Friday, 19 June 2015

QUARRY WALK AND SUMMER LEYS 19/06/15

I was due a 'bad' day out and today was that day.
It started off quite well of sorts...nice weather. I started my walk (yes walk) from Ecton headed for the old strawberry fields/sewage farm and had a choice the first was the quickest walking alongside the A45 on the track or the longer route via Cogenhoe and along the River Nene my gut said long route, my brain was saying short route...despite it being cloudy then sunny it was muggy and warm. Half way up the track I stumbled across some flytippers who drove off at speed...
I got to Quarry Walk and the site didn't "feel" right. The boardwalk section was OK but the birds remained hidden this is the best I got.
A Chiff-Chaff. I walked down to Warbler Alley and stopped to grab these with the camera phone, unprocessed etc, now I have noticed with orchids they tend to be named after what they look like...so this is probably called Purple Marsh?

As I tried sneaking up to a Garden Warbler in the Alley (the path that separates the two lakes) an eruption of gun fire rang out sending everything either down for cover or they flew off. I've heard all sorts coming from Grendon Lakes but even they couldn't be shooting on this scale, I've never heard anything like it, in fact the gunsmoke rising into the air made me wonder,  even on large pheasant shoots you don't get gunsmoke on this level, I guessed about 30 guns!!
I was wrong as when I got to the bund I soon realised what was going on, a full scale battle re-enactment, oh joy. Even this took part
No Hobbies then, I didn't see one right when they're just started incubating eggs. I checked one nest via the scope, she was still sitting, phew. I realised it was futile hanging about (ok it took me an hour) and now the problem with rambling came to the forefront, if I had come in the car as planned I could go elsewhere. So now I had to find an alternative. I could go the Ecton sewage farm or Summer Leys. Summer Leys using footpaths Summer Leys was not only closer but probably the better bet.
The footpath is interesting to say the least walking past one property it's fields screamed out Barn Owl and worthy of further investigation as was the meadow I crossed, stunning meadow, through a field with horses that decided to walk with me though the one behind me was pissing me off...it kept nudging me in a friendly manner. I got to the perimeter of the reserve on Hardwater Road and got frustrated. The PUBLIC FOOTPATH onto the reserve and once the original path around the reserve was three foot high and the same in breadth with stinging nettles, sorry Northants Wildlife Trust this is still a designated footpath and being on your land your responsibility to keep clear and accessible, I wouldn't normally grumble but the alternative is to walk along Hardwater Road and we know the speed in which people travel along that road and with no verge to walk along it wasn't a feasible nor safe option, through the nettles it was then! Some how I didn't get stung and I will offer once the breeding season has finished offer my services to the wildlife trust to clear it up (that will test the Trust to see if they read the blog). So was there much present at the Leys.
On Rotary Island (above image) there was the usual Black Headed Gulls, the unimpressive Med Gull sorry it's me, gulls just don't do it for me, great for practising flight shots but exciting? There was the Shelduck and it's juveniles, typically at Summer Leys once the Shelduck young first emerge it normally rains hard a rise in water levels and the poor little blighters die. This brood is the most mature I've seen in a long time so perhaps are safe....probably. I buggered off to the Pioneer hide, hmmm. The scrape looks brilliant but not much on it. A Redshank, not many gulls (good) few terns and Lapwing. But dare I say it felt dead. Probably not helped by the chopping down a couple of years back of the lush Reed bed in front of the hide which meant no Reed Warbler. Now when I asked why it was done I got two answers the first from the trust who reckon it would improve the water flow into the scrape, OK that makes sense, sort of. I mean you could've just removed the reed bed in front of the entrance of the ditch rather then the whole lot. The other reason given to me by the "old boys" of the reserve or as I call them "the committee" was that it was done to improve views of the scrape, I don't believe that one. Either way it seems a shame as it was great spot to sit and catch Reed Warbler, didn't even hear one except for one near the sluice (miles away). The Little Egret got some stick though



A Cormorant
 A Lapwing
This flew high over the scrape.
And finally thank god for Terns, otherwise I'd have less to work through, glad these aren't just against the sky.

 Now I had to get home! I cheated and phoned my long suffering girlfriend "7 o'clock ok" yep. Whilst waiting on the picnic tables which can be accessed as a path has been cut through the vegetation,  go figure! The swifts put on a good display as did a solitary Hobby. CRAPPY DAY.

12 comments:

  1. It is all happening down your way.
    Is that last aircraft Russian? It's been sent to spy on you.
    Better luck next time..

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    1. No it's an American bomber, B52? I think. Glad it was only spying lol

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  2. I've been to see any Terns yet this year, I really need to do that after looking through your pictures. By the way, the you know what will be showing sometime next week :)

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    1. Hope you catch up with some terns soon Findlay we get quite a few despite being so far away from the sea. A really elegant bird. I look forward to it Findlay there's been some interesting posts so far.

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    2. I wouldn't say that was a bad day at all Douglas...look at it this way...
      You had a nice long walk (think of all those burnt calories!)...you avoided a war, helped to save the countryside by scaring off those anti social b********, found some pretty flowers, saw your own personal air display, did some horse whispering, had a nice ramble through the jungle (nettles!) and avoided a major road tragedy in the process, made a vow to engage with your local wildlife trust, and along the way you got to enjoy seeing some super birds doing what birds do best while you collected a cracking set of images. And you topped it all off with a pleasant taxi ride home. Now that can't be a bad day, can it?...[;o)

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    3. When you put it that way I suppose it wasn't too bad. I did over the phone (the wildlife trust did read) volunteer to clear the nettles once the breeding season finished. As for horse whispering hmmm, more like cursing lol. They were my highlight to be fair extremely friendly as was finding some new habitat to investigate at another time which I really enjoyed the most.

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  3. Great blog Doug.

    I agree with you about the reeds. It's a shame such a good habitat was lost, although it did mean the great white egret was easy to photograph right in front of the Pioneer hide last year.
    The reed warblers do seem to have moved (or gone) although I have seen them flying from the reeds to the left of the Pioneer hide to the stand of reeds on the small island in front of the Pioneer hide so they are still about but it's definitely not as good as it used to be.

    Matt (although you may remember me as Mark).

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    1. I do you remember you as Mark...Matt. Yeah I noticed a a Reed Warbler doing exactly what you said and also a few in the dipping ponds too. Not as good as it was though. I understand sort of the viewing issues but if that was a genuine reason (which I don't believe it is, you know what the 'committee are like) then the hide could've been raised. Maybe with a bit of growth we can see the reed bed next year return to normal.

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  4. As always Doug an illuminating narrative supporting the images ..... I always feel as if I was there with you when I read your posts, great stuff.

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    1. Cheers John, you're lucky you're not with me can you imagine my moaning lol

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  5. HI Douglas, I agree with what Trevor has written whole heartledly so I will not repeat it. Variety in the spice of like and you certainly would not say your day was boring! Now would you? You got some great flight shots along the way with birds and planes so cheer up, you have a bad day when NOTHING is seen at ALL! Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Margaret you're 100% right I did get quite a few images. I really wanted to complete by Birdtrack count for Quarry Walk but was unable to do so. BUT I did find new areas, stumbled across a beautiful meadow which are getting rarer these days, it really is just me.

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