Sunday, 15 May 2016
The Green, Green Grass of Home
A day spent around the homelands, the annual spring ElyWildspace Bird Race as a starting point. The early morning saw lovely weather with blue skies and barely a breath of breeze across the greening canopy, it was great to be out and the air warmed nicely through to the finish at 11. Nothing outrageous to be seen be a healthy 75 aggregate by a healthy dozen observers included Grey Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Little Ringed Plover, Bearded Tit, Cetti's Warbler, some stunning Kingfisher action and a great deal of Marsh Harrier and Buzzard activity. The fine day gave us a great chance to enjoy the simpler stuff of birding and take in the subtlety of tones and contrast of a Lesser Whitethroat's head, the chintzy charisma of Goldfinch in its glory and lots of opportunity to navigate through the myriad birdsong layered through each of the habitats, the chunter of Sedge Warbler audible from almost every spot.
Goldfinch were much in evidence on the stroll I took down the Devil's Dyke between Reach and Burwell this afternoon. With the sun dipping in and out from between gathering clouds I decided to look for butterflies. Brimstone and Orange Tip were pretty evident with the odd Peacock dancing around too. A Holly Blue drew my attention and a Dingy Skipper whizzed past, I followed it in flight for a bit but didn't see it on the ground unfortunately. My target though did give itself up readily and a pristine Green Hairstreak allowed close and prolonged observation. The one year old strapped to my chest in a baby carrier was more patient than could be expected as I tried to photograph the green gem. Her head had to find a comfortable position beneath mine and all the optical gubbins held steady against her, vocal protestations were falling on deaf ears so she quickly found that banging the lens would get my attention, we eventually came to some kind of compromise as I got quite a few photos.
My recent trip to Yorkshire with it's healthy and expanding population of Red Kites had led me to speculate that it only be a matter of time until they start to proliferate within the Fens. I have seen a few in this area, in the south of the Ely10, over the past year and today I saw a bird following the tractor and this bird alighted in the freshly tilled field a few times before cruising up and down the Dyke at the Reach end. A welcome sight on any day out.