Friday, 20 January 2012

8th January - The First Serious Walk

On Sunday the 8th, Helen and I took the chance to walk around the important sites of the square.  We started off in Chawton Park Wood, making our way there around the footpaths and down Boyneswood Road.

It is a shame to see the new housing going up here behind the old existing houses, somehow this just doesn’t look right, and you have to wonder about the planning guidelines that allow for this.  I know we need the houses, but surely they could be planned to make it look like a village and not jut a mess.
On reaching the wood car park, we were greeted with quite a few dog walkers, as a result we decided to follow the footpath going north on the east of the woods.  Almost immediately we came across a buzzard sitting on the fence post, it allowed us the chance to watch it before flying off to another post on the other side of the field.  As we walked on Redwing and Fieldfare called from the tops of the trees, and Robin could be heard singing.  The fields to the west looked very good for pheasant or partridge but nothing was found.

Looking towards Roe Farm

As we reached the northern limit the bird calls increased, and we were treated to large flocks of Long-tailed tits, Goldcrests and Blue Tits.  In addition Goldfinches were singing a kind of sub song, not quite a full song but completely different from the calls.  A couple of Nuthatches were also present giving good views as they called loudly from the top of the trees, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was drumming towards the north of the area.

Moving down the bridleway was difficult as it was very wet and muddy.  Tits continued to call in the larch tree tops, and I found a small flock of Siskins, also the previously heard Redwing and Fieldfares could now been seen as they flew across the rides and around the tree tops.
When the bridleway was joined by another path we decided to turn back toward Four Marks, almost immediately after we did do we came across a calling Bullfinch that then flew across the path revealing it to be a male.  This area looked a good possibility for woodlark and potentially nightjar and woodcock in the summer so I will definitely come back regularly

Chawton Park Wood
Chawton Park Wood Looking towards Alton
From Chawton Park we walked down through the footpaths to the fields between Blackberry and Alton Lane, there was nothing much here other than the about 20 Rooks feeding in the field, probably from the rookeries in Alton Lane, no doubt with the mild weather they will be nesting soon.  Taking the footpath alongside the garden centre we found more corvids in the fields, and a few Wrens in the scrub, a sudden Robin alarm call alerted us to a Sparrowhawk that flew low past us at speed.  Crossing Willis lane and taking the footpath towards Hawthorn we disturbed more Jays and a Green Woodpecker.  Another Buzzard was seen by the horse farm at Hawthorn, and a Coal Tit was seen along Kitwood lane.  As we approached the turn on Kitwood Lane plenty of Redwing and Fieldfare were in there usual place at the edge of the fields and in the trees.

At Swelling Hill Pond I did hope for a duck or moorhen but was disappointed as there was nothing stirring. 

Swelling Hill Pond
In Old Down Wood though we were able to once again watch a sizeable tit flock of Blue, Great, Long-tailed, and Coal tits along with a pair of nuthatches.  There was no sign of last year’s willow tit, but while searching through a flock of Goldfinches and Linnets, I managed to find a superb Marsh Tit, its identity sealed by it’s call. 

Approaching the crossroads in Old Down Wood
Walking out towards Brisland’s Lane, a Mistle Thrush was feeding in the field, and a Song Thrush completed the hand of thrushes as we climbed over the style out of the wood.  Two more Buzzards circled over the fields as we walked the last few metres home.

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