As I got out the car at the car park, dawn was just drawing back the curtains of night.
In the distance, the field opposite was full of gulls; mostly Lesser Black-backed. A big flock of Jackdaws had noisily taken to the air, and off to my right, a Tawny Owl was sending out his last messages of the night.
In the distance a group of deer, Fallow, possibly, were making the most of nights blanket, before disappearing into the bushes.
I watched them for a while, and then made my way into the field opposite.
Great Tits and Blue Tits were stirring, and a Nuthatch began his calling, as he worked his way through a dead tree stump.
Behind me a Sparrowhawk flew by, and a few moments later a couple of Red Kite cruised above the distant tree tops.
A Green Woodpecker yaffled in the distance.
Some birds were beginning to stir in the bushes ahead.
I stopped, waited, and there was Spotted Flycatcher, flitting through the bushes. A good spot for them apparently.
Moving on I could hear a 'hueet' call. Stronger than a warbler.
A sound I'm familiar with from my times in Wales .......... a Common Redstart.
He broke from the cover briefly, enough time to clinch the ID, before he melted back into the bushes.
It was shaping up to be a good morning.
A couple of Dunnocks were in the bushes, as I made my way through the field, and down towards the sheep pen.
No sheep in the field this morning, but this area is a good spot for Whinchat.
Out in the stubble field some gulls and Crows foraging amongst the spiky tufts, and a distant Hare hunkered down between the rows of harvested crops.
Moving along the edge of the fence, stopping occasionally to scan the field, and finally rewarded with the sight of a Whinchat. Worth the walk.
I turned, and made my way up towards the base of the hill. A lot of scrub to search through.
More tits and Dunnocks, a flock of Goldfinches swirling around, and occasionally settling in the trees, and a Kestrel hovering above the grass, searching for his breakfast.
At the base of the hill I scanned through the bushes. Last week when I was here, I found a Redstart. Not today though. I did find a Whitethroat though, in one of the Elder bushes.
Another view of a Kestrel as I made my way along the path,
and a few Meadow Pipits rising up from the grass as I slowly walked along.
A couple of dog walkers were off in the distance; time must be marching on by now.
A small group of Swallows flew overhead, maybe heading towards Tring reservoirs, to feed up before their long journey to Africa.
At the top of the hill, a quick look round, and then I made my way back down, towards the car park.
Long Tailed Tits were calling as they worked their way through the bushes, and in the distance near the sheep pen, a couple of bodies with spotting scopes on their backs.
Time for me to go.
A last look in the field opposite the car park before I left, and the distinctive shape of a Jay flew by.
In the daylight I could now see the notices around the car park.
Some days the quality of the birds is greater than the quality of the pictures.
Have a good one