Monday, 4 February 2008

Wiltshire's Wildlife

After last night's torrential rain and wind, this morning dawned bright and clear, so having a day off we went to Old Wardour Castle in Wiltshire for a walk. Never been before but what a lovely place. Will have to go again when it's open!!
Everywhere was birdsong, including some very noisy Nuthatch and Gt Tit. We did an ambling walk along some of the woodland tracks and after yesterdays post about Year List, I racked up 4 more, Treecreeper, obligingly only 20 feet away and at head hight so lovely views in the sun, male Bullfinch, Siskin, and a very showy Water Rail which scootled about next to the fishing lake (well spotted Thelma with a "what's that?"). Also spotted a Pippit spp by the lake. However it was partially obscured, so can not make a positive ID, but it's colouring, dark legs and general behaviour has me pointing a finger at a potential Water Pipit. I'll not count it though.
Other hightlights were a Robin showing well next to the car, a fair number of very active Great and Blue Tit, and a Buzzard being mobbed by Carrion Crow. I like it here, not least as there are snowdrops everywhere. Fair cheers the heart.

Top Old Wardour Castle, Middle; Snowdrops in the woods; Bottom; Feeding time
As it was only 11.30 by the time we'd done the walk, decided to go over to Langford Lakes, a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Reserve, where I began my art career in 2006 with 5 paintings in the exhibition. Quite a nice spot, but quiet birdwise, with the hightlights being a female Bullfinch, 6 Long Tail Tit, a few Gadwall, Gt Crested Grebe, Pochard and Tufted. Oh and a Rat... however...

The hightlignt of the day had to be the Ringtail Hen Harrier which flew over the car on the windwept Wiltshire Downs, flashing it's white rump. I stopped as soon as I could but it was too far away for further ID information. What a fabulous sight, sorry I can't give any specific information as to where it was, but you'll understand. Glad I stopped there too, as the fields each side of the road were crammed with mixed finches (no Brambling), Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Skylark, the fields near the woods, must have had 200+ Corvids and 100+ Pigeon spp. No wonder the Hen Harrier was hunting there. Sadly though no further sighting of the Harrier. But a great way to end the day even if as we set off a dead Brown Hare was in the road. Coincidence?
So with all this activity, my Year List is now at 90 (not including the possible W-ippet).

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