You might see weeds, but I see wild flowers

Monday, 21 December 2015

Aspley Wood

Myself and Whisky paid a visit to Aspley Wood this morning. I was hoping to find the Dartford Warbler that's been seen recently. I saw one a couple of years ago here, but the light wasn't that good.

Parked the car in the small lay-by by the big gate, and we walked up the track towards the gorse.

Blazing sunshine shining in our eyes made it difficult to see anything. Once we reached the top of the wet sandy path, we turned left. The sun was now shining over our backs, onto the gorse and conifers. Much better.

No sight or sound of a Dartford Warbler. No sight or sound of very much at all really.
A Magpie, couple of Green Woodpeckers, a hovering Kestrel, and a Pied Wagtail.

Whisky was fascinated by this little bird as it ran along, stopped, and then began running again.

Something bigger ran past in the distance.

 A Chinese Water Deer.

A couple were running around, and thankfully Whisky didn't decide to join them.

By now the sun had vanished behind a bank of black sky, the light not the best for pictures. The wind was getting stronger too, and quite a chill with it.
Along one of the fenced areas a Stonechat briefly posed.

I decided on one more walk round the gorse in the hope of seeing this elusive warbler.

No warbler, but I was surprised to see a couple of conifers decorated for Christmas.


By now it was getting a bit cold, and since I wasn't really dressed for a cool winter breeze, I decided to head back to the car.

I stopped off by the old derelict barn/shed or whatever it once was, to see if there was anything of note there.

A couple of Crows, and that was it.

Full list of today's sightings

Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola torquatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)

Total species  9

A little known science fact

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Some needed sunshine

After all the rain and wind of what seems like forever, some blue skies and sunshine today; so Whisky and myself took ourselves out for a long walk. Two hours forty five minutes worth.

Going past the Hilton Hotel, and up towards the fields on the right hand, I was hoping to spot some Redwing and Fieldfare in the usual bushes. It seems whenever I decide to take my binoculars on a walk, there is nothing to see. Today was no exception; a couple of Blackbirds, a squirrel, and that was it.

We crossed the road, and began walking towards the river Ouzel.
Always a good walk this way, because Whisky can spend most of it off the lead. He's quite content to keep close, and not wander off. And when I stop to take a picture, or stare through the bins, he'll quietly wait till it's time to carry on walking.

Past the Open University, and there on the right was a large raptor in the trees.
As I raised the bins for a better look, it flew off over Standing Way and settled in the trees in the distance. A Buzzard? Well, the wings looked slimmer than usual for a Buzzard, and certainly not a Red Kite ............. so it remains a mystery.
I did see a Buzzard later, so maybe it was or maybe something else.

I decided to take in Walton Lake, since we were so close, and maybe hopefully see mystery bird again.

Nothing very much around at all.
A Mute Swan, a Moorhen, and a distant female Shoveler.

We headed back towards the river, and on towards Simpson.

A few more birds to add to the list for the day, and like previous visits, I noticed there were good numbers of Blackbirds and Magpies.

Crossing the road, I decided we'd stroll to the north part of Caldecotte Lake.
Plenty of Black-headed Gulls in the air, and on the water Coots, Wigeon and a solitary Gadwall.

After a quick look, we turned back towards the road, and then headed for home.

A long walk that Whisky enjoyed.

Full list of the birds seen

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)

Total species  28