Sunday, 7 December 2008

BTO bird survey at Stour Head.

This is a new tetrad that I've chosen to do, so yesterday I did the first of 4 visits which is my 'early winter' visit. The OS map and GE map below show the area that I need to cover. I've tried to include as much different habitat as possible. On the GE map, S (in pink) is where I started in F is where I finished. This walk took two hours.
This first part of the walk took me along this concrete track. I was surprised to see two Jays here as the habitat was wrong for Jay, they are a woodland bird. The track took me through arable farmland and I was pleased to pick up a nice flock of Golden Plovers with just a few Lapwing in with them. Both these are typical winter farmland birds albeit in decline. As I walked around this track there were several Buzzards sitting in the fields (they like to eat worms and bugs from the ground). I even saw a Grey Heron in the fields with them, maybe not so surprising as there are lakes and ponds nearby as you will see later on in the walk. This photo was taken when I was at the very south of my survey area and this track was part of the Stour Valley Way, a recreational track for walking through the Stour Valley which anyone can use. We are very lucky here in Britain that we have a network of various types of footpaths all through the country that are there for public access. I would find doing these surveys extremely difficult without them. I've now left the farmland habitat and am starting to walk through a mixture of deciduous woodland and parkland with small ponds connecting up the two larger lakes. I was disappointed not to find anything on this little pond, it was pretty though! There was a short walk up this lane to get to 'top wood'. On the right hand side of this pretty dark photo, there is a 'laid' hedge. This is an old fashioned way of maintaining a hedge in the countryside in this country. Apparently there are all sorts of different regional styles to hedge laying, you might learn more by googling 'hedge laying' if you're interested. At the moment I am still following the Stour Valley Way which carries on through this field with the small 'Top wood' to the left of me. This was a pretty quiet section of the walk birdwise, with just a few Jackdaw and Wood Pigeon and the odd Blackbird around. This is the other side of the hill from Top Wood. I love the winter sun that shows shadows from the tussocky grass. This second small pond was more productive and very pretty with beautiful reflections (more in my next post). Here I saw the first of two Kingfishers and had some Siskins in the surrounding trees. There was also a good selection of woodland birds in this area, Blue, Marsh and Great Tits, Nuthatch and Goldcrest. I'll carry on around my survey walk with my next posting.


Quiet Paths said...

*sigh* It is still so green there. Two hours of walking in a beautiful place....these photos make me want to start walking down those lanes, Jenny.

Eve said...

This is great Jenny! It's like we're right there with you! Looking forward for more and you do a smashing job on those maps!!
(hahaha how did you like that English accent!!).

Adrian said...

Dear Wren

Sounds like you had a great time. I love the header photograph - your namesake!

See you soon, Adgi

Anonymous said...

Hey Jen,
This is a brilliant area you have chosen for your survey. (Yer, I been up round there many a time my Dear)
The concrete track you were on is part of the perimeter of the old WW11 airfield RAF Zeals.

Jenny said...

Tell you what Christine, I'll swap you! (-: You live in such a stunning place. Maybe we should arrange an exchange visit!

Hi Evie, looks like we'll be having you with a super duper plummy voice in no time! (-: I was going to number around with the photos, but my hand is just not steady enough and I took too many photos anyway!

Hi Adgi, so lovely to have you back blogging. I'll see you at the end of the week for Mum's birthday. Hope a blog is on the boil......

Hi Roy, do you know what, I thought it reminded me of a disused aerodrome when I sussed it out the other day for surveying. It reminds me on the disused aerodrome in Yorkshire where, on holidays, my dad used to let us kids drive his car! Great fun!
Yep, it is a great tetrad, I had 48species for that two hour walk, not to bad at all.

Anonymous said...

That whole area is really good for birding and wildlife. In fact its "Awfully nice" and "Jolly good fun" as our dear friend Evie would say it. {:)

Quiet Paths said...

Jenny, that is a superb idea. Seriously. Run it by your better half. We need a house sitter for part of the summer. Except I'd want to show you around some first.

Quiet Paths said...

PS the bird refuge just north of us harbors more kinds of raptors than anywhere else in this part of the US.