Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ring ouzel while I wheatear

For at least the last couple of years up to four ring ouzel have been recorded feeding on the sheep cropped  meadows around Big Pond at The British. Although all were passing through the habitat with its hawthorn trees, fence posts, grassland and lost farmsteads is usually a banker for this Turdus in springtime.

I hit the right spot by 8.30 pm without a murmur to suggest the birds were about. No characteristic fence post 'blackbirds' or vocal 'chucking' just the here and there of an overhead raven and at least a couple of pair of reed bunting tucking themselves in to the willow scrub that's now maturing in the marshy remains of the long drained Big Pond.

I moved on to take in the ram shackled remains of a lost farmstead surrounded by mature beech trees complete with tree carving in the hope of another banker for this area, the wheatear, but once again there was nothing to trouble the valley naturalist scribbling pad. Returning back via an elevated footpath past another long gone farm building this time surrounded by bracken and gorse at least two pair of stonechat were vocal. A parachuting pipit that was probably tree but could have been meadow was also noted.

Back onto the heathland at The British where chiffchaffs  and lesser redpolls provided the ambience. Fly past small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma butterflies were to be expected. A discarded part-used smokers lighter displayed graphically how vulernable heathland is to wildfires during dry spells.

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