I was up with the lark this morning. I had a plan; go to Ivinghoe Beacon, in the hope of getting the sunrise, and maybe a Wheatear or two.
Five thirty, I made my way from the car, in the almost deserted car park. Almost.
There were two other cars; one had a lady, who was about to walk her dog, and the other, a lady who had come for the 'Easter service' on the hill.
Well, the dog walking lady, told the religious lady, that the service wasn't on. I must admit I was a little pleased to hear that, (lots of people), although maybe a few prayers might have made the birds easier to spot.
Off she went, with dog in tow, and the religious lady, who I found out later is called Sue, asked if she could tag along with me for a while.
"Of course you can." I said; and we set off down the path, that leads up to the distant hill.
We chatted in hushed tones, and I pointed out the various birds we saw, and heard.
Chiffchaff, Pheasant, and as we neared the summit, a pair of Ravens.
It was becoming clear by now, that any hope of a sunrise was going to be thwarted by a mist that hung all around us. More like a fog, after a while.
We reached the summit, but the view was limited, and the sun non existent. A few birds were about though, and I managed to show my companion a Skylark, as it took to the air, singing its wonderful song, as it climbed higher and higher.
Where the Wheatear should be, there were only sheep, Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws. And picture taking was proving difficult.
A Yellowhammer, that came fairly close, for a picture.
After about an hour, and still misty, Sue had to leave. She explained there was another service, at Dunstable Downs that she wanted to go to. Today is a big day, if you are religious.
We said our goodbyes, and before she left, she insisted on saying a prayer for me.
As I watched Sue disappear into the mist, I made my way back to the sheep slope, and where there should be Wheatear. After a lot of scanning with the binoculars, I finally found one. Miles away! No good for a picture, although I did try. Not even worth keeping for a record shot; so straight in the bin. But at least I saw one.
I walked back to the hill, and decided to try another spot further along.
A Linnet. The best I could manage with the misty conditions, and high ISO.
I watched some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, and a Kestrel that glided past; and the mist slowly began to clear. As I got lower down the slope of the hill, the sun made quick, brief bursts, to light up the landscape.
A lone Bluebell, forcing its way through the bramble floor covering.
I reached another slope, that led to an area known as Incombe Hill. A steepish climb, but worth it. I could hear Whitethroat calling from every bush, and bramble covering. The sun was making good headway through the mist by now.
I wanted a picture!
I followed a calling Whitethroat for ages, and was in danger of becoming labelled a stalker, when suddenly, briefly, there he was.
A beauty! He posed briefly, and then we played 'catch me' again.
I caught him, again.
I was very happy with these.
The sunlight was making such a difference. I reached an area of scrub, beyond a style, and a sign that warned of possible danger ahead.
I love signs like this. We must take care, and ensure the safety of those that struggled with the gene pool.
More birds singing amongst the brambles and bushes, and I chased a Garden Warbler for an age; only to get a very brief out of focus shot.
And then I found a lone Bluebell, growing through the grass.
I laid down on the damp grass, to get a few shots, as the sun began to make things easier. As I fired away, a butterfly landed on the flower.
I thought at first, a Speckled Wood, but it didn't seem right for that.
A Grizzled Skipper.
Quite a rarity, I've since found out; and usually seen on the wing, on hot spring days, late May or June.
A really good morning.
Hope your day was good too.