Sunday, 1 May 2011

Royal Wedding walk at Grenofen Woods 29th April

Today was Prince Williams and Kates wedding, an extra bank holiday and a day off for me! Quite pleased as the NHS in England is not paying bank holiday rates unlike Wales and Scotland, how very patriotic! So I thought I would head to Grenofen Woods, expecting it to be quiet as everybody would be watching the wedding on the telly. Sunday service buses meant I got there at around 09:30 and it was quiet with only a few cars in the car park but by the time I left it was busy with people emptying their dogs and shouting and yelling while their dogs were barking. The path from Grenofen Bridge to Magpie Bridge was closed for engineering work but I don't usually walk that route so it was fine for me.

Garden warblers were singing away, at least 3 birds were singing with the usual brief but good views as they sang deep in cover. 2 were seen chasing each other and actually fighting briefly. Tree pipits were very much in evidence with at least 4 males singing and songflighting, giving excellent views. To complete the trio at least 3 beautiful  male redstarts were seen singing from the tops of trees with a female briefly seen and a fourth male heard. Sitting on the grass eating an all day greakfast sandwich from Tesco with no one around  and listening and watching tree pipits, redstarts and garden warblers with willow warblers, yellowhammers and bullfinches as a supporting cast was heaven and the resaon why Grenofen Woods is one of my favourite places in the world!

Also seen were treecreeper, marsh tit, buzzard, nuthatch and a pair of mallard. A male pied flycatcher was briefly seen as it sang away in the tree canopy, the trees seem much more advanced with leafs than usual for this time of year due to the recent heatwave. It was nice to see one as the nestbox scheme that used to operate in the woods is no more and the numbers of flycatchers has plummeted as the nestboxes have rotted and fallen off the trees. Sadly and depressingly no wood warblers were seen or heard.

No dippers along the river either but there was a lot of disturbance. A pair of grey wagtails was nice to see, showing well with beakfuls of insects, presumably with a nest nearby. The river level was low as we have had very little rain for the past few weeks and it had that sewage farm perfume smell of treated sewage, I think the treatment works are along the river where the path is currently closed.

Also seen were brimstone moths, a common heath (a new moth for me) and lots of different coloured small caterpillars dangling from the trees on silky threads. Speckled yellow moths were flitting sround in the sunshine and 2 male orange tips were seen. Lots of flowers were out including lousewort and common cow-wheat.

Common Cow-wheat

Brimstone butterfly


Common Heath

Unknown caterpillar species

All in all a brilliant day out!

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