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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

higher ground

Another evening run round the area NW of Sawbo. I did my usual 5 stop strategy.

Minsmere it isn't. The plus side of this area is clear views across a large area. The down side is for the most part its a large area with nothing in it. Its a struggle to get into double figures for the number of species seen. Most are heard and not seen.

Today there were Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons, some Stock Doves, a few Yellowhammers, a few Whitethroats chuzzing away in hedgerows, a Corn Bunting in a tree, a Yellow Wagtail over, a pied wagtail, a swallow, and a Lapwing.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


In the midst of what seems to be a strong migration this year, managed to get out for a quick tour of the local high ground.

Yellow Wagtail 3, Wheatears 1f, otherwise Yellowhammers, 1 Lapwing, a distant singing Corn Bunting, and some Linnets. Mainly round Blounts Farm

Another pic down the scope.

Rarity chasing in Cambridgeshire part 2.

Last post left you on the edge of your seats as your intrepid birders ticked off the first of three potential rarities and headed off in sea...