Sunday, 6 May 2012

Gorhambury Estate and Redbournbury (5th May)

I had a lay in on Saturday, after another long week and decided to pay a late morning visit to the Gorhambury Estate, just west of St Albans, in hope of finding Grey Partridges and perhaps some raptors over Prea Wood.


However, as always, the birds I often expect to see rarely show and instead are replaced by others.  Today was no exception and as I was cycling up Bunker's Lane, I immediatly stopped when I heard the end of a rattling song from a bird in the hedge, a Whitethroat soon popped out into the open but this wasn't what I was expecting so I dismounted scrambled through the hedge and on the other side I was rewarded with a short view of my first LESSER WHITETHROAT of the year singing from a high exposed perch (very uncharacteristical).  Also in the vicinity were 2 Kestrels and 3 Swift.


100's of Swifts had gathered over the Estate and were present throughout interspersed with dozens of Swallows.  House Martins were scarcer, however, near the end of my visit, a flock of 30+ House Martins descended over the willow banks of the River Ver.  Also of note were several Buzzards, several individual Red Kites and as expected dozens of Red-legged Partridges, not to mention the Pheasants.  More interesting birds included 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Lapwing and 3 Blackcaps all in the same hedge and within a 2m radius of one another and apparently tolerating one anothers presence, bazaar?


I picked up on the River Ver trail just east of the Gorhambury Estate were another Red Kite flew over, followed by a single Buzzard and a lone Lapwing.  The highlight however, was the stunning CUCKOO, which showed well for some time in the flooded meadows.  More surprising was the fact that it never called once during my visit, in fact I haven't heard a single Cuckoo call so far this year despite seeing two and being in the correct place at the right time.  Another Lesser Whitethroat was also rattling away in dense cover as I approached Redbournebury but it remained elusive despite my efforts to try and see it.

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