Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Local Patch

Oswestry Close

Redditch is blessed with greenery, one of the up-sides of being a New Town. Behind Dave’s house, pictured, lies a coppice that gives the district of Walkwood its name. Many birds make their home here and a typical walk, like this morning’s, will turn up the usual complement of finches, tits, thrushes, carolling wrens, nuthatches, wood pigeons and corvids. More notable among them today were marsh tits, bullfinches and jays, two of which had just flown out of shot pre-picture.

Summer visitors include chiffchaffs and blackcaps, singing hesitantly at this time of year. In fact at the height of raising chicks, birding is all about sound – and generally only little contact calls at that. The odd, more strident, blackcap still remained quite invisible. I couldn't find a single garden warbler, nor have I this year. Are they in trouble too? Their song is so similar to the blackcap’s that I don't find identification by sound alone that reliable.

The more open farmland at Green Lane brought skylarks, stock doves, a female kestrel and a surprising hare. I think it was young: it looked kind of small but I’m no expert on mammals.Morton Stanley Park

I returned through Morton Stanley Park, which has some attempt at a reed-fringed pond, but I've never seen more than a desultory mallard in it. The sign reads: Dogs on Leads in this Zone Please. With no effect; a dog-owner’s cooperation would be too much to expect, so the area remains a pooch-bath.

A couple of more secluded pools at the end of the walk have held grey wagtail in the past but are so stagnant now. Room for improvement there too? Or maybe they are the natural order of things.

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