A Walk from Axford

This is a walk that I would normally do in the winter or spring, however with things I needed to do in Marlborough it fitted in well. The walk starts in the centre of Axford, down across the Kennet and then a climb up to the southern edge of Hens Wood. Then it is along the ridge for a way before dropping back down to the meadows by the river and back to Axford. The Kennet was looking good, hard to believe that it suffered a devastating pollution incident last week (http://www.riverkennet.org/). Climbing up from the valley it was good seeing plenty of butterflies enjoying the sunshine, along here it was mainly Ringlets and Meadow Browns with Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood seen further along the walk. Swifts and Swallows were feeding low over the fields and Whitethroat and Yellowhammer were seen along the Hedgerows. Entering the woodland, several Nuthatches were heard with just one seen. There was a lot of birdsound but it wasn’t easy to see them. I did manage to find Coal Tit and Goldcrest although Wren, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Blue Tit all remained heard only. Some Deer were heard moving though the trees but these weren’t seen either. There were a good amount of moths flying around. Cinnabar, Red-necked Footman and Scarlet Tiger were the three I managed to identify. A De Havilland Tiger Moth was also good to see.  Neither the moths or the butterflies seemed to be willing to stay still long enough to get decent pictures. Along the river I managed a Wiltshire tick, Mandarin, there is a small breeding population here. Also seen were a pair of Black Swans, this is the third year I have seen them along this stretch. All connected to the collection of wildfowl at Ramsbury Manor I would assume. There were quite a few young birds on the water with family groups of Mallard, Moorhen and Coot seen. The only Odanata seen were a couple of Common Blue Damselflies. Three Buzzards were the only raptors in a grand total of thirty-nine species. Pretty good for the time of year.

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