An appointment today, set up by my friend Tony, at Hatchlands Park for an initial discussion about assisting them to introduce a spring bird walk into their event calendar. Our chat centred mainly around a 'Dawn Chorus' walk which they are very keen to organise. The feedback was very positive and I must now wait to see if the suggested proposals are acceptable.
Hatchlands is set in the beautiful 430 acre Repton Park, offering a variety of parkland and woodland walks. So after our chat Tony and I took a gentle stroll around the park so that we could explore likely locations for specific species. The predominant species throughout the park were corvids; Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies plus one sighting of a Jay. Starting from the house we headed off across the very damp grassland towards Rookery Pond where two Mallard quickly took flight as we approached.
An Egyptian Goose strutting ahead of us.
Friendly encounter with a 'Dexter' at the entrance to Great Wix Wood.
On entering the woodland we saw Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Parakeets, Blue and Great Tits everywhere and heard Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers plus a Common Buzzard calling overhead.
We stopped briefly at the Old Barn information point where there are a number of feeders but unfortunately they are not regularly refilled so very little activity to observe here today!
Tony's tree top search located Long-Tailed Tits and then Goldfinches high in the oak canopy.
One of the hard-crafted toadstools alongside the path.
Somewhere to rest awhile?
Heading south-west we stopped at a break in the woodland boundary overlooking open fields and picked up three Common Buzzards circling high in the sky plus masses of Woodpigeons feeding on a crop of maize and then a single Dunnock skulking silently in the hedgerow.
At Sheepwash Lake we caught up with Canada Geese, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron (flying away), Green Woodpecker and a Cormorant. A Little Owl is regularly seen in the roadside trees but not visible to us today. The lake is apparently a good spot for a Kingfisher sighting plus Bats feeding on insects at dusk. Navigating around the house, passing the Walled Garden, The Dell and the Ice House got us back to our starting point after a pleasant 1.5 - 2 mile stroll without the need for waterproofs, just wellies to keep our feet dry!
The park has many venerable oaks that provide structure to this landscape as well as a superb habitat for many species. During our exploration we spotted various other habitats that should provide excellent locations for seeing migrant visitors such as Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroats etc. in the spring. I'm looking forward to making some more exploratory visits in the next month or so. FAB.