The day promised record temperatures, so I set out at 5.30am. Swifts flew low and silently over juniper and scrub. Moths and tiny butterflies flew about the seeding grasses and rose from juniper. There were common blue and rich-coloured fritillary making territory in wavering flight. I heard the distant call of lapwing and curlew.
I sat contemplative on an erratic and caught the sweet note of a innet which settled in the bare branches of a hawthorn close by.
How different the habit of the small birds which breed in this habitat! Bird-watching, you learn their ways gradually. Linnet which favours a perch on a bare twig not far from thick gorse and juniper. Stonechat who set up an alarm call when you intrude on their territory and perch on a twig above the scrub where they nest. They don't fly off but flit from perch to perch, in defence of their young. Redpoll whose in-flight call I hear every day, see they in flight but they fall silent when they come down into the scrub. I've heard them somewhere in a thick stand of gorse, but they're elusive. And the wren whose ticking call is common but who rarely likes to be looked at and buries himself deep in hawthorn.