counting coots in essex

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And now on Radio 4, it’s Woman’s Hour – CLICK!

I had to take Mrs Thing to the University Of Essex and then wait for a number of hours before leaving the University Of Essex.

“What will you do for four hours?” said Mrs Thing. “Oh, don’t you worry about that...”.

For those that don’t know, The University Of Essex is one of those post-war out of town campuses, and is situated in the middle of Wivenhoe Park near Colchester. Which is a park like area on the outskirts of a large town that is next to the countryside. Terribly convenient for someone such as myself with a penchant for staring into trees with lots of time to kill. I could have done a bit of research to try and find out in advance what to expect and where to focus my energies, but that’s no fun and doesn’t leave much space for exploration which is of course half the fun of going to new places. So with the radio turned off, the doors closed and locked I headed off to wander round the campus. And it was totally pissing down with rain. And it rained really hard, and then started to rain harder. After an hour this began to annoy me as all I had seen was some very wet waterbirds doing very little. Having to stand underneath trees to try and get some shelter while smoking wet fags was quite wearing so I decided that I was going to brave the full ravages of the weather anyway so set off again, and then the rain stopped and the sun came out. Which was very nice.

A lake type thing doing ornamental and wet.

It transpires that I had been round the more ornamental side of the campus, where the alien tree species are in full flow along with a fair few Rhododendrons chucked in for good measure (there is a private house there too which I assume is the university top dude’s residence). It was not filling me with hope for the following hours. However, once I had left this area I found myself in an area of open parkland with long grass and some big oaks dotted about, very similar to this picture in fact.

A picture doing rain on the lens.

This gradually gave way to a more open area at the top of a hill with less of the big trees – and this where the interesting birds started to appear (singing Goldcrest, Swallow, two Woodpecker species, Blackcap etc) so in all I was enjoying it a bit more. I found this sign and I really don’t understand what it is about.  I mean, it's a sign on a signpost but it doesn't tell you anything.  It's at the end of a path which ends at a closed gate and a wall.  It's by a road, which has cars on it, not cows.  It's very strange, and the more I think about it the more confused I get.  So I won't think about it any more.

I don't get it.  I really don't get it.

After drying off a bit, I headed downhill to see what was on offer there. More grassland, more Swallows, half a dozen Swifts and an overflying Shelduck. I then spotted (towards the train line) what looked like reeds. Not only did they look like reeds, but when I got there they were reeds. Not only that but there was a few Reed Warblers knocking about too! In this area in this photo!

Enjoying this area took up some more time, and beside it there looked like there was a big chunk of decidiuous woodland, so I ambled over there. Thankfully some nice people had put a nice path right through the middle of it. So I walked down the path, with some more Blackcaps singing, a couple of Chiffchaffs giving it some, Chaffinches, Tits, etc. Eventually it gave way to a couple of fields of rapeseed, where I heard a distant Skylark and a coughing Pheasant. The path looked very much like this...

Nice, huh?

Once I had walked up it, I walked back down it.  And that was about it. Best part of four hours walking round a new site and very good it was too. Plenty of habitat, a good spot for raptor watching (had the weather been better) and plenty of interest for a patch birder. 38 species in all for me but I suspect that there are more to get normally (no House Martin, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, House Sparrow, Willow Warbler etc).

A nice little patch on the whole.

Did I mention that there were Coots? You must have expected this...

Essex Coots doing wet.


jenjen1352 said...

I do enjoy reading your posts!

Thank you for writing them.

Dave said...

One cannot live without Coots.
I think Shakespeare said that...or maybe not...

flowergirl said...

Oh ha ha ha, this is my first time here, and I enjoyed this very much. The "nice, huh?" picture is really very nice!

Related Posts with Thumbnails