Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another walk around Pitsford

We had to cancel a planned visit to the Ludlow Food Fair this weekend as I still have a lot of work to do on my dissertation, though I should finish it this weekend, finally!

By way of compensating ourselves we decided on an early morning walk on Saturday morning. You can see how early by the morning mist (another in that occasional series of pictures out the back window):

We decided to walk anti-clockwise around the reserve this time, both to get us to where the Ferruginous Duck had been located the previous week sooner and for a change. You can always tell when you're the first humans around as there's so much wildlife and in passing so much disturbed. Heading along the causeway we watched a Common Moorhen being assaulted by first one and then another Moorhen, being watched by Common Coots, who themselves fought on and off too:

The original target was pursued on to shore, I don't reckon its chances were good as the birds looked determined. Whilst we watched this a Common Kingfisher blurred past to settle on a dead branch sticking out of the water a good forty metres away:

We saw three Kingfishers in our first fifteen minutes! Today's first was actually locating the lagoon hide. We'd never understood why we always missed it but walking round in the opposite direction meant we located it readily and enjoyed watching this juvenile Grey Heron looking for food:

The duck was indeed still present and still asleep though it had moved a bit so presumably it had woken up at least once in the last week :)

As noted above there were lots of birds at Pitford today, the commonest in the trees appeared to be Chiffchaffs:

Willow Warblers:

And mixed flocks of tits, including of course, Long-tailed Tits:

LTT's were Helen's favourite bird, now however her allegiance has shifted to the Black Bittern (Garden Birds and other sightings...: India Holiday - Sunday 4 January – Colombo and trip summary). I just can't wait for the Smew to fly in to Pitsford this winter, they remain my favourites.

One unusual creature that caught our attention was this moth. No doubt it's the commonest moth in the UK but we'd not seen one like this before. In fact we only saw it because it flew away from the tree briefly. The underside of its wings appear to have red dots towards the edge which is what we saw in the first place, however once settled it was quite hard to pick out:

We were fortunate about 80% of the way round to get close to a Common Buzzard which was just heading up again, allowing me to get a reasonable snap of its plumage as it soared higher:

Pitsford is a wonderful spot. One of the neighbouring farms however has just released many thousands of Partridge for the autumn shooting. They've been released less than a week so are all clustered around the feeders oblivious that soon various groups of midlife-crisis humans will spend a few mornings slaughtering them for fun. Probably worth avoiding the place for a couple of weeks therefore...

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