Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hatchlands Park Walk.

In a month's time I'll be leading a Dawn Chorus walk again for the National Trust at Hatchlands Park so as the park has just reopened to visitors from 10am I took the opportunity yesterday to carry out a reconnoitre by following 'The Long Walk'. 

The sign says 'allow 1.5 hours and stout, waterproof shoes are essential' ... certainly NOT after our long dry spell. At the Ice House I noticed the first small patch of Bluebells coming into bloom. Despite the lack of overhead foliage most of the birding was done by ear. As I passed The Centenary Plantation Chiffchaff and Blackcap were both singing prominently. While seeking out a Mistle Thrush belting out its calls from a very high perch a Common Buzzard appeared high over the treetops and quickly disappeared from view. 

Views across the parkland from the highest point on my walk.

As I entered Little Wix Wood another Blackcap was heard singing from its usual patch of dense shrubbery while Blue and Great Tits flitted about with a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming.
It won't be long before the whole area is carpeted in blue .... so if you live in the south-east UK and want to see Bluebells I wouldn't leave it too long .... like last year the best displays are going to be early unless a really heavy cold snap holds them back.

A brief rest at the Old Barn Information Centre (which is sorely in need of revamping the posters etc.) where I was fortunate to catch a couple of cropped images of a soaring Common Buzzard.

Heading towards the most northernmost boundary the wild flowers provided an alternative medium to photograph (Primroses, Violets and Wood Anemone) while a number of Nuthatches stridently called as they  moved through the trees. I also added Pheasant, Dunnock, Green Woodpecker (heard laughing), Long-tailed Tit plus the usual corvids, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Jay and a distant squawk from a Parakeet. Several more Chiffchaffs where located plus a record shot only (see collage below) of a male Blackcap.

Mahonia in full flower certainly brightened up the tree lined pathway before I headed  back into the open to check out the inhabitants of Sheepwash Lake (really only a pond) ... Canada Geese, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot. As I returned towards the car park droplets of water started to fall .... the first rain for such a long, long time but regretfully it didn't amount to much ... hardly dampened the soils surface.    FAB. 

13 comments:

  1. What a wonderful account and good luck on leading your walk. Spring is springing is it not even if the weather has taken a turn for the worst for now?

    Kind Regards

    Tony Powell

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  2. A lovely looking site Frank. The dry spell has finished here at the moment, maybe I will need stout, waterproof footwear for my ventures out for a while! ;)
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  3. Looks like you have had a nice spring so far. Here, where I live, in Ohio, we have been hot or cold and while we get rain, it is never the right amount. Still, all the flower seeds I planted seem to have sprouted and are growing. Maybe it will all fill in soon.

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  4. Frank, what a splendid walking path with so much to see, hear and photograph! The posies growing there are right in line with the same growing period here;) My Bluebells are at the same stage as the ones you shared~

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  5. really enjoyed your walk; it took me lots of places and saw lots of things. Loved the bluebells too! Am sure your tour group will enjoy the sights in store for them ..

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  6. Enjoyed the walk Frank, so many wonderful photos here; the bluebells are so sweet. Your tour group have a lot in store; enjoy with them.

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  7. Thanks for taking us along on your walk. Just lovely.

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  8. you've got some beautiful blooms. your bluebells are like our bluebonnets. :) i like the roof on that old building.

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  9. Love your collages! We're already in need of some spring moisture here.

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  10. Every thing here is beautiful...
    What a lovely blog!
    Congrats!

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  11. I would love to do this walk with you Frank. It looks like it would really be a lot of fun. It looks to be a nice place too. Carol

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  12. naturestimeline. Thanks for your visit and comments Tony. Just a light shower only here today but probably worse to come.

    Hi John. I should keep those wellies handy!

    Hi Abe. I do hope you'll soon be looking at a sea of colour.

    Hi Mary. With at least 15 deg difference in latitude between us I guess many of our plants are a little ahead of themselves again this year.

    Hi Carole. I'm honoured today .. two lots of comments .. thank you.

    Hi Karen. You know you are always very welcome to join me.

    Hi Theresa. The seasonal colours are blue and yellow .. of course.

    Hi Mona. I do hope you get some rainfall soon.

    Hi BlueShell. Thank you for your visit and lovely words.

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  13. Hi Carol. Well unless you fly over I guess you'll just have to be my virtual guest. Hopefully there will be a little more green and some early blooms in a months time plus the prospect of a few more species to listen to.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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