Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

SI­T­U­ATED ON THE HERTS/ Bucks border, this win­ter bird­ing walk wan­ders through rolling coun­try­side around the pretty vil­lage of Sarratt, so typ­i­cal of the Chiltern Hun­dreds, and is the per­fect tonic to any New Year ex­cesses. The River Chess is at the heart of Spend ex­tra time scan­ning along the river the route, me­an­der­ing through clas­sic chalk down­land scenery of wooded Beech hangars, copses, mixed farm­land, way­sides and com­mons, mak­ing for a wide va­ri­ety of habi­tats. Com­mon farm­land birds can be ex­pected along the way with an out­side chance of find­ing a Marsh Tit or Hawfinch in the wood­lands. On the plus side, Red Kites and Buz­zard are now rou­tinely noted soar­ing above the canopy and along the downs, while conifers are worth check­ing for Firecrest and Cross­bill. The River Chess is a clas­sic chalk stream and sup­ports a wide range of flora and fauna in­clud­ing Wa­ter Vole, Brown Trout and Grayling. Wa­ter­cress beds used to be com­mon­place along the val­ley, but to­day the only com­mer­cial grower re­main­ing is at Sarratt Bot­tom, where as a child I used to fish for Bull­heads and Cray­fish. De­spite the ram­pant ur­ban ex­pan­sion of this part of the Home Coun­ties, the en­vi­rons of Sarratt still man­age to re­tain a ru­ral charm. Any of the trio of vil­lage pubs are worth a lunchtime visit.

Field­fare Firecrest

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