Aylmerton Nature Diary

Saturday 10th December

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I spent most of this morning at the allotments on a GPC working party, tidying up the southern boundary, including dealing with, unfortunately, a recently fallen old Hawthorn – the one that the Spotted Flycatcher was using as a perch, earlier in the year! If that wasn’t bad enough, my afternoon walk was ruined when, whilst walking down the lane, I saw the devastation which has recently been caused to the hedge running down the Scarrow Beck, across Aylmerton Common. Most of the mature gorse has been entirely grubbed-out – I’m heart-broken. This is fabulous habitat – home to a regular flock of Linnets, and autumn feeding for Whinchat and warblers. With so little rough grazing and scrub left in the parish, this is a real blow.

Two male Shoveler on the water meadows

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I was therefore rather distracted as I walked towards the lake, through the shelter-belt. My spirits were lifted slightly when I saw two male Shoveler busy feeding on the water meadow, together with 200 Teal, the usual Mallard, a few Gadwall and three Wigeon. There was more water-bird interest when I came across a Coot at the lake – the first I’ve seen here for a couple of months. Two Water Rail were calling noisily from the reed-bed and the Barn Owl was quartering the rough grazing below the dam.

Coot – a new arrival on the lake. Poor photo taken in bad light

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Male Wigeon, one of three – water meadows

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I came back via Red Barn Lane, not being able to face the habitat destruction up The Street. A lone Fieldfare called a couple of times from a thick Hawthorn before finally flying up into a Poplar tree. There was a nice flock of Chaffinch and a couple of Bullfinch as I cut through Mallett’s Meadows on my way home.

Fieldfare – the first since the early autumn influx

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