Sunday, September 21, 2008

Staying local

Another sunny weekend! Helen's sister stayed with us for the weekend so we wanted to take her to some unfamiliar places and combine the walking and birding. We decided to start Saturday at Titchmarsh LNR in the North-East of the county.

The first thing we noticed was how much more nervous all the wildfowl are again. Sigh.

Anyway it was a lovely morning, quickly warming up and Titchmarsh is a lovely spot, a truly pleasant walk. The most surprising thing of the morning was the numbers of dragonflies and butterflies, there were loads. I snapped this Small Tortoiseshell:

















and this Comma:


















We also saw Small Coppers and Red Admirals.

The reserve itself was quite quiet, however we were over-flown by a flock of House Martins, moving through, and did see singles of both Hobby and Yellow Wagtail, albeit briefly. Halfway around there's patch of young trees which seems to hold the majority of the warblers. We heard or saw Cetti's, ChiffChaff, Blackcap and Willow Warblers.

From Titchmarsh we headed for a cuppa and a picnic at Stanwick Lakes, where we were surprised to hear a Cetti's Warbler trying to out compete the screaming kids in the playground, it was singing from a bush just behind the cafe. We also spotted a pair of Sedge Warblers moving around close to the Cetti's.

Next stop along the Nene River Valley for us was Summer Leys. The reserve has been significantly disturbed by improvement work, including a new scrape and hide, the flip-side being many more members of the public using the extended and surfaced path around the reserve - that being part of the deal that secured the funding. In theory in a few years time it'll be 'busy' with birds again, through right now it's very quiet and the other downside, litter, lots and lots of litter all the way around the reserve. Going to have to clear-up after the lazy scumbags on our next walk around.

We did spot a single Meadow Pipit on the walk around:















And stopping at the feeding station we were entertained by this Wren, which was hopping around looking for food:




















Sunday again started with a beautiful morning, so we headed out to feed the ducks at Ravensthorpe, their numbers are already greatly diminished, then on to walk around Holowell. No waders to be seen there but there was juvenile/1st winter Arctic Tern plunge diving around the reservoir, though to a back-drop of constant gunfire. Once round the reservoir we drove to Upper Harlestone, which is a very picturesque village, for a short walk on footpaths and bridleways through and around the village before heading home for a late lunch.

We walked lots, had fabulous weather, great company and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

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