News archive

April 2010

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Yellow wagtail in winter wheat

Visit to Earl's Hill, Shropshire

The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky as we wound our way down to the reserve of Earl's Hill in Shropshire. Being no fools, we opted for the easier walk around the hill rather than the punishing walk up to the top of the hill! From the river running around the base of the hill we could hear the gentle trickle of water as we made our way through the old wood. This was truly an enchanting place! No noise could be heard except for the river and the singing birds. Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit and Nuthatch were everywhere. Green woodpeckers could be heard calling from the fields below the hill but despite our best efforts could not be seen. Sadly, the cold weather and northerly winds of the previous weeks had halted many migrants, so the promised good numbers of Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers singing didn't materialise. However, after much hard searching in a likely spot, we eventually caught up with a lovely male Pied Flycatcher who could be seen checking out one of the nest boxes. Another super find was a pair of Marsh Tits just off the path close to the river. The tranquillity of the location even calmed the jangled nerves of the trip leader as he desperately tried to find a Redstart just to 'round off' the day but alas it was not to be. We did manage, on the walk back to the car park, catch up with a pair of Peregrines as they lazily flew around the side of the hill.

With spirits high, despite the lack of any 'bacon butties' we decided to try another Shropshire Wildlife reserve at Polemere only around half a mile away. Again, we were not disappointed with 5 Goosander, a good number of Swallows, Sparrowhawk, Buzzards and the most pristine plumaged male Yellow Wagtail you could ever hope to see.

Who needs 'bacon butties' when you can see birds like these?