Wednesday 19 March 2014

Week 9, Extra: Bovingdon Brickworks Chiffs & Frogs

The green arrow points to numerous clumps of frog spawn.
The white arrow is the area shown in the top photograph, with the easy-to-miss frog
The alternative title was "Sneaky Frog seeks Blog Fame!"

This week, I'm largely confined to the immediate area so thought I'd have a wander around Bovingdon Brickworks. As the name suggests, this is outside the Boxmoor district of Hemel Hempstead, located in Bovingdon. In 2000, approx 40 acres of land owned by the Brickworks were gifted to the Box Moor Trust to be used as a conservation site. This afternoon, it was Chiffchaff central! I counted at least 7 singing birds, all of them clearly keen to drive me absolutely nuts. Getting a decent photograph proved beyond my capabilities (and patience) today, so, just a taster (below) which I hope to improve upon.

A number of shallow gullies are still full of water from the winter’s prolonged and heavy rains. Two of them (photographed right) are now home to developing Common frog spawn….and a visiting Common Frog which may well have been there to lay more eggs.

I’m all for happy accidents, in fact, most of my blog content is a happy accident. The orchestration of birds, butterflies, bees, worms(!?) or even celestial bodies, for that matter, has nothing to do with me. However, 99% of the time, I’m aware of what I’m photographing. Today was that 1% where I might as well have been shooting with my eyes closed. I was completely oblivious to the fact that I'd actually managed to photograph the frog. I had seen it whilst exploring the the edges of the gully but didn't know that it had secret desires to make its internet debut on my blog. I’m very glad it popped its head out when and where it did!

During one of my failed attempts at Chiffchaff stalking, I'd reached the brow of a particularly large and deep gully and come face to face with a beautiful Red Fox. I'm not sure who was more surprised. The Fox instantly lifted itself from its resting place and darted off into the scrub before I could catch my breath. And, the afternoon wouldn't have been complete without the calls and soaring of Common Buzzard (photographed below, right) and Red Kite.

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