I did the last common bird census of the year at the Wetlands yesterday morning. I was surprised at how overgrown the Wetlands have become: it is impossible to see into any of the lakes, even the largest is just full of bullrushes. I heard a Moorhen and a Reed Warbler, but wasn't able to see any Coot or Little Grebes. The paths are also overgrown, even along Grassy Lane, where it is difficult to see into the sewage works, especially the reedbed. I saw 23 species of birds, the highlights being a Kingfisher heading upstream under the iron bridge, and a Red Kite. It didn't see any finches (not even Goldfinches) or buntings, nor Spotted Flycatcher or Mistle Thrush (it was only after retiring that I've realised how rare these two species have become; I don't know of a regular site for either). It doesn't look as if any terns have taken to the floating raft at the Campus lake (there are three pairs at Dernford Reservoir, Sawston, one of which has three fledged juveniles).
After the census, I walked down to Hinxton Watermill and back along the railway. Highlights were Marbled White, Holly Blues, Buzzard, 2 Yellowhammers, adult and juvenile Green Woodpeckers (at Lordship Farm), a family of Chiffchaffs by the Ford, Amphibious Bistort, Sneezewort, False Fox Sedge, Musk Mallow, Reed Canary Grass, Vervain, Woolly Thistle and Common Calamint. In one of the fields by the railway, the farmer appears to be growing a mix for gamebirds and there are some odd flowers growing there which I didn't recognize alongside Tansy-leafed Phacelia and Cornflower; I doubt the seed was sourced locally (or even in this country!).
Dr Neil D. Rawlings
EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute alumnus
34 Brybank Road, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 7WD, UK
Tel: 01440 713859
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