Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Spring flora and fauna

The morning began cool and cloudy but as the day progressed the sun began to break through the gloom and the air slowly warmed. My better half and I decided to visit Shenley Park, Hertfordshire to walk the trail from The Old Orchard Cafe to Cow Banks Wood. This was a little disappointing as the walk was more urban than we expected. Despite this we continued on towards the wood and was pleasantly surprised on our arrival to find carpets of Wood Anemone in full bloom. We then retraced our route and headed back to the Cafe for lunch. Near the old pond we found an area of Cowslip that was also in full bloom as overhead a male Nuthatch sang out. We both enjoyed a fantastic lunch and while dining 'Al fresco' I noted a nesting pair of Nuthatch in an old oak as a male Common Kestrel glided past overhead.

                                                                     Wood Anemone


On returning home I had a few hours spare for a spot of 'proper' birding so headed off to Croxley Moor. Many of the common resident species were busily readying themselves for the breeding season ahead. Two pairs of Common Magpie added the finishing touches to their nests as a pair of Grey Wagtail began to build at Common Moor Lock. Two species of warbler were noted with an impressive 12 singing male Common Chiffchaff and two Blackcap present on the moor.

                                                                  Common Chiffchaff

I then moved on to Stockers Farm where on the flooded field five Eurasian Wigeon, four Common Teal, two Northern Lapwing a single Mistle Thrush and my first Barn Swallow of the year were all seen. I then followed the path over the canal bridge to the causeway at Stockers Lake. At the far north end a male Cetti's Warbler burst in to song as nearby in the shallows an escaped exotic in the form of a Black Swan fed quietly. At the Heronry the resident Grey Herons were busily feeding young. Among them was several nesting pairs of Little Egret, a total of nine birds seen. A lone Great Cormorant was also present at the nest while below a Common Kingfisher flashed by. 

                                                                    Black Swan

Returning home I briefly stopped off at Froghall Farm where 10 Greylag and 12 Canada Goose, many paired up, grazed on the meadow. 



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