Trip reports

Gadespring, Hemel Hempstead, Sunday 26th February 2017

Gadespring, Hemel Hempstead, Sunday 26th February 2017
Little Egret - Ian Parker

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Arriving shortly after 8am, the unexpected morning sun was breaking through the trees. Being the first to arrive, a walk was taken down the length of the reserve. On the way numerous wrens were heard and seen singing in the small bushes, but none wanted to pose close up. A little egret which had been 'perched' in a tree was unintentionally disturbed, and flew off to the far end of the reserve, only to be disturbed yet again from another tree at the end of the reserve, before flying back up the reserve. There was also much activity from blue and great tits, dunnocks and robins in the bushes along the footpath. There was also much evidence of work being undertaken on a new scrape, approximately half way along the reserve, previously used as a watercress bed.

Back at the hide, with its relatively new screening side fence, the water level in the scrape was found to be much higher than on a previous visit. From the hide (now full to capacity) there was sporadic but intense activity outside. The feeders were being visited by blue, great and long tailed tits, dunnocks, robins, chaffinch and reed buntings (f). Areas below the feeders were being foraged by moorhen, carrion crow, moorhen and rat. Occasionally, a kingfisher flew past, and on two occasions one briefly perched on fence posts on the far side of the scrape. Also, on several occasions a little egret briefly landed in a tree on the far side of the scrape. Whilst at the very end of the visit, two little egrets landed on the main island in the scrape before taking flight.

This island also featured considerable activity of a different nature. There were tens, if not many tens, of frogs indulging in what frogs do at this time of year! They were all located at one spot within the reeds/grasses at the edge of the island, more noticeable when the water became 'agitated' for short periods.

A good morning, particularly as the weather was better than forecast. In total, 18 species were seen, plus frog, rat and a possible sighting of a weasel with prey.

The Boxmoor Trust has undertaken and is still undertaking considerable and impressive work on the reserve. Apart from the above mentioned fencing and scrape works, a lot of undergrowth clearance work has been undertaken, whilst there are new metal entrance gates. A further hide, overlooking the new scrape when it is finished, seems to be a future possibility.

Members attending: Mike Bassett ; Derek Griffin and Ian Parker.

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