Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ampthill Park

This morning I spent a couple of hours with the Greensand Volunteers who were working on the main Flushes at Ampthill Park. Apart from the obligatory tea-breaks, I stopped a few times: once to watch a Hobby flying gracefully over the top of The Darkenings, and then to watch 3 Buzzards - 2 adults and a juvenile - enjoying themselves in the breeze alongside the private woodland where they nested this year. At one point I watched one of them sweep by a tree and grasp something with outstretched talons. It swept into the air before dropping it....an acorn! I've never seen this behaviour before. Another one came past with a large stick dangling from its talons. As I watched the Buzzards I noticed a number of Swallows heading in a southerly direction. Birdguides earlier reported 21,000 Swallows south past Spurn Head (plus 6,500 House Martins & 800 Sand Martins), so there's obviously some serious migration going on today!

This is Bob walking away from the mower, not towards it. He's just ran over a Wasp's nest. You can't see the occupants but, believe me, they're there! Mowing and cutting back this Flush over the past year or two has resulted in a real flush of plants and invertebrates in the spring and early summer.

And here's one of last year's Wasps' nests that Frances found while she was strimming. Good job this one was empty!

Here's Frances trying to get Colin's attention to tell him it's time for tea! Notice the bench and Silver Birch scrub in the background...

....we cut back some of the scrub here to open up the view from the bench. If you sit there now you can see right across the southern end of the Flush, the woodland edge, and parts of the field to the north. I'll be there at dawn and/or dusk as soon as I can to see what turns up!

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