Well I had a week off to make a start on the bottom fence and gate. These days I can only manage to do a few hours heavy work a day so its taking time. Clearing and shredding the ivy, and other prunings that accumulated took a couple of days, interrupted by a wet spell. Had a few decent birds while I worked-a Chiffchaff was calling in a nearby garden, a Grey Wagtail flew east, and I have noticed that the Dunnocks have come back again. Also there are two regular Collared Doves, and Goldfinch numbers are building up-nine is the maximum so far. Despite there still being a decent flock in the area, House Sparrows are not visiting at the moment. The other odd thing is that the Rowan is still holding on to berries despite the attention of a pair of Blackbirds, usually the Starlings have stripped it by now.
Sarah and Ed came over on Friday to help and we managed to get half the fence sorted, with the usual delays caused by trying to excavate the rotten posts embedded in concrete. The rest will have to wait until my next holiday in a few weeks. Still aching today.
Yesterday in an attempt to ease my aches and pains I went for a gentle walk around Aston End. Being a fine sunny day, cool and damp at first warming up rapidly it was not going to produce a great deal. Several Chiffchaffs are trying to sing, Jays are very noticeable, and I have found another Nuthatch location-they do seem to be increasing around here, once upon a time Box Wood was the only location in eastern Stevenage that I knew of.
Down by the ford, there was a flock of hirundines heading south. In the bright sun it was a bit difficult to be sure but most if not all were House Martins, around 25 in total. A Buzzard on the telephone pole south of the ford was preening, so I tried to get closer with the inevitable result.
Things remained quiet along the walker road, but as I headed down to the wooden bridge there was a small flock of Linnets and Yellowhammers on the weedy set aside area by the river. Several Meadow Pipits are present, and a couple of Skylarks have started singing again. Approaching the paddocks a squeaky call and a flash of blue alerted me to a Kingfisher-the first I'd seen here for many years. Local birder Tom Spellar encountered two here while searching for the Redstart I found last month so the river seems to be healthy enough to support them. Obviously the Beane (one of the internationally rare chalk streams) restoration project is paying dividends. Still very low in summer, but it is flowing now rather than drying up with a few shallow pools which has been the case for the last 30 years or so.