Sunday, 9 November 2008

Friday 7th November 2008

A Quiet Corner of Somerset

This afternoon I had to drive up to Wiltshire in order to pick up my elderly parents and bring them down to East Devon tomorrow to stay for a holiday. I had a little time before it got dark, so I stopped at Bruton to see if I could find the Hawfinches that were seen the previous two days. I parked up and walked along Mill Lane to Lower Backway. I scanned the prescribed trees, wandered round the immediate area for a while and didn't see any Hawfinches!What did amaze me though, was the sheer number of small birds that were to be seen. I suppose they were attracted to the cover provided by the trees and bushes alongside the tiny River Brue. I soon realised there were lots of tits in the vicinity. Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits were present, with the latter two species providing the closest views. The Long-tails were obliging enough to hang around a couple of bushes just ten feet from where I was stood, whilst the Coal Tits actually inspected a plant-covered wall for insects only six feet away! A couple of Goldcrests were busy feeding across the road as well. The ash trees which acted as suitable perches for Hawfinches yesterday did the same for some Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches today. A Buzzard passed low overhead at one point, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker called briefly. Blackbirds were busy chasing each other around the ivy-covered trunks and a couple of Pied Wagtails put in an appearance. Collared Doves vied with the Wood Pigeons in making their presence felt, whilst Jackdaws were noisy on surrounding rooftops. Star of the show though was a female Blackcap which materialised out of the greenery just before I left the quiet backwater that is Bruton.
I carried on my journey towards Wiltshire and with a few minutes remaining of half-light, I quickly scanned Orchardleigh Lake, an old stomping ground of mine from some forty years ago! A couple of Great Crested Grebes were the highlights here, but apart from the usual Pochard and Tufted Ducks, which I could just about make out in the dimming vestiges of light, there seemed to be nothing else of note here. I carried on to the Wiltshire village and found my parents in good health and ready for their break in Devon!

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