Across the Border to Berkshire

by A warbler a day

After spending my week off just walking round my home patch o was finally able to put some fuel in my car and go further afield. I decided on a jaunt to Berkshire, specifically Thatcham Discovery Centre and Greenham Common. Once again the journey provided an unexpected sight. Along the road between Hurstbourne Tarrant and Highclere I spotted 2 Hares ‘boxing’ in true Mad March Hare style! Thatcham discovery centre was little uninteresting today. No Sand Martins as yet, just the usual selection of waterfowl. However I had consolation of a delicious ham and cheese panini. So on to Greenham Common. As usual I parked at the main car park on Bury’s Bank Road. I follow the same route each time, heading east towards Crookham Common, circling both large gravel areas, I then head back west along the other side of the runway to the Fireplane area before cutting across the runway and back to the car. This route allows me to see a wide range of habitats; bare gravel, grazed grassland, woodland edge and scrub, pools and thick gorse scrub. Often walking round Greenham Common I can wait ages before seeing anything interesting. Not today. Within 20 minutes I had found 3 very smart looking male Wheatears on a low grassy bank just south-east of the main car park. Nearby there was small flock of Mistle Thrushes and a pair of Bullfinches. I later actually heard a Bullfinch singing. Their song is fairly quiet and not often heard. There were also plenty of Meadow Pipits flying over head and several Green Woodpeckers flashed past. A Buzzard and a Red Kite were both spotted flying low over the old runway. unfortunately some of the other specialities such as Little Ringed Plover, Dartford Warbler and Stonechat were conspicuous by their absence. But my day was made complete by flock of about 35 Golden Plovers near the pool just to the west of the main car park, some them coming into their summer plumage. In all i saw 44 species of bird today plus the Hares. All in all a pretty good day out in Berkshire.