Sunday, 1 September 2013

Local Wryneck

I was checking the pager yesterday afternoon and was surprised to see a message about a Wryneck on the old landfill east of Stapleford-just down the road. Although I knew the area I did not know of a landfill and it was getting a bit late. A search of satellite images  did not help, but eventually a grid ref was posted-but by then the light was starting to go.
I decided to head down there after breakfast, and found the farm track with two parked cars, so I went up the track and into the field. I saw a couple of people in the scrubby area and realised it was Simon, William and Julie. William had been down late last night and had come up again with Julie. Simon had been present since 7am. There was no sign of the Wryneck, but we saw four Whinchat-they were present all morning but proved to be very elusive and were only seen on a couple of occasions. There was also a huge flock of Goldfinches and Linnets in the filed to the north, Swallows and House Martins were feeding overhead and the usual Buzzards and Kites were also around.
Just after 10am I noticed a bird fly low and into one of the many small rose bushes from the far right. It looked interesting and Simon got his scope on it and suspected it was the Wryneck-as it proved when it popped up on top of the bush. It dropped onto the ground and was then perched up again before flying down into a thistle filled hollow. Tony Hukin arrived moments later as did a number of others. We waited for a while and then Tony and I went over to investigate the thistles. The bird remained out of view and surprised us by flying up a good hundred yards away from where we were searching. It headed north and down, by which time Mike Illet had arrived. Another walk and it luckily flew back to the main scrubby area and posed for on and off for the next twenty minutes or so to the appreciation of the gathering crowd-including John Bartlett and Mick-the first of the Amwell Sunday crew. 
I eventually made my way back, having had a chat with the farm manager and bumping into many friends on the way. From what the manager told me, the site  is managed for conservation, with breeding Grey Partridge and Lapwings, and Barn and Little Owls present. Simon though was pleased to see the feral flock of Helmeted Guinea Fowl which breed here.

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