Monday, 9 March 2009

Larks ascending....

I discovered 3 Skylarks in the pipit breeding area on The Scrubs last Friday. In itself it was nothing too unusual, especially given that a lot of things are on the move at the moment. What struck me though was the fact that 2 of the birds were showing definite 'prospecting' behaviour. They were actively flying up around 3 feet above the grassland, fluttering as if they were surveying the terrain.

Normally, we only get to see Skylarks at The Scrubs if we flush them out of the grass or if they fly over, so seeing these birds made my heart flutter somewhat. Yesterday morning, whilst I was leading a walk in Southwark, my fellow Scrubbers noted that a Skylark was singing over the grassland. I was very excited, as this was the first time ever that its streaming song had filled the air at The Scrubs. 

My heart sank when realism kicked in. There is little chance that they would settle down because being an urban site that is traversed by almost every dog alive in the area, they would be too disturbed. I hope that I am wrong.

My Southwark walk was with a group of teenagers involved with the Bankside Urban Forest Project. Together with their group leader, Ruby, we walked the Southwark streets from the Tate Modern to end up in a tiny cemetery. It was here that they came to grips with their first singing Great Tit and Goldfinch.

It was wonderful to see that the birds that us birders barely look at were the complete object of fascination to these kids who previously thought that London's avifauna consisted of pigeons and some more pigeons.

5 comments:

Warren Baker said...

The Skylarks on my patch are put off breeding by two - three daily dogwalkers. I Don't think yours stand much of a chance dave. Bring on the dog flu!!

holdingmoments said...

I saw some Skylarks yesterday, and it brought back so many childhood memories.

Wild Freckle said...

I think I would fall into the last group - as a youngster I thought the only birds that existed were sparrows and pigeons. On a recent visit to Iona, I mentioned to someone (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) that I had seen a flock of pigeons - I was corrected in no uncertain terms "those are rock doves - pure breed -people come for miles to see them" - I will never take a pigeon for granted again - honest guv!

Dean Eades said...

Great day Dave thks

Dean
BirdMad.com

Mike Watson said...

Keep spreading the word David, birding can be fun anywhere. Although I am now almost ashamed to confess that I prefer to be away from the grim 1970s urban environment that I grew up in on Tyneside. There aren't that many buildings here but you're welcome in Bowland anytime. BR, Mike