Sunday, 5 October 2008

First posting: October 2008

Post by Chris G to NBBR - Oct 5th 2008

Firstly I should point out that if anything of real note had turned up i'd have
written this sooner.

I've been watching an area of ground on 'my patch' cleared for the upcoming
floodplain forest to the north of Old Wolverton since the floods along the Ouse
Valley of a couple of weeks back. Landscaping has left an area of ground that
initially flooded then left pools amidst large patches of mud. On two sides
there are deeper water channels. Lapwings (along with the usual multitude of
gulls) were the first to move in numbering at a peak at couple of hundred of
both and in the days following there have been greenshank, common and green
sandpiper, up to dozen snipe and a single dunlin. Frustratingly a week last
Friday a flock of 25+ what looked like Golden Plovers, (confirmed) but i'm nowehere near
certain, were just circling and leaving as I arrived at lunchtime heading due
north. By this Friday with the return to drier weather most of the pools had
gone just forty or so lapwing, a couple of snipe remained and the resident(ish)
pair of little egrets, along
with a late hobby. The highlight was a group of 20 siskin heading east. The
deeper water now attracting various duck and geese.

However with the rain over the last 24 hours it is probably well worth a look
again for those in the area over the coming days.

The area is directly behind Manor Farm and down the slope. There is a small car
park just through the stone gateway (on the right) opposite Motoserv on the
Old Wolverton Road. Walk down the gravel path then into the sheep field to gate
on left. Then for best views, thorough next gate directly behing the farm
buildings (now offices) then right down the slope. Trees to the bottom supply
good cover, though a week or so back I spent a good couple of hours in the
sunshine just leaning on the gate at the bottom and nothing much stirred. For
the more adventurous there is a circular walk of a couple of miles from that
point towards the railway viaduct, then along the Ouse itself to the Iron Trunk
aquaduct then up the steps along the Grand Union Canal, for a couple of hundred
yards, then take gravel path left through the hedgerows, along the ridge back to
your starting point. The best views of the 'wader hole' though are from the
route first mentioned. (April 2009: Since writng this the main body of water to west of site has 'taken over' as the hotspot but this area still worth scanning).

Work has halted in the area for whatever reason, maybe the weather, maybe the
demand for gravel, at the moment but may of course resume at any time, but for
the locals it will be well worth monitoring and in time to come when the project
is finished from these early sightings it could prove promising to say the

Chris G