Sunday, May 16, 2010

Local Minsmere


Yesterday I commented that the local high ground "wasn't Minsmere". this morning I took elvis down the Stort Valley just south of Sawbridgeworth to the scrape. And it is quite like a mini-Minsmere.

There's a strip of land roughly one-field wide along the Stort Valley between Harlow and Stortford that is almost permanently wet. There are areas of reedbed, marsyh fields, a lagoon, and lots of rough fields and unkempt hedgerows. There is one reserve and at least two SSSI's. The land is not farmed with any seriousness, and is a guide to what the countryside may have been like a hundred years ago. you can see in the photo above a flooded rough field, and then beyond a field of Rape.

Today I stood on the bank looking into an open area of boggy willow scrub. A Grasshopper Warbler was singing out in the open in a Willow Tree. Behind me I could hear the low clicking of our resident male Garganey. It remains glued to a pair of Gadwall. the relationship seems quite a fractious one; the Garganey gets picked on by all the other ducks, and even in flight they seem to bicker and squabble, but its still here after a month so I guess that's how life is for a Garganey.

Otherwise there were Whitethroats in abundance, singing Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Sedge Warbler. 3 Jays, a Kestrel, a few Lapwings, a Bullfinch, and a host of other birds. overhead a few Swifts, a Swallow, and back in Sawbo a flock of about twenty House Martins

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