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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Ingrebourne Valley

The morning after….

The kebab was, as usual brilliant the night before, as it always does it rounds off the end of the monthly Birders drink up the Railway; as usual I was walking down to the Valley at dawn putting myself through the usual pain caused by liquid refreshment.
Why I do it I don’t know, why not just lay in on the Saturday and not set the alarm the night before for 5.00am, instead I am thinking Ring Ouzels and Black Tailed Godwits and then questioning if I am right in the head. That’s birding, there is always a ‘good un’ round the corner, the phrase ‘no pain no gain’ is very apt.

As I walked down past St. Georges Wood virtually the first birds seen were 2 Common Buzzards, I suspect they were roosting nearby, these promptly headed over to the Farm Trail, a good start to the morning.

2 Common Buzzzards with the usual attendants

Pressing on showed the whole Valley flooded, certainly the most I have ever seen it flooded, consequently it was alive with waterfowl, Canada Geese numbered 278 with 35 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall and 31 Teal in the mix as well.2 Snipe and a Kingfisher were also seen.

A couple of Snipe on the flooding

Looking towards the Bridge

It was also apparent that there was also good numbers of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff around, the final total for each of these was 8 and 11, good counts.
House Martins were absolutely everywhere over the flooded marsh and a conservative count made as it got warmer showed a minimum of 220 birds spread right along the Valley.

I decided to walk the Farm Trail after earlier spotting a few groups of distant Finches , en route I had 4 Redpoll species over calling, most likely Lessers but who knows?, it’s been a few years since we had a Mealy.
As I started down the Trail towards the game crop it was evident that there was quite a lot of activity with large numbers of Corvids out on the fields, I easily reached 26 Jackdaw amongst the Crows, very likely more present.
Several Yellowhammers were seen which is always a pleasure, some even seemed to still be paired as male and females were still bonded. Good numbers of Skylark were present and the finch flock numbered around 50+ mostly Reed Buntings and Chaffinches but also Meadow Pipits mixed in as well.

With colder weather the game crop will again become a Finch and Bunting magnet, hopefully it will pull in some Brambling also.
A good walk was rounded off by a distant Common Buzzard, likely one of the birds seen in the morning and 2 very confiding Goldcrest, the bloke with the hammer in my head had left so not a bad day after all.

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