Tree Following – April 2021

At the crack of dawn on a rather moody looking Easter Monday, I stumbled, bleary eyed, down to Rookery Park for this month’s Tree Following (previous Tree Followings are available here, here and here). Upon reaching my destination, the park was completely deserted. Even in the early mornings, there are usually a few dog walkers around, so it was rare treat to have the place to myself for a while. The lack of humans and dogs also meant that the local wildlife was out enjoying itself; more on that later. Before we take a look at the avenue of lime trees I am following, it is worth mentioning that I am not alone in following a tree! Clicking on the picture below will take you to Squirrelbasket’s website, where you can browse a selection of other Tree Following posts.

Tree Following

The Avenue

Here’s my usual shot of the avenue:

Tree Following Avenue

From this vantage, it all looks much the same, but on closer inspection there are signs of change. The photo below hints at these signs of growth, whilst also adding to the sense of anticipation…

Tree Following Bud Silhouette

I think we’re now ready to witness the Breaking of the Buds.

Buds Breaking

There we are: the red scale leaves are being pushed apart, and the green leaves are just about making their way into the fresh air. If circumstances allow, I might try to take some photos before next month to catch the intermediary stages of leaf growth. Next Tree Following, the leaves will more than likely be completely opened.

Around the the base of the trees, a slight covering of Chickweed is beginning to establish itself:


Before continuing, we must, of course, appraise another art offering:

Tree Following Sad Face

This has a very mournful quality to it: the jagged down-turned mouth certainly doesn’t scream happiness. The eyes add a bit more edge to the overall impression. Perhaps grumpy would be the best description of this month’s featured face. Feel free to add your thoughts!

Bird life

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I saw and heard quite a few birds while I was perusing the park. Hearing-wise I managed to pick out a Great Tit, Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush and a Woodpecker. After hearing it’s song, I spotted the Coal Tit in question, fluttering about between a conifer and the upper reaches of the lime trees. The Woodpecker was an unexpected surprise, but quite unmistakable! The sound echoes around quite a lot, but I eventually pinned the sound down to the Oak tree pictured below. By chance, I saw a little bit of movement on one of the tree’s dead limbs and caught sight of the Woodpecker. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the zoom lens with me, but you can just about make it out in the centre of the right hand photo:

I mentioned Mistle Thrush too; it’s a bird I’m seeing with increasing frequency at the moment. Partly, I think, because I’m becoming more familiar with it. I though I had heard one singing, but wasn’t sure. As I moved around trying to catch sight of another unidentified song bird, I came across this pair of very confident Thrushes:

Mistle Thrush

They were unflustered by my presence and even hopped towards me to investigate. After a while they decided I wasn’t worth the risk of hanging around (quite right too!) and scurried off screeching their alarm call as they went.

That’s all for this month’s Tree Following, but things are coming along nicely. By next month, the avenue and the park in general will be looking a lot more green and leafy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see a bit more of the wildlife too. See you next time!

15 thoughts on “Tree Following – April 2021”

  1. I can relate to the feeling of being up and about before anyone else, glorious. Am v impressed that you can identify birds by their song – well, ok, the woodpecker is an easy one – but otherwise I find it quite hard. I need to take a closer look at the Limes here to see if they are also at the breaking bud stage.

    1. Start with Great tits – they’re very easy to hear once you know what they are. In fact all of the tits are fairly straight forward as they sing very repetitive phrases and only use a few notes! Mistle Thrush is a funny one – I tend to recognise the song as something a bit different, but can’t usually say for definite what it is unless I see it. They usually sing from the very tops of trees which makes them easier to spot.

  2. Bud burst is always nice. Finally something happens. It’s like a small preview of summer.

    Since I started working mostly from home due to the pandemic I try to take a short morning walk before work every day. Morning walks are not a popular thing where I live so often only me and the birds are out. Very peaceful.

  3. It was nice to experience spring vicariously, thanks! It will be awhile before buds break here.

  4. It’s such a lovely avenue of trees and what a good selection of birds. I’m like you, it took me a while to really get my eye and ear attuned to mistle thrushes.

  5. Lovely post – you were lucky to find your park deserted as these pandemic days it seems a walk ion the park is one of the few pleasures we can still enjoy.
    I recognise mistle thrushes more by sight than song. I have never quite remembered the difference from a song thrush, although I just listened again on the RSPB website and think i may have it nailed next time.
    You were lucky to see two. Coal tits seem to be getting more common and they seem to like conifers.
    Was it a great spotted woodpecker or a “yaffle”?
    I look forward to watching those buds breaking but, as you say, you need to be quick to catch them.
    All the best 🙂

    1. I agree about Coal tits – they seem to be around and about quite a lot at the moment.

      I’m not sure about the Woodpecker – I could only really see the silhouette. I’ll have to see if I can spot it again!

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