Monday, August 27, 2007

Harlestone Heath

Bank Holiday Monday and with tired(ish) legs time for a walk closer to home. We set out from Kingsthorpe across to Harlestone Heath and to the (Wyevale) garden centre at the main entrance (who do a very good cup of tea and have an improved value and quality menu).

On the way out to the garden centre we spotted a very busy flock of Spotted Flycatchers, feeding begging youngsters, who must be recent fledglings. Lots of calling and wing flapping with occasional darts from the tree and back again to feed. Here's one of the juveniles:

A couple on another part of the same tree:

Also close by was this juvenile Chiffchaff:

It was sad to read this weekend that some nesting sites for our rare birds have suffered 100% failure with the wet weather causing drowning chicks, washed out nests and an absence of foodstuffs, average fledgling numbers are down by 50-100% in places. Let's hope next year is a boom year or some birds will become much rarer sights.

Back into the woods we headed out along the path, espying more Willow Tit and small flock of Goldcrests, though they were in cover and impossible to photograph. We walked back along the Northampton and Lamport Railway line. At the crossing with the A5199, we were surprised to see this Little Egret wading in a mud pond, he was using his feet to stir up the mud at the bottom then stabbing down to feed on whatever he was washing up:

It's amazing to think that as recently as 5-years ago an Egret was a very unusual sighting in the UK!

A 25-mile bank holiday weekend with excellent birding and excellent company.

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