Trip reports

Paxton Pits

Paxton Pits
Corinne Housechild

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A glorious sunny morning greeted the members of St Albans group who arrived at Paxton Pits and we had not gone far before we encountered our first sighting. In a clearing not far from the car park, a willow warbler was singing from a wire in full view above our heads. It was obvious he was not a chiffchaff. We moved further into the reserve watching the ducks on the lakes and the cormorants nesting in the trees on the water's edge, many of whom had chicks. The highlight of the day came next, not far from the first hide. In full view from the path, a nightingale was singing lustily. It was spellbinding to watch, we could not tear ourselves away. As he sang his whole body, including his tail, shook creating the unmistakable sound. What a magnificent treat, the first sighting of such an elusive bird for many in the group.

In the afternoon, we walked around one of the other lakes and we treated to a close up view of a pair of great crested grebes, resplendent in the sun in their breeding plumage. To my mind they are really beautiful birds. The day was rounded off with an ice cream from the visitor centre before setting off for home.

Carline Antram

Birds: Great crested grebe, Cormorant, Grey heron, Mute swan, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted duck, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Red-legged partridge, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common tern, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Green woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Swallow, House Martin, Pied wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nightingale, Lesser whitethroat, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed bunting. Total 49 species.

Butterflies: Orange tip, Brimstone, Small white, Small tortoiseshell,

Green-veined white, Holly blue, Speckled wood

Mammals: Muntjack deer, Weasel (or was it a stoat?)