Author Archives: johna

Ravens

Four very noisy Ravens flying in Pony Wood and the surrounding fields this morning at around 8am.

Maybe a family group?

They were still around about an hour later, I could hear them from the Canal Towpath on my way back from my walk with the dog.

Owls

Very late dog walk along the path between the Orchard and Cromwell road, I came upon a barn owl sitting on one of the fence posts.  Not sure if it was confused by my bright head torch but it allowed me to get within 2 feet.  Only flying off when I said “hello owl”.  As it flew up another barn owl flew into my torch beam and both owls made off towards the allotments.

On the way back, two tawny owls were calling to each other in the trees by the farm house. Unfortunately I did not get chance to see them, but was entertained by their noisy calls for a good 5 minutes before I was reminded by my dog that we were supposed to be on a dog walk, and I headed home a happy man.

Grey Partridge

I know the Grey Partridge is one of the birds that the Nature Reserve is trying to encourage.

Seems to be doing a good job. Six flew up from the big Fauna field this morning as I passed by on the footpath with my dog.  They did not go far, and settled down about 100 yards further on in the same field.

 

2 Canal Sightings

Not strictly in the Nature Reserve, but very close.

Wednesday around 8:15 – Just past the Haverbreaks bridge a good sighting of a kingfisher..  It has been active around this area for a good few days, but usually darts for a new perch a little further down the canal.  It is always uplifting to see one.

A little further along the canal towards the footpath through Flora, I noticed a line on bubbles in the canal.  I stopped expecting to see the usual brown rat surface, But to my surprise an otter poked it’s head out of the water, stared at me for a few seconds and then tumble dived back under the water, and made for the reeds at the bottom of one of the gardens, where it disappeared.

Made my day!

Merlin

About 9am this morning a Merlin hunting along the Flora hedge along the footpath (field side) – Using the fence posts as a convenient perch between each flight.  Spotted by 6 magpies, who flew across the field to intercept and mob..  quite a violent squabble thereafter.  Did not see where the merlin escaped to.

Three birds beginning with S

Early this morning:

  • Large flock of Starlings in the big field in Flora – At least 300 birds quite impressive sight..  They had mostly dispersed by the time I passed the field again about an hour later .
  • 11 Shelduck sitting on top of the hill in the field up by Pony Wood
  • Sedge Warbler singing in the bushes in the middle of the Orchard

Other birds spotted in the area over the past week or so:
Canada Goose
Shelduck
Mallard
Pheasant
Grey Heron
Sparrowhawk
Buzzard
Moorhen
Black-headed Gull
Herring Gull
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
Swift
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Swallow
House Martin
Pied Wagtail
Wren
Dunnock
Robin
Blackbird
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Sedge Warbler
Garden Warbler
Whitethroat
Wood Warbler
Chiffchaff
Goldcrest
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Jay
Magpie
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Starling
House Sparrow
Chaffinch
Greenfinch
Goldfinch

Roe Deer

Roe Deer – Hay Meadow just past School Pond

Call from my partner 10.30am Friday morning as she was walking along the Fauna Path towards Cromwell Road.  She had a close encounter with a Roe Deer (within 6 feet).

Deer was spotted in the Hay Meadow (just after the School Pond turning), close to the path fence.

Siskin, Goldcrest and more

Along path through Flora 2 Siskin showing well today.
Also our smallest bird Goldcrest in the bushes at the end of the Orchard.
Finches are looking good at this time of year and there are plenty of the common ones in the Orchard at the moment – Chaffinch, Greenfinch & Goldfinch are a daily view.
Over the past week have seen many Blue Tits and Great Tits too with the occassional glimpse of a Coal Tit across the whole area but especially in the Orchard and surrounding gardens.
Spring is definitely here as all over there are newly arrived warblers..  Chiff Chaff seem to be the most common (or at least the most vocal).
On the mammal front, no hares, but a more common (and often less loved) Brown Rat up by Pony Wood.

On the Otter front – have met quite a few people over the past week who have spotted at least one (and often more) on the canal..  but I have not had a repeat encounter..

Merlin & Otter

Merlin

Merlin in Orchard Monday morning (around 8am).  This is the second time I have seen this bird here.  Presumably drawn in by the large numbers of small birds feeding on the food put out daily.

Spooked by my presence and flew off over Willow Lane direction.

Otter

This morning – Good view of otter on canal around Haverbreaks – It spent as much time watching me as I watching it.  There for about 5 minutes before heading off up the canal bank and out of sight.