Windy Bank Wood 03.07.18

Hot and sunny with a welcome breeze

With the ‘Howling of the Dog Days of Summer’ being perhaps several weeks away on the calendar of the turning seasons Team Tuesday gathered at what would normally be expected as the ‘Whimpering of the Puppies’ stage in natures ever changing cycle but this date set months ago had not the insight into what is now being seen as the ‘big brother of ’76 which today suggested that this was to be a possible ‘hot and bothered’ amble with little to see, undaunted off we set for within our collective spirit we knew ‘things’ would turn up—they always do.

Goldfinch provided the background sound as we headed off through the horse paddock whilstGatekeeper and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies caught our eye as they danced with delight about a weed strewn corner of said paddock….oh yes things of flight were to observed but perhaps not those which would populate a Day List of birds, but one which would be of equal measure and headed ‘Nature Walk Encounters’.

Glaze reached a Kestrel sat out on some wires saving itself the effort of hovering as it peered intently into another ‘overgrown’ patch of life but this neat raptor was soon eclipsed by a family party of Swallowwhich not only drew our attention but captivated our spirits as four youngsters sat out on a twig and waited hungrily for their parents to feed them..all no doubt believing that life will always be like this day. We in our wisdom chose not to share our collective knowledge of life but rather we ourselves, for this short sweep of time I feel, also believed in their premise…for such was this day and this encounter.

Sunshine cast our shadows about the track that leads to the reserve as we chatted away the time safe in the knowledge that not too many birds would be distracting us from our main purpose of just being together in a quietly beautiful area after a sometimes frenetic ‘year’ of birdwatching.

Buzzard, Magpie and Swift kept the list ticking over, but I felt that our day’s recorder felt not too challenged with scribing on this gloriously hot sunny day. Meadows had been somewhat prematurely shorn (in my opinion) of their wildflower carpet,  but there were pockets of thistle/vetches/daisies etc., which still housed butterflies adding Comma, Meadow Brown, Large White and Red Admiral to our ‘Lepidoptera’ list but more importantly these poems on the wing thrummed out vibrant rhythms to delight us as we sauntered through this now HOT summer’s day.

A Willow Warbler in alarm reminded us that our bird recognition skills through sound had paid off, as did the contact calls of a family party of Bullfinch, but at least with the latter a couple of this family did come briefly into view as did a pair of Jay, which no doubt were the cause of the previous birds constant calls for the Corvids were no doubt looking for food…and we know what eclectic eaters such birds are!

Next  a brief, but welcome plod through a sheltered area of woodland offered us a short IMG_3673respite from the pounding heat, but relax we could not for here a cacophony of alarms calls from Wren/Blue/Greatand Willow Tit told us of a potential ground predator which remained unseen but we ‘knew’ it was there..the birds certainly did!

Dragonflies next demanded our attention, and rightly so, for none could deny the majesty of an Emperor Dragonfly as it cast its shadow and good grace over our admiring eyes whilst it roamed about its domain. Four Spotted Chasers whizzed about whilst Damselflies (either Azure or Common) played in the wisps of breeze that fortunately played a part in this sun sapping day of perpetual rays. A Whitethroat called us back to birdwatching as it sang out its discordant ‘beginner-stage violinist’ scratchy song whilst to counterbalance in the richness of tone offered by one who has mastered the instrument both a Blackcap and Garden Warbler performed their best.

A Broad Bodied Chaser posed in order that we may admire its powder blue hue and admire it we did for we were well aware that this winged confirmation of the beauty of nature was only to grace the skies for but one brief summer such is the whimfulness of mother nature.

It was then time to seek the rest of summer away perhaps from most of the Team but ALL present would not be able to escape from nature as each time we lift our eyes or open our ears ‘something’ will captivate us ..it always does…it always will.

Well, the previous paragraph could have quietly closed the day if it hadn’t have been for ‘the bridge’ for on our return trek we were encouraged to delay fond farewells by Banded Demoiselles, House Martin, Tufted Duck, Pied Wagtail and a gathering of Green Veined White Butterflies which, as if a rugby scrum, were ‘tightly’ packed about what I can only imagine was a mineral rich piece of ground …. ahh the wonderment of nature and its ability to halt a stride .. but strides did then follow..cars reached and finally ‘byes’ were said … September we hope will soon be calling us to reassemble! (DS)

Bird List (MHo)

  1. Canada goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Tufted duck
  4. Common buzzard
  5. Kestrel
  6. Moorhen
  7. Lapwing
  8. Wood pigeon
  9. Swift
  10. Swallow
  11. House martin
  12. Pied wagtail
  13. Blackbird
  14. Whitethroat
  15. Long-tailed tit
  16. Great tit
  17. Nuthatch
  18. Jay
  19. Magpie
  20. Carrion crow
  21. Chaffinch
  22. Goldfinch
  23. Linnet
  24. Wren (heard)
  25. Willow Tit (heard)
  26. Garden Warbler (heard)
  27. Chiffchaff (heard)
  28. Blackcap (heard)
  29. Bullfinch (heard)

Butterflies: Meadow Brown; Comma; Gatekeeper; Small White; Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral

Dragonflies: Four-spotted Chaser; Common Darter; Emperor; Broad-bodies Chaser

Damselflies: Banded Demoiselle; Azure Damselfly; Blue-tailed Damselfly

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