Trip reports

Chalfont Park

Chalfont Park
Ben Hall, RSPB images

Saturday, 18 January 2020

It was interesting to see what birds and wildlife could be found on this urban edge. The Park included several different habitats, which, with the exception of the manicured golf course, were home to several bird species. The golf course was totally lacking in any signs of caring for the natural environment. This is not typical in these enlightened times
Once across the immaculate lawn, we headed into woodland. There were many lovely Scots Pines, with their red trunks looking bold in the gorgeous sunshine. This was the first sunny day for many weeks, so we were acutely aware of the bright light. Blue tits were by far the most ubiquitous bird of the day. We listened out for goldcrests, but the light aircraft were out in large numbers, so it was noisy. But there were crows, magpies, wood pigeons and robins too. Alongside the River Misbourne, the woods were of oaks, silver birch and large grey poplars. In this area we saw some chaffinches, a great spotted woodpecker, a wren, and several redwings. Again, we found blue tits galore, some great and long tailed tits too. A song thrush sang from a distance.
The most striking sight came from the tufted ducks, on the expanded river, which formed a small lake. They were close to us, and they were astonishing for their yellow eyes against their black and white plumage. Even the females were stunning. So often we ignore them. Coots were grazing over on the other bank. We had good views of a buzzard pair in the sun and also of a heron.
This was not a bad tally, but things may get worse, with housing developments coming soon and the HS2 works which are nearby.
Carol Smith