Sunday, April 09, 2006

Calke Abbey

Having been to Calke Abbey ( in early Autumn 2005 and noted the reasonable size of the place and it's surrounding access, we decided to head back and catch the start of Spring. It started off partly cloudy with some broken sunshine but ended up with the rain bouncing and a dash for shelter!

In terms of new birds it was a wash-out, with one exception, we have now both seen a Skylark! Still stuck at 115 UK birds though...

The walk took us from a car park by the stables, via the outskirts of Staunton Harold Reservoir and a small Severn Trent nature reserve en route, through the village of Melbourne, back via the reservoir centre and then looping back to the car park, roughly 7 miles. Highlights included being 'escorted' down a long stretch of hedgerow by a Long-tailed Tit, a group of Tree Sparrows in the Reservoir Car Park on the edge of the Calke Abbey estate (clearly an established feeding area - loads of birds there!) and a close encounters with both a Kestrel and a brief fly-by from a Common Buzzard chasing 2 Tits. These photos are from the first part of the walk, including the feeding area:

A Great Crested Grebe on the Reservoir:

My best snap of a Robin thus far:

A Blue Tit enjoys the sunshine:

Tree Sparrows:

Greenfinch in breeding plumage:


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