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A cold grey start soon blossomed in to another beautiful, blue-skied sunny Spring day. I walked up the Olway brook and on to Factory Lane, carrying on in to Evan’s wood and the hills beyond. There were several pairs of mallards on the brook. They’ve split up from their larger winter groups now, and paired off, looking for nesting sites. The banks of the lane are bursting into life with celandines and primroses poking through the new greenery, the hedges full of bird-song. A beautiful pair of bull-finches flew out, the male in full bright spring plumage.
Up on the hill the ravens were out in force, their barking croaks echoing across the valley, and six buzzards were gliding around together mewing loudly. I wandered to the top of the hill to see if there was any movement in the heronry in the wood, and sure enough a heron eyed me suspiciously from a big messy pile of sticks high up in the branches, so I left before it took fright and flew off. I followed the woodland stream back to the lane accompanied by the ‘yaffling’ of a green woodpecker. On a bank of crocuses I saw the first bumble-bee of the year, busy collecting pollen with an assortment of other little wasps and hover flies.