Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at Papercourt

Mid-week Walk at Papercourt
Peter Hambrook

Monday, 17 October 2016

Weather: Fine and dry but a stiff northerly wind. 13C
There was a decent turn-out for this walk around the lock and surrounding countryside. The field opposite the car park held an unusually high number of stock doves gathered in one favoured area, along with a few Egyptian geese, Canada geese and numerous jackdaws, rooks and carrion crows.

A walk along the road revealed only a cormorant, so we headed across the water meadows to the lock, finding a few stonechats in the rough grass en route. The lock produced a grey wagtail for some, while a look across the Papercourt Water Meadows reserve revealed one of the resident kestrels plus a red kite overhead pursued by the usual retinue of crows. We then walked along the canal to the Tannery Lane bridge without seeing anything of note but hearing a green woodpecker.

Varying our normal route, we walked along the lane to Papercourt Farm where we searched for the little owl without success. This area, being more sheltered, did produce the resident flock of house sparrows, starlings, goldfinches and a song thrush, all bathing in a large puddle. Heading up the lane towards the sailing club, we managed a limited view of the Papercourt Marshes reserve which added shoveler, little grebe and wigeon to the list plus a briefly seen wren and great spotted woodpecker.

The final part of the walk, along the footpath bordering the sailing lake, added to the water birds with black-headed gulls, two common gulls, gadwalls, coots , moorhens and great crested grebes all seen, the latter showing signs of courtship display.

Perhaps due to the hiatus period between summer and winter, with summer visitors gone and most winter visitors still to arrive in our area, this pleasant walk was not as productive as one might have hoped.

PETER HAMBROOK