7 August 2014

Not a lot of migging birds: Aug 7

It was already hot when I hit the patch today and with clear overnight skies I wasn't too optimistic. The brooms were empty apart from one Swallow emphatically going south.  What action there was this time was in the enclosure at the east end of Long Wood and, surprise surprise, consisted of Whitethroat. A Garden Warbler put in an appearance and when Dan arrived we picked out two Lesser Whitethroat, looking dead smart, in an elder.  A Willow Warbler briefly gave in to singing a bit and a couple of Swallow joined the House Martin throng over the wood.Dan left just before 9:00 to do reality tasks while I grabbed a coffee and headed for disappointment at the Alex.

Just beyond the Alex scrub I found a large burnt area of grass.  Burnt areas are generally good for birds, not so good for the poor inverts who tend to get cooked, but decidedly good for birds. Last time we had burnt scrub down here the (first) Wryneck was a regular, plus a few Redstart. This looks to me to be an even better situation - scrub on 3-sides - couldn't have planned it better myself.  Nearer to the small oak copse which marks the eastern boundary of the Alex scrub, I found another singed stage. The fires must have happened yesterday afternoon as I am pretty sure I would have noticed them when I was down here last.

This second plot looks as promising, if not better than the first,and with another burnt patch where Dan got the second Pied Fly, things could get interesting. Which brings me neatly on to the Corporation's plans to cut fire breaks across the grassland.  They will probably hold these little fires up as reason enough for the process to begin, not that it's their idea - just another health and safety necessity being forced on them by some government body or other.  What it does mean is less habitat for Skylarks and Pipits, as the breaks require 6 metres to be cut either side of existing paths. Tim has been approached for his approval and has managed to get some compromises, but all in all its another attack on the diminishing habitat on the flats. Which makes my plans for increased grassland regeneration all the more pressing (see here "a-little-post-about-posts").

Back to the present. 5 Common Whites and a Lesser was my reward for broiling gently around the scrub so I made my way back for a sprint finish round the SSSI.  Unsurprisingly that was pretty quiet too, though a few Swift passing overhead became a sizable flock feeding over Centre Copse to the east, probably the last big flock I'll see for this year.  Going to miss 'em.

Coot football: lining up for a free kick, scratch, peck general punch up in the finest traditions of the game

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