Saturday, 23 August 2014

River Beane

Probably going to be a quiet weekend-not much happening, the weather is rather cool for the time of year and the car is acting up, so I am reluctant to go anywhere until it gets seen to later next week.
Thought I'd take a walk around Aston End and along the river as it's been a while since i last did it.
Not a lot to see in the plantation, one or two parties of tits and a Jay-certainly a lot more visible now than they used to be. Another one is Nuthatch, one of which was heard as I approached Aston End. Always used to be a hard species locally, with only one or two woods where they were reliable, but they seem to be cropping up in all sorts of unexpected places now.
Most of the fields have been harvested, and though there were lots of corvids and pigeons feeding in the stubble there were no larks, and no sign of the Corn Buntings i found earlier in the year. Did see a few Linnets, Yellowhammers and Chaffinches though.
Not much over High Wood as I crossed the ford {still got a flowing river!} apart from one Buzzard and one Sparrowhawk. Expected a few more raptors considering the conditions.
All along the walk i had been hearing Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps calling from every large hedge and wooded area, and while I was hoping for a migrant Whinchat or Wheatear I got the feeling I would not find much. However, one small tatty bit of  hedge crossing one of the fields seemed to be full of sylvia warblers. I first heard the characteristic hard tak of Blackcap-and eventually a male and female appeared, along with a brief juvenile Whitethroat which then flew out. Several other birds were more difficult. I could hear a softer tak and suspected  Lesser Whitethroat but it took ten minutes of fleeting glimpses to confirm the identity. Eventually two were seen well, with a third suspected. Always enjoy seeing Lesser Whitethroat, not the easiest of warblers to see well and very smart looking birds.
Things then went a bit wrong. I had been walking the hedge along the Walkern to Watton road and was intending to cross the river as usual on the footbridge east of Lords Farm, only to discover it was severely damaged and closed for safety reasons. My dilemma was wether to return to the ford, retracing my steps or continue towards  Walkern where hopefully the bridge near The Croft was ok. Luckily it was and I was able to get back to the right side of the river and check the usual trees for the Little Owls-not today. I did get to see a few butterflies in this spot, a couple of Large and Small Whites. Speckled Woods were the only other species noted on the walk almost everywhere., being more suited to cool conditions and could be found almost everywhere.

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