29th April 2014
I was in Stevenage and had an hour to kill so decided to pop up to Deadman's Hill near Baldock. Deadman's Hill is well known for its raptors during the winter months, but they are very thin on the ground at this time of the year. However, it is still a very special place with lots of species that are becoming scarcer further south in the county such as Linnets, Corn Buntings and Grey Partridges.
It was a relatively calm day and when I got out of the car I was met with a barrage of Sky Lark and Corn Bunting song. Whoever said that Sky Larks are declining, because wherever I go they are numerous and still sing each summer over my garden? There were also small flocks of Linnets flying around but too distant to photograph.
A quick scan with the bins revealed a singleton Hare crouching in the grass not too far from the car. I never quite understand the population dynamics of this mammal as if you come here in late winter or early spring you can see up to 100 over the area from Wallington Road to Coombe Road, so where do they all go? Also in the field were a pair of Grey Partridges which unfortunately kept their distance.
In the field at the top of the hill by the A505 a mysterious fence has appeared. It is too high for a sheep fence, but probably not high enough for a deer farm. However, it transpires that the fence has been erected by the owners of the nearby dog kennels and is to be used as a dog training area. As I was leaving the site I drove back up the hill with the fence on my left and there sitting on top of the fence was a singing Corn Bunting.
I pulled up on to the verge and walked back with my camera and started taking a few photos. The bird then flew from the fence to a nearby bush and over time I was able to edge closer and get some more photos in a more natural setting. Wonderful!!