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A longer walk than I anticipated!

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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 08:46   #1
Fozzybear
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A longer walk than I anticipated!

I went for a 10 mile+ walk yesterday morning, although I only intended to go into town! I walked across the Baddow Meads and along the river, watching the Gulls, Magpies and Carrion Crows on the meadow, three or four Goosanders on the river and flying overhead, a few Cormorants heading downstream quite high in the sky and Green Woodpeckers calling from the trees at Barnes Mill. I headed through town watching some Greenfinches in the Alders and at the park listened to Mistle Thrushes singing in the Horsechestnuts near the lake.

Lots of Black-headed Gulls on the lake, plus a few Herring Gulls, Swans, Coots, Moorhens and Mallards, but no Goosanders today. A pair of Dunnocks were moving through the willow trees, one repeatedly calling to the other as it sat on a branch. I carried on along the river up to Waterhouse Lane where I watched around twenty Redwings feeding amongst the fallen leaves, then on into Admirals Park where the flooding had been. The river was back to normal, just a couple of patches of standing water in the depressions amongst the trees left to see. As I walked beside the river I watched the Blackbirds turning leaves and then spotted a Kingfisher speeding along westwards, low over the water.

I paused to sit on a bench next to the water watching the local dogs dashing about and a few Collared Doves flying between the trees before taking the long-distance cycle path that leads to Writtle. I spotted a Jay hiding in a tree, lots of Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, the odd Long-tailed Tit, more Magpies and as I crossed a bridge over the brook I saw a Little Egret circle before dropping down into a neighbouring paddock. I watched it from a gap further along the path and saw it stalk down into the brook out of sight. The path met Lawford Lane at the old bridge and I turned off along a track beside a large field full of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, noisy with the sounds of a nearby football match. At the end of Fox Burrows Lane I crossed the main road to follow the cycle path through the Writtle Agricultural College and on to Cow Watering Lane. I stopped at the large man-made lake on the college grounds to scan the water and shoreline, twenty three Canada Geese, four Tufted Ducks, one Pied Wagtail on the shore and a vast number of Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls there.

As I approached Cow Watering Lane I watched a huge flock of Woodpigeons and Stock Doves feeding amongst the crops, taking flight all at once and heading northwards. I went to stand a field gate on the Lane where I'd looked out to see a Cuckoo last summer, the tree where I'd seen it full of Woodpigeons now! I headed back along the track the way I'd come, looking out for Yellowhammers but none to be seen this time. At the main road I turned south and headed to the village green where I sat and had a drink while watching the ducks on the pond. Lots of hybrid Mallards here, ranging from pure Mallard, 'Vicar' ducks, domestic whites and all shades in-between. The resident white goose lumbered around on one of the islands and the Moorhens were having a right old squabble, one in particular getting very short shrift!

After resting I headed back to Chelmsford along Chelmsford Road and along Waterhouse Lane. I turned off along the footpath that leads to the railway line and the Marconi Ponds nature reserve, very quiet and welcome after walking along busy roads for a while. I walked back through Central Park and paused to sit beside the lake again, noting a number of Coots. a pair were persecuting another Coot, chasing it in noisy honking, splashing fury over the water and at one point over the back of a female Mallard!

From there I headed into town, picked up a few things for dinner in M&S and some birdseed fom Wilkinsons and slowly wound my way home, feeling rather sore of foot!
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 08:52   #2
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Golly! To set off with the intention of popping to town, and ending up doing at 10 mile walk takes some going, Paul! But what a walk! It sounds fabulous and you saw a great variety of birds. I do like the name Cow Watering Lane - lovely!
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 09:25   #3
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Now that's what I call I walk to the shops Paul. Had that have been me, I would have forgotten what I was going for after the first half mile. An enjoyable read. They were pretty diverse walking conditions, and the bird pick-ups good and plentiful. Thanks for sharing.

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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 12:25   #4
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Thanks Baz and Kits. It was a slight detour I must admit but since it was lovely and sunny I kept going to the next little bit and thinking "I'll just go a little further". The footpath from Admirals Park to Writtle is one I hadn't walked before but I'll be using it quite a bit now I think as it was really lovely to walk.

Writtle has some fantastic road names:

Cow Watering Lane
Fox Burrows Lane
Loves Walk
Thieves Corner
East View
Further Meadow
Millfields.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 13:59   #5
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Good heavens, Fozzy, you did walk a long way. At least being male you would have been wearing appropriate clothing & wearing sensible shoes or boots, unlike us ladies who probably wouldn't have been wearing either, so unable to detour from a walk to the shops.
I love the male & female Goosander in flight shots. Super!
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 14:05   #6
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Fantastic shots, Paul, and excellent names - thank you for those.

Val - I do take issue with you! This female would be wearing sensible shoes and warm clothes if she were to walk to the shops.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 15:07   #7
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I did say probably, Kits. How about the over 10 mile walk though? Even in sensible clothing I think it would have been too much for me. Specially around here with all our hills.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 15:48   #8
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You're a sucker for punishment, Paul! Thanks for sharing it with us, you certainly see a great variety of birds in your neck of the woods.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 16:20   #9
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It does help that it's pretty flat around my local area, the south-east is not known for it's peaks. There are some pretty big hills around but Essex is more about wide river valleys and soft undulating landscapes, probably because it's not a place with a rocky geology. You can go for a long walk without it feeling like purgatory, which suits me fine.

I'm sure you'd be ok in the fairly flat landscape we have here Val, you just need some decent boots and an occasional bench for a few minutes rest. If I can do it then it can't be that heavy-going, although I've surprised quite a few people with the amount of walking I do as I'm not the athletic type - more beach ball than beach beau!
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 18:56   #10
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I wish my shopping trips were as productive (bird wise) as yours, Paul! All I tend to see are Woodpigeons and Pied Wagtails, as lovely as they are.lol! What a super walk you had, one I would enjoy doing anyday..in suitable attire of course!

Great photo's and a great read, thanks!
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 22:45   #11
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Flat land walking is fine, Fozzy. I can do that, (not sure about 10+ miles though, ) & I do have all the right gear, but here it's all up & down.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 06:23   #12
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Thanks Pam. Your shopping trips are probably less exhausting though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by palval147 View Post
Flat land walking is fine, Fozzy. I can do that, (not sure about 10+ miles though, ) & I do have all the right gear, but here it's all up & down.
Having been to Exmoor on holiday my legs can vouch for that Val. I remember climbing the 400ft cliff path from Lymouth to Lynton a few times and really struggling - climbing on the last morning was getting a little easier but not with all our bags!*

Being from the south-east we're not used to walking up big hills and I remember my brother went off climbing around Countisbury Hill one day when I was feeling a bit tired and stayed around Lynmouth - he came back completely shattered! I've got a photo somewhere of him sitting on the sofa looking a little worse for wear after that!


*we had to go to Lynton to catch the first bus to Barnstaple for the train home
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 10:34   #13
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I think Dartmoor is worse, Fozzy, we live 10 minutes walk from Dartmoor straight upwards. I used to walk all over Dartmoor, as I was very into 'Letterboxing' long before birding, bird watched after as well. But I got older & less inclined to punish myself.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 13:43   #14
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First time I've heard of letterboxing... had to look it up to be sure it wasn't something rude!

Only kidding. Sounds a bit like geocaching without the GPS - a friend of mine does geocaching, she's forever hunting for little lunchboxes in bushes and rabbit holes!
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 14:38   #15
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Fozzy. I have tramped all over Dartmoor in a group or with a friend, searching for those elusive 'letterboxes'. I have probably seen far more of the moor than I would ordinarily have done, without the added attraction of a nice stamp for my postcard at the end of it.
Geocaching, had to look that up as well. It is a bit like Letterboxing.
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