18th March 2012 - The Rye

A lovely walk around the Rye in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire lead to some delights for a Sunday afternoon.  The usual multitude of Mute Swan were there, mingling with the Mallards and a few Tufted Duck were swimming around.  I wish I had taken my camera as there was an excellent shot of a stunning Grey Heron about to pounce about 10 feet away and another great shot as he took off into the clear sky.  As we looked up at the mistletoe at the top of the bare trees, we spotted two Red Kite circling each other, swooping and diving through the air.  They are magnificent birds!  As we headed into the pine area, we slowed down to look for Goldcrest (or maybe even a Firecrest) but it was not until the last tree that we spotted two little flitting shapes.  Making them out was hard, but based on their movements and size we were going for Goldcrest.  Luckily, one kindly came right out in the open to pose in the sunlight for us and we were treated to a lovely sight.  Two sightings of Goldcrest in two days, we’re getting good at this!  A few steps later I spotted a non descript brown bird dashing in and out of a bush (Stuart: ‘No, that’s a dead leaf.’).  After ages of peering into a bush with our binoculars and gathering attention, we decided it must be a Chiffchaff.  However, having gone home and researched a bit more, it’s been downgraded to Wiffwaff!  Telling the difference between the two for someone who has only seen each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler once is pretty hard, especially if they don’t open their mouths, although I would be tempted to go with Chiffchaff as I think it had darker legs and the plumage was far too dull for a Willow Warbler.  However, a Wiffwaff it will stay and hopefully we’ll get both species in Norfolk in a fortnight.  The walk was rounded off with three Little Grebe, always a delight to see.  I also saw my first shooting star that night!

1)      Carrion Crow
2)      Mallard
3)      Mute Swan
4)      Grey Heron
5)      Tufted Duck
6)      Red Kite
7)      Blue Tit
8)      Great Tit
9)      Blackbird
10)  Song Thrush
11)  Goldcrest
12)  Long-tailed Tit
13)  Chaffinch
14)  Moorhen
15)  Coot
16)  Little Grebe 

My year list for 2012 comes to 104.

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