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Three Yellow-hammers

Posted by Deborah Courtnell

   
 I heard a cuckoo for the first time this year while out running along Marsh Court Lane.
Gorse in flower up at Stockbridge Down
     Then, as I rounded the corner beyond Hooper's Farm, heading up Cowdrove Hill, I saw a Yellowhammer, joined almost immediately by two  others, one a young bird with a markedly more speckled head.

     It was in exactly the same spot where, last Summer,  I saw the first and only live badgers I've ever seen.

     The birds were in the middle of the narrow lane, pecking avidly at the ground, flying up into the hedgerow and then back down onto the black tarmac to feed. They made streaks of molten gold against the grey sky.

     At first I thought they were goldfinches. It was only when I stopped and watched them for a while that  I saw how canary-yellow their heads were – not a trace of red; just an impression of burnished russet as they took wing.

     Having never come across them before I looked them up in the bird book as soon as I got home. No doubt about it – a family of Yellowhammers.

     According to The Birdlife of Britain by Peter Hayman and Philip Burton (Mitchell Beazley Publishers Ltd. In association with the RSPB) – 'In flight the yellow head is very conspicuous. Also it may be the only clearly visible feature of the bird as it lands.'

17.05.2013

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Walking over the rise at Stockbridge Down


Stockbridge Down




Surrey Hills
 But I Am Not A Mote
I Love the M3
I Love the M3, I Really Do
Poppies, Cowdrove Hill
Time Please! 
Rise and Shine!
Rise & Shine!

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