Trip reports

Claybury Woods/Park Dusk Walk on 16th Jun 2019

Goldfinch on seed feeder
Goldfinch (rspb-images)

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Thanks to Rich for the write-up:

After last year's successful dusk walk to Connaught Water, we decided to do another one to what was the old site of the Claybury Hospital. It was a pleasant, sunny evening if not a little breezy as we set off and straight away we could hear various songs and calls of different bird species which were remaining out of view, the thick foliage of the trees and bushes at this time of year hiding them.

One of them was the Song Thrush as it sang its loud, short phrases repeating each one three or four times. This really is one of the classic bird songs you will hear on summer's evening and this species will even sing during the night too!
Another common sound at this time of the year are the contact calls of young birds that have recently fledged the nest and as we made our way along a path we could hear what we believe to be juvenile Robins, again out of sight as were deep within the dense bushes. We had a brief show of a Buzzard as it flew overhead before disappearing again over the trees. A Wren sang its powerful song nearby and also a Blackcap with its sweet notes, this really was a walk for hearing the birds rather than seeing them so far!

We continued on through a wooded area and on either side of the path grew Wild Garlic. An interesting fact is that where present, this British native relative of the onion is a sure sign that you are walking through very old woodland!
A Blackbird sung high above up in an old Oak, after a little patience we managed to find the male belting out his beautiful mellow song letting any nearby rivals know this was his patch!

Moving on we walked through the old orchard which is said was most likely originally planted to produce fruit for the hospital and is slowly being nurtured back to its former glory today.

We then stopped at the pond where several Mallards in their eclipse plumage swam around in tandem dabbling while a pair of Coots kept a close eye on their three young and a lone Moorhen fed quietly as it weaved in and out of the reeds. House Sparrows were flitting in and out of the bushes around the water, it's always nice to see these once very numerous birds whose numbers have declined in recent years, although recent surveys suggest a moderate recovery in numbers in certain areas.

The final part of the walk brought us to one of the more open areas of the site, a Kestrel hovered and soared at a low height as it hunted for prey and we also spotted a very obliging Goldfinch perched in a tree, to the delight of the group we were able to watch this colourful little bird as it sang and preened with really close up views through the scopes. We finished the walk listening to the gentle 'cooing' of a Stock Dove and a Song Thrush (presumably the same bird we heard at the start of the walk) was singing as the light began to fade.

Total number of different bird species seen : 25