Meadow Pipit [below]
Today was a taster session for those interested in birdwatching at a privately-owned site. We did see some interesting birds, but few of these hung around for their photograph to be taken! A Turtle Dove whizzed past us very swiftly, but there were plenty of actual Swifts to see, as well as House Martins, Sand Martins and Swallows. A Sparrowhawk sent a ripple of fear among these birds as it soared over the lake and trees. Unfortunately, the Grasshopper Warbler and Cuckoo were only heard, although the former was only a matter of a few feet away! We climbed the highest point to see if we could re-enact the occasion 2 years ago when an Osprey drifted over, but there was only a Chiffchaff singing away in a Ash-tree. However, the climb was punctuated by a visit of 2 dedicated enthusiasts checking on an Owl box. There was no Tawny Owl in residence, just a cold Stock Dove egg! A couple of Blackcaps sang strongly either side of us as we went back down the hill. Some Reed Warblers could be heard chuntering deep inside the Reeds, but Sedge Warblers could be heard more clearly, although they didn't come into the open for the class. A Whitethroat camed very close to us on the cinder track, but it only gave very brief views. On the walk back we found a pair of Great Crested Grebes with 3 fairly well-grown chicks on one lake, and a Skylark and Meadow Pipit around the car park. Overall, we saw more than 30 species, and there were a couple of quality birds we weren't able to see, but which we did hear clearly.