Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday 12/04/2014

Another great morning in the park with a number of firsts for me for the year. Despite a cold wind this morning and overcast conditions, spring seemed to be in the air with a number of species seen mating including one of the pairs of Mute Swans on the Finger Lakes. I think these are the new pair but Orange 500 and her new mate are still hanging in there. The new pair were also nest building along one of the fingers this morning.
Mute Swan mating dance
The pair of Great Crested Grebes on Fingers were also seen doing the weed dance. There were also at least 3 Treecreepers along the Spit and the resident Common Buzzard was also about, being mobbed by a Crow as usual!

There was also some interesting behaviour from a Grey Heron seen from Kramer hide. There were four Herons in the area but one was obviously in breeding condition showing a lot of orange on its beak and it was moving branches about as if trying to build a nest. Feathers on the neck and crest were erect and there was a lot of bill clacking and sky pointing going on. Here are some pictures unfortunately obscured by branches.

Erect crest and neck feathers
Bill clacking
Sky pointing
There was quite a bit of Oystercatcher activity around the main lake island and it looks like there maybe one sitting on a nest on the island although it was obscured by foliage so we'll have to keep an eye on it. At least we know where we should be looking now.
Oystercatchers over the main lake
One of my year firsts was a singing Sedge Warbler at the STW reed bed. On to 100 Acre and we had the usual array of birds including the Black-winged Stilt which was very mobile this morning, Redshanks, Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers. Another year first was the 3 House Martins in with a group of Sand Martins and Swallows. There was also a White Wagtail but we dipped on Yellow Wagtail which had been seen by AG earlier. A Black Swan was a first for the site, initially on the crop field with 21 Mute Swans and later on the nearby lake.
Black Swan on 100 Acre
There were a lot of Blackcaps around the park this morning but Chiffchaffs seemed less numerous. There were also a handful of Willow Warblers around and when we returned to the Visitor a Common Buzzard passed overhead.
Common Buzzard
Earlier this week I popped down to the park in the evening to see what bats were around. While I was waiting for sun down quite a few Sand Martins came in over Fingers and the main lake, I estimated 60 when they all got up at the west end of the main lake. I was also fortunate to see a Swallow in with the flock over Fingers as I scanned through them with my bins.

I also came across this male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Crescent.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Also of note were:
2 Shovelers (m) Fingers
5 Little Egrets
1 Oystercatcher

1 Buzzard calling from the Finger Lakes area

The bats showed up around 20:20 and good numbers of Pipistrelles were out and about when I left at 20:50. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Saturday 05/04/2014

It was a great morning in the park starting with the first Common Tern of the year which was flying around the main lake when I arrived just after 6am. It was still about when DK and JA arrived so we all got our year tick.
Common Tern
We also had 2 Common Terns over 100 Acre and by the time we got back to the Park there were 2 over the main lake which were still there when we left.

Highlight of the morning was the Red Kite first seen over 100 Acre and then again over the visitor centre and heading west just before we left the park.

Red Kite
Red Kite
Red Kite
 There was also a Common Buzzard over 100 Acre.
Common Buzzard
100 Acre also had a good selection of waders with Snipe, Oystercatcher, Redshank and the colour ringed Black-winged Stilt all showing well. There were 4 Little Ringed Plovers over on the earth works at Castle Mill and a single Ringed Plover.

Little Ringed Plovers
Ringed Plover
There were plenty of spring migrants in the park with a couple of Willow Warblers, plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a handful of Sand Martins. There was an Oystercatcher on the main lake island, all in all a pretty good morning birding.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Guided Bird Walk - 30/03/2014

A great turnout for the guided walk this morning despite the clocks going forward and it being Mothers Day! The sun struggled to make an appearance finally appearing as we returned to the Visitor Centre at the end of the walk. The only disappointment was that the Sand Martins failed to show having been present most mornings since their first appearance a couple of weeks ago. Can't complain though as we had 51 species on the list by the end of the morning.

Willow Warblers have also arrived with TP having the first one yesterday but unfortunately despite at least 4 being around the park this morning we failed to connect with one during the walk.

Highlight for me were the Redshanks which were playing hard to get at first but we finally found them on the return leg across 100 Acre. The colour ringed Black-winged Stilt also showed well although it does seem to have an injured leg and was limping quite badly. A couple of Ringed Plovers also showed well on the Castle Mill earth works.

Here's the full list kindly noted down by Marion Hession:

Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Tufted Duck
Little Grebe
Great-crested Grebe
Grey Heron
Black-winged Stilt
Ringed Plover
Black-headed Gull
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Wood Pigeon
Collared Dove
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Song Thrush
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Carrion Crow
Reed Bunting