Guest blog by Helen Mitchell, Friends of Eaton Park
This May’s bird walk with Chris Durdin was at the end of a long grey day of intermittent, heavy showers. Happily these had passed by the time we met in the rose garden and our early evening walk was bathed in golden early evening sun light.
Eighteen of us enjoyed a walk around Eaton Park, starting in the rose garden with distant blackbird song, setting off down the tree-lined avenue to North Park Meadow before skirting the pitch and putt to dive into Bluebell Wood, and ending looking across to adjacent council houses to watch the lively house sparrows nesting under the roof tiles and rocketing across to the thick park hedge for food or shelter.
It’s a time of year when migrants have returned, and we heard a chiffchaff across the pitch and putt and three blackcaps. In the sky above three early swifts flew over us to everyone’s excitement.
|Group members in Bluebell Wood.|
Chris explained that this time of year it’s mostly
about the territory and blackbirds, robins, wrens, dunnocks and woodpigeons
were all singing to claim theirs. Elsewhere starlings, crows, goldfinches and
blue tits were busy foraging in the hedges, grass and trees. Jackdaws were
about too – good numbers of them roost in the park.
Pignut and bluebells.
Along the way we also took in wildflowers. North Park
Meadow highlights were the delicate white islands of meadow saxifrage and the
pink and pale blue carpets of dovesfoot cranesbill. In Bluebell Wood we admired
the true English bluebells, red campion and delicate white flowers of greater
stitchwort beside them.
Two orange tip butterflies jinked past us along the way and right at the end we found a single egg from one of them, orange like the wing tips themselves, on the garlic mustard or jack-by-the-hedge that skirts the hedges of the park.