Sunday, 29 May 2011

Snake in the grass

Sunday 29th May 2011

Birding in Warwickshire can be a bit samey away from reservoirs and old gravel workings. Particularly with songbirds in decline. I got quite excited yesterday hearing 3 Lesser Whitethroats singing in the hedges along my walk around Caldecote Hall, between Nuneaton and Atherstone. Birds were few and far between, keeping down in the strong wind. I heard a few Whitethroats and saw a small flock of Linnets and a dozen or so Skylarks. So nothing unusual, its times like these that the mind starts to wander, imagining what might be on the track just round the next bend or perched up in the next group of bushes. What comes into your mind comes into my mind are species which are extremely unlikely but just possible. In the past it might have included Wryneck or Golden Oriole but now I'd be happy to see a Turtle dove or Spotted Flycatcher in North Warwickshire. The fantasy list has got bigger. So, back in the real world I was also pleased to find a pair of Grey Partridge on the walk. Other species encountered included a single Yellow Wagtail, 6 Stock Doves, a pair of Lapwing, a Yellowhammer and the a couple of Kestrel. Corvids were well represented paticularly Magpies and Jackdaws, the numbers of both have increased dramatically in my area in recent years. They must be heavily predating ground nesting species at the moment in these dry conditions. Even the Wheat is barely a foot high and many other crops with the exception of Oil seed Rape has barely germinated, offering very little cover for nesting birds.
The walk also produced a Grass Snake which moved very slowly through some long grass at the edge of one of the Wheatfields.

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