Down the long hedge,

Tetrad D. -Blakelaw

Birding this tetrad is a labour of love, perhaps typifying all the reasons why NZ26 started. So as an end of year summary it is as good a place to start as anywhere. The tetrad is centred on Blakelaw and has the A1(m) running through it and is probably as far away from a birding location as you would imagine, though it does contain good numbers of House Sparrows.

Its assets are a large playing field which may in future years hold Med Gull as an attraction, but 2015 missed out. A second large grassy area has been halved by building development to the west of the dual carriageway and its attractiveness to the Meadow Pipit found in spring has now probably gone.

The main attraction though is the deciduous hedge of mainly native species that runs along both sides of the A1(M) but only the east side is accessible. Here much to my surprise I met my warbler challenge –finding a warbler in every tetrad, when a Willow Warbler sang on a visit in April. A September visit trumped this when a singing Chiffchaff made it onto every tetrad list –again much to my surprise. It was only at this point I realised I had not made a summer visit so Swallows or Martins overhead may have improved the score.

After 10 completed lists the tetrad was bottom of the league table but with a respectable 30 under the circumstances.

I knew this was a tetrad in which I would not get gripped off and feel confident in claiming an annual tetrad record.  But sadly I am also probably the last person to see Meadow Pipit on what is now a building site.



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