Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Out of memory

Yesterday morning found me with my 'DIY' hat on, and that is not a type of headwear that sits comfortably on me. After reparing the garden shed and re-felting the roof (an easy job that even idiots like me can successfully complete) I rewarded myself with a trip up to Walton Downs. Blackcaps (above) and Chiffchaffs provided the accompanying soundtrack. Big highlight was a splendid male Ring Ouzel in the horse paddocks, which gave good, but distant views, hopping around the short sward in the company of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes. And why no photograph? Guess who took his camera out without a memory card inside it? Answers on a postcard...

This morning a dire skywatch at Box Hill was followed up by a shortish visit to Swire's Farm, which can still boast a healthy population of Yellowhammers (above), with much singing and courtship shenanigans being heard and observed. Apart from a Common Whitethroat not much to get the birding juices flowing.

Last stop of the morning was a return to Walton Downs. The Woodland Trust have certainly kept to their word and have created areas of non-woodland within the Centenary Wood complex that is being created on the site of Langley Vale Farm. These areas are to benefit the superb arable flora present (which I have extensively blogged about in the past) and also the historical population of Lapwings. These waders are celebrated rather than kept quiet, with signs attached to the fencing informing passing walkers of 'what lies within'. At least 10 birds were present yesterday, with three seen this morning. This field (above) is huge, a combination of earth, flint and chalk at the surface. Wheatears have taken a liking to it recently, with as many as 12 present (just four this morning). A check was made on the horse paddocks, in the hope that the Ouzel may have remained. Unfortunately not, but a male Common Redstart was some compensation.

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