Belated report from the Monday walk! Myself, Angela, Hazel, Ian, Maggie and, joining us for a walk for the first time, Pat N. 44 species seen or heard.
From the start we were serenaded by Chiffchaffs – very rarely were we out of earshot of one. Song Thrushes in good voice too. At the “crossroads” we watched a cheeky Jackdaw with a beakful of nesting material disappear down into the chimney of Victoria House, and heard the wheeze of a Greenfinch. Still some ducks on the water to the west – about 20 Teal, 30 Shoveler and 40 Wigeon. One pair of Pintail noticed, and a couple of Lapwing. Down by the heronry 3 Grey Herons were loafing around by the stream, with a Little Egret. Could have been one heron sitting on the nest, but not sure. Three Cormorants in the oak tree, looked like immature birds, but were they sitting by nests.
As we neared Stretham a Blackcap broke into song in the trees, and along the river we heard a Reed Bunting in song, but unusually it was hiding and we could find it – normally they sit at the top of a bush. A pair of Egyptian Geese took off and flew east – what a strange noise they make! The overflow pit wasn’t showing any emergent vegetation yet so the swans were looking a bit bored – if they’d started nest building, they would have been flooded out. A group of 4 Linnets flew up from the brambles by the river, then one was briefly heard singing on Sharon J’s land. Two Lesser-Black-backed Gulls landed near New Inn.
Coming back along the bridleway a Brimstone butterfly zipped past, and we saw a Red Kite over Canons. Ian took a fabulous photo of the Skunk Cabbage in the ponds. It’s an invasive American species, introduced into the UK in 1947 – banned from sale here in 2016. According to an American website it’s useful to dissuade squirrels from eating your corn or raccoons getting into your tomatoes! One of our members had been working on a protein it produces which results in a release of heat from the plants which is now proving invaluable in the treatment of African sleeping sickness and has potential for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – amazing what you can learn!