Siberian Chiffchaff in Bishop’s Waltham
Another rare visitor !
It’s nice having Bishop’s Waltham Ponds within a 2 / 3 minute walking distance and in the last 4 weeks we’ve had the pleasure of being visited by a Goosander and in the last few days, a Siberian Chiffchaff ,
I noticed it being there by reading it had been spotted on 4th.January by local Birder Peter Potts. Luckily, it was still there when I took the camera down on the 9th.
Alongside 3 or so common Chiffchaffs, this one stuck out by it’s lighter colours, but hard to photograph due to it being quite active jumping between the bushes alongside the Pond by the footbridge
Bishop’s Waltham Ponds
An appropriate time to write a bit about the Ponds.
On first view, especially the North Pond, you’d think they were Lakes and to be fair so did I. This led me to search what the difference is and apparently it’s to do with depth. If it’s shallow enough for the sun to reach the bottom, it’s a Pond so if deeper, it’s a Lake. There you go !
The Footbridge over North Pond
The South Pond was actually dug by Monks some hundreds of years ago. Being right next to the derelict Palace, it was dug to breed fish for the Bishop’s table.
Separated by the main through road, the North Pond is some 250 meters north to south and at it’s widest just over 100 meters.
It’s blessed with fish so when the water level is low, Herons find it the place to be but Cormorants can be seen at almost any time of the year.
Bishop’s Waltham South Pond (Derelict Bishop’s Palace in background
About 50 meters from the top end there’s a public footbridge which links a large housing estate to the Town Centre. This makes it quite busy but a really good viewpoint for families or anyone to just take time out and watch, especially in Spring when hatching has taken place and the arrival of House Martins and Swifts who love the amount of insects available.
The nice thing is it’s fairly protected with very few viewing points so birds get their own space when they’re not walking the south side picnic area for easy snacks !