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A walk along the River Yeo from Ichester to Long Load and back

Weather: sunny and warm but a little windy.

This was my  first outing back in the UK since the beginning of March, I was hoping to see a few migrant species in the open meadows around Ichester and Long Load. I never had my scope with me and so there are no birdy pictures in this blog today.

Dawn and I parked the car near Ichester and walked to Pill Bridge over the River Yeo, there was lots of bird song coming from the hegdes and the scattered trees. Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Chffichaff, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet and Blackbird were heard and a Skylark sang from high above us.

the River Yeo taken from Pill Bridge, Ilchester

A lack of reeds and scrub along the river banks reduced our chances of hearing or seeing Reed or Sedge Warbler but a Common Whitethroat was a UK first for the year. The landscape all the way to Long Load is dominated by flat, grass meadows populated by Cows or Sheep, we saw the White-faced, Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep, an odd place to find them, are they lost?

The river walk was marred slightly by the strong breeze, we saw more Linnets, Goldfinches, Skylarks and added Lapwing, Mute Swan, Mallard, Rook, Crow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Buzzard, Moorhen and Lesser Black-backed Gull to the day list. Just as we approached the wier at Long Load we saw a Northern Wheatear, almost exactly the same place where we saw our first for the year in 2021. 

along the Yeo, Mute Swans in the distance

We ate our picnic lunch on the banks of a pool at the sliuce gates at Long Load, where we saw Moorhen and a Kingfisher. Our walk back was along Kingsmoor Drove, which is a more direct route, a track that leads you straight back to Pill Bridge. The dense hedgerow and tree cover offered some shelter from the wind and we saw more birds and butterfies during the return journey.

Cuckoo Flower,  many were seen in the meadows, Orange-tip Butterflies love them

At least three more Common Whitethroats were singing or calling and to my great surprise we heard two Lesser Whitethroats! haviong a brief glimpse of the first one of these. We added Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit to the day list as well as Bullfinch, Song Thrush and we heard Great Spotted Woodpecker calling up ahead.

Butterflies were plentiful many Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells were flying along the tracks, we also saw several male Brimstones, Large and Small Whites, plenty of Orange Tips,  a couple of Commas and some Speckled Woods.

Comma Butterfly

We got back to the car at 2:30pm, we had covered 12,000 steps (approx. 5 miles), enough for one day.  We headed off to Crewkerne to visit my favourite Mother-in-Law, she always provides chocolate biscuits with the coffee!