Wednesday, 22 April 2009

On The Waggonways.

Peacock Butterfly
Garlic Mustard

Russian Comfrey

22nd April. The afternoon was too good to waste so I decided to have a walk along the patch waggonways. My walk began quietly apart from finding a pile of feathers from a newly plucked Wood Pigeon. Initially the birds in the main were tits, pigeons, corvids, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. I did eventually here the song of a single Willow Warbler. There were quite a number of butterflies about in Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. Near the farmland I found the patch of Russian Comfrey Symphtum x uplandicum that I discovered last spring. I learnt that this plant was used for cattle fodder and although it now grows behind someone’s house I assume the area was until recent years all farmland.

Once I reached the waggonway which leads to holystone things began to pick up a little with numbers of singing Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet. As I walked down the track I picked up the song of a Grasshopper Warbler. I reached an area where the song rang out clearly and spent some time trying to track the bird down. I reckon it was either in the hedge or directly behind it as I had no luck. Still, I count song as important as sightings and it is another patch tick for me. The nearest to the patch I have found Grasshopper Warbler in the past is at the Rising Sun Country Park. As I spent some frustrating time looking for this bird I watched a Skylark in display flight just above head height over the field. It was still there on my return. I also found a stunningly coloured Pheasant in the longer grasses and began to find the first of a number of Reed Bunting seen today. This area is very good for farmland birds and long may it stay that way. I had no Yellowhammer today and I’m still looking for my first Whitethroat of the year.
There was a number of Lapwings around in and over the fields and I found a party of 4 Stock Doves feeding in the fields. I’d have spent a bit more time with the Grasshopper Warbler, which again frustratingly sang every time I moved from its vicinity, but dinner called so I had a quick walk home. The flash is all but dried up and there is much Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis growing around that area. I noticed quite a bit of Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata growing in the hedges on my return and heard Chiffchaff. 'Twas a good afternoon.

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