Berkshire's heathland - early April 07

Heathland in early spring is a magic place. After months of bleak, cold walks through a virtual desert, the song of woodlark, tree pipit, dartford warbler and stonechat seem to be everywhere. Any wooded margins are likely to be ringing with both crossbill and redstart

There's always the chance of passage birds and whinchat or wheatear can drop in. Overhead there'll almost certainly be buzzard and, depending on how far north the heathland is, red kite

Even the birds which have been about all winter make themselves more obvious. Late brambling are the more appreciated for their bright plumage and redpoll or siskin in the conifers seem far more vocal than they were during the short winter days

Berkshire has a lot of heathland and any one of the sites has its own collection of birds. Later on in the spring an evening walk will be interrupted by the churring of the crepuscular heathland specialist - the nightjar and by the noisy roding of woodcock

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