside for a sharper sound.

It came again, but more distant – perhaps a mile or more down the valley. But what a lovely thing to wake up to. So simple – just two notes – but such a rich tone sung from somewhere deep in the woodwind section.

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Melanistic and ‘normal’ patterned male adders – March 2020


The cuckoo should be a familiar part of our spring soundtrack. There are large swathes of arable farming locally, but also plenty of unimproved pasture and river valleys, dotted with pockets of mixed woodland and scrub. But aside from the occasional spring two-tone on the local common or early autumn vagrant, the local passerines only have their own offspring to feed.

It is a shame, and a sad reflection of the species’ decline across lowland Britain. But I can be grateful to have heard one this morning, and even more grateful for the sounds I hear every day.

Stonechat – March 2020

As an aside (and a blatant plug), I have recently recorded a podcast for Fallon’s Angler which can be heard in two parts – Part One and Part Two.

I have also recorded one for CountryFile which should be out next week (I will post a link when it is available).



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