Denso Nature Reserve and along Gill Beck

On Sunday it seemed too nice to be indoors but I decided to put extra layers on because I half expected to be standing around quietly hoping to see a Water rail at Denso Marston Nature Reserve. I didn’t see it but nor did I get cold.

On the way down to Denso, there were Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, and Jackdaws. I then walked round to the pond and there on the decking was a Grey Heron. I know they have long necks but I think its range, for catching fish or frogs, would be limited from that height above the water. It then flew over to the “island” and spent a while preening.

I walked up river so I could come back to the other side of the pond near the picnic benches but still had no luck spotting a Water Rail but did stop off at the Spider Club feeding station to see this Long Tailed Tit looking rather slim. They usually look like little balls of fluff on the end of a stick, not this one though.

After getting frustrated rather than cold I decided to head up to Gill Beck where I was lucky to spot two Dippers on rocks in the Beck just upstream from Tong Park Industrial Estate.

I walked up to the bridge at the top end of Tong Park Dam and then headed up the side of the valley and spotted members of the Friends of Gill Beck Valley. I decided to head towards them to see how they had got on. They had plans to install some bird boxes to encourage birds such as Pied Flycatchers. On the way towards them I noticed this Buzzard circling. It had also spotted me.

Even though at about this time we had some horizontal hail the view from up the slope of the valley was quite good.

On the way back along the Beck I spotted Dippers a couple of times flying along just above the water. I was surprised at the amount of Butterburr growing along the banks of the Beck in the soft silt from the recent floods. There were also quite large expanses of fresh Wild Garlic, it was very noticeable because a lot of debris had been washed away leaving smooth silt for it to grow up through.

After this I went back to Denso Nature Reserve, but still no Water Rail. I am going to have to make do with the fleeting glimpse I got of its back-end the previous week.

If you are viewing this on your phone I find that the photo look much better if you turn your phone to landscape orientation.

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