Tuesday, 23 April 2013


On Tuesday we tried somewhere we had never been to before. It was a place of peace and contemplation, but it was very windswept, so a lot of the smaller birds were keeping a low profile. From the car park we could hear a Chiffchaff immediately, and because there were no leaves on the trees everyone could see it too. We could also hear several Great Tits, and a distant Coal Tit. Goldfinches flew over, but there was relatively little else to see.

Red-legged Partridge (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Female Blackcap [Bottom]
 Marsh Tit - not a Blackcap - bib, rotund shape, paler underneath
We tried the scrap of woodland, but a lot of this was receiving the brunt of the strong winds, so most of the trees were empty. We popped into the walled garden where we were quite surprised to find a pair of Red-legged Partridges. back on the woodland path we cold see through the trees to a grassy field which contained a single Stock Dove in glorious sunshine. A Blackcap flew in, but was soon lost in a thicket. As we walked round the woodland a Nuthatch could be heard, but a tree had fallen and blocked part of the woodland path, and by the time we had negotiated that the Nuthatch couldn't be relocated.  
Stock Dove (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Record Shot of Mistle Thrush (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Lesser Celandine (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Dog Violet (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Primrose (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Birch Polypore (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Bee-Fly? (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
We climbed the stile to the lakeside walk, and immediately we could see a Mistle Thrush near an old gnarled tree in the park. In the afternoon again a Nuthatch could be heard singing behind us. A search among the lawn revealed 2 more Mistle Thrushes, which in the afternoon seemed to be getting frisky. A pair of Coot were on the lake itself, which were later joined by a pair of Grey lag Geese, and as we were leaving another 2. As we neared the eastern edge of the lake we could catch the dulcet tones of a Willow Warbler, which showed really well, and we saw another seemingly secondary male, with a much inferior song. In the afternoon a Treecreeper was also in this area. On the western edge of the lake a male Blackcap was singing next to the road, and as we watched him his chestnut-capped partner was also spotted. 
Willow Warbler [MJF]
 Treecreeper [MJF]
 Small Tortoiseshell
 King Alfred's Cakes

Once we had negotiated the lake we tried a really promising area of scrub below the church. Here we had better vies of a male Blackcap. Ten a Marsh Tit arrived, which was initially confused by some because of its cap, but it could be differentiated by its smaller size, its more rotund shape, and black bib. The overgrown churchyard failed to add an extra species to the tally. Although we didn't see a great deal of species, we did have great views of those we did see, and people enjoyed visiting such an unusual venue. As I was on my way home I received a text from the pm crowd letting me know that 2 Red Kites flew over as they were enjoying a late afternoon cup of tea in the cafe. It was the perfect end to their day.

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