Sunday, 24 January 2021

BOS Balscote Quarry :: 16/17 January 2021

We didin't want to join the parade of "walkers" around our estate and park so elected to walk the paths and lanes around the Balscote / Alkerton area. We parked up at the BOS Balscote Quarry and popped in to see if the brambling was showing - no such luck. We walked down the road, around Balscote and back up to the reserve.

In the field opposite the entance, we had 52 fieldfare and 16 redwing. Accompanying them we had a flock of finches feeding in the scrub. I picked out a few goldfinches but the majority of what I saw were linnet - the flock must have been 100+ strong but I couldn't say precisely what proportion the linnet were, but estimate almost double the number I have seen coming to roost - so closer to 80 than 40.

We did the same the following day and found that 'Mark Ribbons and Son' were undertaking some reserve maintenance. They had previously removed buddleja from the stone cliff at the road end, hoping that this may entice sand martins back into the area by making it more "cliff"-like. They had returned to clear the cuttings and do some maintenance on the nest boxes.

Reserve maintenance

We decided to walk the other way and alongside the active quarry works on the Alkerton Road (onto the public right-of-way, not seeing many species but had both fieldfare and redwing over. A buzzard landed ahead of us at various points and made hard work of looking elegant.

Common buzzard
Common buzzard

We circled round and back to the reserve. I popped in again and was lucky enough to spot a brambling in the scrub below the hedgeline. It didn't venture out and eventually Mark and his son, plus Dylan Parry-Davies appeared, at which point the birds scattered. I chatted briefly (socially distanced of course) and the jumped in the car to head home.

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