Saturday, 16 November 2013

@WiltsWildlife - Morgan's Hill - Winter is on the way!

With the slight hint of colder weather coming up in the next few weeks, now might be a good time to look at the photos I took at Morgan's Hill over the winter of 2012 - 2013. MH is such an exposed site that it's always cold and windy over winter, but at points it can become downright inhospitable. I remember one time whilst scrub clearing with Stephen Honeychurch where we were working in a blizzard. It's wasn't nice. However, at other times, if you can brave the cold, you will be treated to some absolutely spectacular landscapes and views.

Photo taken mid-day 2nd February 2013
Entrance to Wansdyke from Mast Field. A great place for butterflies in the summer!
The North Wessex Downs AONB. Bleak and dreary, yet  beautiful, in winter.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

@WiltsWildlife - Morgan's Hill from Penn Wood Reserve, Calne

View of Morgan's Hill from the new Penn Wood reserve on the outskirts of Calne. This reserve, which is well worth a visit, has stunning views of the surrounding area. It has large areas of newly established woodland with scrub areas, and has a fishing lake. The area is surrounded by the great North Wiltshire countryside and has access to it via a good network of footpaths and bridleways. Get on over there and have a look.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

@WiltsWildlife - Meadow Pipit @ Morgan's Hill, July 2013

Yet again I haven't blogged for a long old while. However, with the best intentions, I'm aiming for this time to be different. Hopefully I can find the time to get in at least one, possibly more,  posts a week. Let's see how I go. I shall start by posting some of the things that I have seen and done on the reserve over the summer months.

First up is a great little meadow pipit. Picture taken in July by my good friend and personal photography expert, Stephen Lord.

Meadow pipit, Stephen Lord, 16th July 2013

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Morgan's Hill Reserve 360 Degree Virtual Tour

I freely admit that I haven't blogged for a while, but this little beauty is definitely worth the wait. Morgan's Hill is within Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's New Life for Chalk Grassland scheme, which itself is part of the larger Wildlife Trust's Living Landscapes scheme. Whilst browsing the Living Landscapes web pages today I came across this gem of a virtual tour which shows Morgan's Hill in all its glory. Check out the New Life for Chalk Grassland info page and tour here, or bask in the beauty of the full-on, full-page version here. Once you've done that get yourself up the North Wessex Downs, if you can, and enjoy it for real. However, some words of advice; winter might be over, but give it a month or so, everything is behind schedule this year.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

@WiltsWildlife - Morgan's Hill on a gloomy winter's day

I took this photo yesterday on my mobile phone, using the 'vintage' setting. Thus the dark corners. I think it really captures the dull, dark, dreary winter's day exactly how I was trying to portray it. What do you think?

Morgan's Hill vintage style, looking west, on a dark and dreary winter's day.

Monday, 7 January 2013

@PatchBirding - First two patch visits of the year

This is the report that I emailed into Patchwork Challenge Send us Some Content. It details my first two patch visits of 2013.

Morgan's Hill, North Wessex Downs - Nick Self
The morning of 3rd January 2013 dawned to reveal Morgan's Hill resplendent in the glory of murk, low cloud and light rain. It was not what I had been hoping for, but I was fairly certain that this was what I was going to get. Most winter days on the Downs are like this. Everyone knows that birding on the Downs during winter is hit and miss, however, I wasn't going to let a little light murk put pay to proceedings. Off I went to explore my favourite nooks and crannies, confident that I could turn up some good birds despite the weather.

This year I will be concentrating on the farmland bird '10 most wanted' (as I do every year); grey partridge; lapwing; tree sparrow; corn bunting; yellowhammer; linnet; turtle dove; yellow wagtail; skylark and reed bunting. To be honest I'm not worried about finding rare birds and I've never, ever, been twitching. I rarely go birding outside of Wiltshire and that's the way I like it. I guess I just love my home to much.

Anyways, on to the birds. I have also made a patch visit on 7th January and between the first two visits I totaled 41 species for 42 points. I am reasonably happy with this given the awful weather. The two point bird was a female merlin, which was pleasing. All the others were 'common' but included some that made me personally happy. I made the first 2013 sightings of tree sparrow, grey partridge, corn bunting, skylark, linnet and yellowhammer. The latter being quite numerous. I also struck a little piece of #patchgold, but before I name the species I would like to refer back to a previous post where someone said that they had seen golden eagle and hen harrier, but hadn't seen anything unusual and that they were going to look for an elusive blue tit. It just goes to show how different places have such different birds and the amazing diversity of our great country.

I expect that you are itching to know my #patchgold species? Ok, here goes........................little grebe.

And last year I spotted a cormorant. How amazing is that?