Early Sunday morning (24th April) we met for a walk up Challow Hill for a very special bird. Gathering in the National Trust car park we watched a pair of Swallows busily setting up home in the visitor centre and a Raven sat up high on top of Corfe Castle.
Along our walk we had the usual Blackbirds, Wren, Robin, Chaffinch etc and in the field where we often see Alpaca's a pair of Song Thrush. Walking through the gate on to the footpath we started by seeing and hearing Chiffchaff, the first of many and a Siskin called as it flew over. Then we noted our first Blackcap singing. While watching a pair of Yellowhammers Mick caught sight of a Dartford Warbler, but it was very elusive! However Yellowhammers were definitely very showy and they certainly brightened tup he day! A Buzzard came over and looked as if it made a pass at the male Stonechat then a Blackbird before landing on the bank, when it sat up on a bush it had empty talons.
Walking on further we had several Whitethroats which were very much in evidence, singing and displaying and then we heard the Nightingale. somewhere up ahead. Walking on a little further we stopped and looked, Mick found it singing from a thorn allowing us good views which were even better viewing through the scopes. We stood and watched for ages until it moved and then disappeared into another bush. We moved up the slope with Linnets and Greenfinches now singing and displaying until Nick spotted the Green-winged Orchids. A beautiful plant so well worthy of our attention and taking of photographs. A Meadow Pipit flew in close by and suddenly flattened itself on the ground and froze and a Sparrowhawk speeded just a few inches over its head and chased a Blackbird down the slope. At the top of Challow Hill we heard our first Skylarks with two birds having a sing off at the corner of their territories.
|Nightingale - © Nick Hull
We finished our walk with big smiles and stopped off in the visitor centre for a well deserved tea and cake.