Quiet Week

(Entry copied from my WAB blog)

It’s been a quiet week. I’m still fealing rather weak after the virus I had a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t been able to go for my usual long walks.

I did go for a 2.5 hour walk round Ashridge on Monday morning, but felt really tired afterwards. It was a beautiful morning, and the woods at Ashridge were gorgeous. I walked very slowly, and stopped very often to take photographs. I saw three or four groups of Fallow Deer and a pair of Muntjac Deer, but all were too far away or too well hidden by the trees for me to get a decent photograph. I saw a Coal Tit and a Wren too.

On Wednesday I drove for about an hour to Turville in Buckinghamshire (it’s the village used as the setting for ‘The Vicar of Dibley’). I spent about four hours wandering the footpaths of Turville and the neighbouring hamlet of Fingest looking for Red Kites and Buzzards to photograph. I probably walked about 3-4 miles in all that time. I saw plenty of Red Kites and two or three Buzzards, but sadly never any came close enough for me to get a really decent photo. I did get a photo of an escaped Harris Hawk, though.

Harris Hawk

Every other day of the week I’ve spent an hour or more photographing birds from my makeshift ‘hide’ in the garden (well, it’s the summer-house really). Nothing unusual turned up, the only irregular visitors that came were a pair of Goldfinches which turned up very briefly a couple of times, both quite early in the morning. A Great Tit had a narrow escape when a Sparrowhawk swooped on it – the Tit escaped through a bush, the much bigger Sparrowhawk struggled to get through the bush after it, and so the Tit managed to survive the encounter. The Sparrowhawk perched briefly on the fence, but it was hidden by the bush so I couldn’t get a photo.

I did snap this little critter, though, which ambled out of the flower beds to help itself to some spilled bird food. I posted its photo on the WAB mammal forum, where it was identified as a Bank Vole.

Bank Vole

This morning I spent about three hours bird watching in the garden. Strangely neither the Greenfinches nor the Long-tailed Tits turned up at all, but I did see Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Starling, Robin, Magpie, Chaffinch and Jackdaw. The highlight was seeing a Blackbird take a bath, using the netting over the goldfish pond.



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