Tices Meadow 28 April 2024

A temperature of 6C and heavy overnight rain that was only just beginning to clear limited attendance at the morning walk to nine. The Aldershot Park car park offered Magpies, Starlings and Black-headed Gulls in flight as well as an Egyptian Goose incongruously perched on the playground swing. By the river a Blackcap allowed a difficult view while several of its confreres sang sweetly but invisibly, accompanied by noisy Wrens. Chiffchaffs, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes soon joined the chorus and two Bullfinches were spotted flying overhead. Efforts were made to find a rattling Cetti’s Warbler with the usual result while a Great-spotted Woodpecker flew from its perch. In the sky several Swifts swooped around while on the reserve proper a Reed Warbler was singing in the reeds. The Mound provided welcome shelter from the cold wind as well as excellent viewing of the numerous hirundines hawking over the water. They were mainly Sand Martins, perhaps 150 in number, with a scattering of House Martins and a couple of Swallows among them. Four raptor species put in an appearance, two Buzzards, a Red Kite and distantly a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. On and around the water were two Common Terns, a Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Ducks and Mallards (the only representatives of the duck community) and Coots, one of which was sitting on a nest barely above the water. Nearby a Whitethroat rasped its song while further away a Reed Bunting similarly showed its lack of harmony. The paths to the west of the reserve produced wheezy Greenfinches, a Stock Dove, Great Tits and a Stonechat. The bird of the day was the final species identified when the perch of a Garden Warbler was located and viewed by everyone. Given the conditions a species list of fifty was excellent.

Tices Meadow 16 April 2023

The threat of rain did not deter a good attendance at this local walk though recent downpours made a change of route necessary. The fun began in the car park with the sight of a pair of Egyptian Geese accompanying several small goslings. Then as a persistent song thrush sang noisily there came just once the call of a Cuckoo, the first of Spring for everyone. After crossing a waterlogged Aldershot Park the group kept to the north side of the Blackwater. Wrens were in good voice and a Chiffchaff bounced around in a close tree giving fine views. Soon Blackcaps appeared, males chasing each other and no doubt laying claim to territories. A Cetti’s Warbler made its presence felt, the first of four heard but not seen. Other sightings on the approach to the site included a Long-tailed Tit, two Buzzards drifting by, wheezing Greenfinches, a Jay and several House Sparrows. From the Tices Mound the water could be seen to be very high while the numbers of birds present was unusually low. Two Common Terns were perched on posts and a few Sand Martins and a single Barn Swallow hawked over the water. Waterfowl included a few each of Shovelers, Gadwall, Teal and Mallards and rather more Tufted Ducks. A visit to the reedbeds delivered the song but not the sight of two Reed Warblers, a Reed Bunting and two more Cetti’s Warblers while a Little Egret prowled the edge of the stream. The group’s departure was delayed by the news of a newly arrived Wheatear necessitating a return to the Mound for distant but most acceptable telescope views. The walk ended with a tally of 51 species.