18 October 2014

Into the valley

A breezy, overcast but still very warm Saturday morning saw the family opt for a leg stretch along Leam Valley, with no complaints from me :-)

It was quiet on the outward stretch, so we passed our time finding moss, bugs and unusual fungi to amuse a young naturalist determined to use his new magnifying bug jars.

Not much seemed to improve when we got to the scrape, with just a grey heron and a couple of moorhens (plus of course countless wood pigeons) to watch from the hide.

But a move to the screen at the other end did improve matters somewhat - a pair of gadwall and two pairs of teal greeted us at the low water edge.

The gadwall in particular is uncommon on this site; indeed a brief search through notes suggests these may be a first for me at Leam Valley.

We picked up plenty of jays on the return journey, a pair of sparrowhawks displayed and danced around each other briefly, and the final treat was a biggish flock of goldfinch and chaffinches, feeding determinedly on thistle and teasel heads at the north edge of the meadow.

Bird of the day: Gadwall , resident in small numbers during the summer, but much more frequent from autumn through winter - though still by no means common. Most often found around the edges of deeper water than Leam Valley offers, so a nice surprise.

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