Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cambridge Holiday day 5: Himalayan Wildlife Watching and going home

Last day of the holiday, so we headed to a National Trust property, Angelsey Abbey, same as last time we were down this way. I did not expect to see much but it turned out to be the best wildlife filled day of the holiday. Probably as a consequence of the weather, which was the nicest it had been so far on the holiday. As last time, as soon as we arrived I headed straight to the wildlife area in the hope that there may be something good on the feeders or in the woods. However, I thought we had arrived too late, and that most things would have been scared off by rowdy kids.
As I was crossing the lawns I spotted a Green Woodpecker. Its crazy to think I have seen more of these birds in the past 3 days that I did in the whole of last year but now I managed to get a photo of one too as it perched up in a tree in a reasonably photograph-able position.
-Green Woodpecker
I got to the hide but there was not much there. A lovely moorhen sitting on a nest in front of the hide was a highlight, and when we returned in the evening I could see 2 eggs under there too, so that was nice. There were also some smashing views of Blue Tit and Chaffinch as well as a couple of Long-Tailed Tits coming through. As a results I stayed about half an hour before leaving.
Now I was at a loss as to where to look for stuff, so I headed around the house, to the second hand bookshop, and then off into the gardens along the river. The river was dead, with no vegetation on it at all. However, there was a Grey Wagtail on it, though that was the sum total of all the bird species. 
As I entered the garden though I spotted a Brimstone butterfly flying along the borders. This was quite exciting, my first of the year and a species I do not see as much as I would like. In the end I found up to 8 of these butterflies around the borders. I was lucky enough to find one that had landed in an ideal position so could grab a few record shots for the year.
It was then that I got a text saying to be back for lunch. Of course it was at this point that all the wildlife appeared. I was walking down a wooded alley with conifers on both sides, and importantly no people, when I spotted a female pheasant crossing the path in front of me. At once I could see that this was not an ordinary pheasant with striking plumage and a black eye mask on an orange face. I realised pretty quickly that I must be looking at a female Reeves Pheasant, though I knew nothing about them, the mask on this bird matched the males very nicely. I proceeded to follow the bird round for about 20 - 30 mins before deciding it best to go to lunch. I also found it after lunch, though it was much harder to refind after lunch, and managed to get some reasonable shots, though it being under the trees the light was poor. However, I got enough shots to show the spangly plumage and striking head pattern. Sadly, this was my favourite of the pheasant encounters of the holiday but its the one I can't tick!
-Reeves Pheasant
As I was following the pheasant before lunch I also spotted a Muntjac Deer in deep bushes. I tried for a photo but it was too thick in, and when it bolted it was on the far side to me, so my only effort was blurry and not particularly clear. Having said that, it does show the difficult nature of seeing these animals.
-Muntjac Deer
I also spotted a Common Buzzard overhead at this point as the thermals were picking up. I decided to leave it and go for lunch, but returned after lunch. After lunch I failed to pick up the pheasant for a couple of hours and there was no sign of the deer. There were other bits and pieces though, including a pair of Goldcrests, a couple of other butterfly species; Comma and Peacock and got smashing views of Sparrowhawk and Treecreeper.
As the afternoon drew on my parents and I decided to re-try the wildlife area to see what was there. Just as we approached my dad spotted 2 Muntjac Deer deep in the undergrowth, and I tried again for a photo. However, once more I failed pretty badly. We also had outstanding views of up to 4 Jays together!
-Muntjac Deer
It was late afternoon at this point so I did not see much more. On the feeders we were joined by a Great Spotted Woodpecker, though it was on the more distant feeders. That was about it though, and after that we left to head off home. It had been a fantastic day, and to finish with here are a few photos of other wildlife seen through the day, showing just how fantastic a days birding it had been...
-Bee Fly
-Great Spotted Woodpecker
Species List:
Angelsey Abbey NT: Green Woodpecker, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rook, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Common Pheasant, Moorhen, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Long-Tailed Tit, Common Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Magpie, Treecreeper, Black-Headed Gull, Sparrowhawk, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Reeves Pheasant, Muntjac Deer, Rabbit, Grey Squirrel, Comma, Peacock Butterfly, Brimstone


  1. A pretty cool looking Pheasant, a lady? but not the right one I guess??


  2. Still a fantastic bird, but I can only wish the Lady A showed like that! Haha