Saturday, 7 April 2012

Red Kites and Buzzards the Ridgeway from Dunstable to Ivinghoe (6th April)

My dad and I set out from the car park near Ivinghoe Beacon to complete a section of the ridgeway walk.  Unfortunately birding wasn't the top priority but I did note a few along the way.


I only had a few minutes at the Beacon so it wasn't a surprise I couldn't locate any Ring Ouzels (apparently despite at least a dozen observers covering the area, none were reported at Ivinghoe Beacon so I didn't miss any thankfully).  However, 5 Wheatear plenty of Meadow Pipits, Yellowhammers and singing Skylarks were OK compensation.  I was also surprised to still see 15 Fieldfare head south past the Beacon.  Also of note was 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 1 Red Kite.


From the ridgeway, 1 Red Kite flew over and I glimpsed 2 probable Ravens fly over south, near Whipsnade Zoo.  As well as the variety of captive animals, Whipsnade Zoo also had 2 Red Kites and 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other loudly through the wood.


The downs had even more raptors, in the form of 1 kestrel, 3 Buzzards and 1 Red Kite.  Unfortunately, there was to much human activity for any passerines to make fall at the downs.


On our return a Red Fox crossed the path carrying its prey whilst 1 Buzzard flew over.  Also of note were 6 Stock Dove, 1 Green Woodpecker and 3 escapee Guineafowl (including 1 white morph type) feeding at the edge of a small coppice west of Dagnall.


As we passed Ringshall Coppice I was alerted to the call of a CROSSBILL, I eventually picked up on it as it flew over from the Coombe direction into the coppice.  However, I got my biggest surprise when, near the end of our walk, we passed a field literally swarming with 200+ Fieldfare and 10+ Redwing feeding amongst a flock of sheep, before they were spooked by another flyover Red Kite.

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