Hail's View

 It was comparatively quiet at Hail's View this morning. A small group of Wigeon and a couple of Gadwall were out on the water, and a Stock Dove was singing somewhere in Black Wood. A man with a sniper rifle emerged from the murk, perhaps explaining the lack of birds around. He appraoched me to 'reassure' me, obviously a strategy straight out of the shooting community's PR training book. It's a sad reality that the deer need to be culled around here. The gentleman told me that some years there can be over 600 deer in the valley. This many deer is detrimental to the habitat that supports a diversity of wildlife, as they eat the saplings and trample ground nests. He said he loved deer, they are his favourite animal, but perhaps that's taking the PR a bit too far. He headed off, and I got back to the fascination of the natural living world. Flocks of Lapwing were continuously gliding over towards the north brooks. A few Mistle Thursh were perched up in the dead Ash tree. From the same tree a Kestrel glided down slowly to within 6 feet of the ground before diving hard into the grass, and then emerged and perched up on a fence post with a small rodent meal. The odd Lesser Redpoll came calling overhead, but out of view, and a few Bullfinches were similarly elusive. Ravens were present for the entirety of my visit, calling noisily from all around, and Snipe were occasionally flushed from the grass. An unfamiliar wader call was heard over my head, but the bird was hidden by the canopy; it sounded almost Curlew-like, but with a shorter phrase. I messaged Matt who said it was probably a Golden Plover, and that seemed to fit the bill. Just before I left a cream-capped Marsh Harrier appeared, providing nice close views. Graham had arrived by then and radioed it in, and I helped him finish off his measuring for the new predator fencing before I headed off. 

Marsh Harrier

Stonechat

Mistle Thrush

Marsh Harrier


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