It has been very quiet on the Plain with only a few military stragglers still training before the roads were opened up last weekend. It has been very windy and at times rather wet. Only 6 of us braved the elements for a walk last Saturday. The only birds of note were a large flock of Great Tits with some Blue Tits and a Coal Tit. Of course there were the normal corvids and Woodpigeons. We had plenty of fresh air even if the birds thought we were mad being out in the open. The previous day was much better (no rain) and I popped out for a look at the newly arrived Great Grey Shrike at the back of Harman Lines. If this was the same bird as last year it may think it is in the wrong place as so much of the scrub has been removed. There are only a few little patches left by Battlesbury Bowl and the Boreham Valley. It was a very confiding bird as I started to attach my camera to my telescope (Birdfair purchase) it flew closer resulting in a quick change of lens by me.
The previous weekend was the Hen Harrier Survey and whilst they had 7 birds in the Centre the West saw none! There were teams out on Saturday (not so strormy) and a few of us did the Sunday as well. There were Golden Plover, Lapwings, Fieldfare, Kestrels and 2 Merlin but no harriers. None of the birds roosting in the Centre came from the West so the thought is that somewhere there is a roost on the West. The difficulty is that there has been so much scrub clearance and gazing that there does not seem to be an area that would be the right habitat to search. As there are no troops on the area members of the conservation group will be out looking during the break. The only other people out will be the Deer Management team but they cannot get close to deer as so much scrub has been removed. (I wonder if the farming HLS payments are due soon?). As the rain lashes the windows I will not be popping out on the Plain for a last look before Christmas therfore,
Merry Christmas to my reader 😊