Monday, 6 July 2015

ABINGTON MEADOWS

I've lost count the number of times I've cycled past this BCN Wildlife Trust site on the way into/back from work. The cycle path goes along the perimeter of the reserve and the side of the dual carriageway (A45). I always enjoy the cycle at this point the dawn chorus is pretty good at the start of spring before the rush hour traffic drones out the chorus.
My last visit was at the tail end of Autumn last year when most stuff had moved on. So felt I needed to make a proper visit, I could do it after work on the way home I thought, so did. I had stopped off once last week but got sidetracked by the swifts I posted last week, always the way lol.

 It's a small'ish site tucked away behind the Riverside Retail Park and adjacent to the extremely noisy and busy A45. As I entered the site there was a Kestrel hovering next to a pylon on the site, good start. Plenty of Swifts in the air, quite a few butterflies and dragonflies flitting around. I wanted to have a good look around but was very conscious were I was allowed to walk and where I shouldn't some of the site is permanent wet marsh other parts reminded me of a 'mini-fen' a few scattered pools and a stream running down to the Nene with a really nice hedgerow habitat all in a compact area circa 20 acres in size.
I was on my bike and even I realised it wasn't a good idea to have the bike with me as I walked round the pathways were brilliant but right alongside are wildflowers, mint which smelt gorgeous and grasses and it would feel like vandalism to allow my bike to roll alongside me through it so as I crossed one of the bridges over the stream I eventually padlocked the bike to a gate. I thought I saw a Water Vole that mysteriously morphed into a rat, an all to brief glimpse of a Kingfisher and some common species like Greenfinch and Bullfinch and some Starlings (loads here in the winter). But it was a real struggle to hear anything, that blasted dual carriageway this Chiff-Chaff made its presence known by shouting, I kid you not, definately the loudest Chiff-Chaff I've ever heard.

There's the allure of nearby Clifford Hill GP/Washlands providing fly overs such as various Gulls and corvids.
I was enjoying the site, I opted to latch onto a Long-tailed Tit flock and follow it, my novel approach to finding birds when you can't hear them: latch onto a Tit flock and see what they disturb/annoy as it moves along. This one destroying a web for it's content.


This one just posing

The flock stalking producded more common species, a male Sparrowhawk, Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a 'heard but not seen' Cettis Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler. It's a very small pity there isn't a box up for the Kestrel or optimistically a Barn Owl box. I even saw a large green exotica flying around our local council likes rounding this species up and placing them in aviaries so will let you guess what it was.
I got these Great Crested Grebes on one of the small ponds, the fish is a young perch and not a stickleback


As I left the Kestrel was again hovering in the  field with the pylon, I only spent an hour on site but was left with more places to explore as I didn't like leaving my bike padlocked up and will visit again on foot it's an interesting site despite it's location or does that make it more special?

8 comments:

  1. Definitely more special. I am amazed there is so much around when I consider the area around it.

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    1. I think you're right Adrian the amount of warehousing the road etc males it a little more special though I think it's more attractive to macro photographers etc plenty of bugs etc

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  2. The shots of the Long taled tit are wonderful. they always seem to be flitting about when I am trying to take them. I also love the young G C Grebe.

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    1. I think being juveniles probably helped they're cracking little birds to watch that always make me smile at their antics

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  3. Sounds like a welcome little wildlife haven in amongst the noise and mayhem Douglas, even the Chiffy is shouting about it!
    Cracking images of those cute young LTT's...[;o)

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    1. Cheers Trevor, I honestly don't think that you can beat Ltt's on both the cute & comical scale for birds. To put shouty Chiff-Chaff into some context I could only just hear the Cettis above the traffic yet clearly hear the Chiff-Chaff which was further away from me, not right lol

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  4. Doug, the work that you do just goes to show the importance of all of these little pockets of scrub and habitat to our wildlife ...... we all aspire to the day when they are all joined together to form corridors for safe passage of birds, sadly '' progress '' rolls forward.

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    1. I understand the nature corridor the wildlife trust and others are working towards is actually (last I heard) slightly ahead of schedule. It's interesting looking along the Nene Valley the importance of the work our local trust does. To be fair working in the logistics industry as I do, I do try and offset liking walking or cycling to do my birding, staying within the county to do my birding and use public transport. I haven't used my car to do any birding since December 2013, progress can be halted.

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