Monday, September 21, 2015

Update 21/09/2015

It's been a while since my last post so thought it was time for an update. The August guided bird walk was a bit disappointing from a species point of view. We had a very good turnout for an 8am start but the birds just didn't play ball. At the moment if you find a roving Tit flock you never know what you might find tagging along with them and a sunny morning always helps. Unfortunately during the guided walk we didn't get either so the species count was a bit down. A Kingfisher flypast on the Finger Lakes was a good start and most people managed to see it. We did have great views of a Kestrel and a couple of Buzzards on 100 Acre although we did have to work for the Buzzards as recent ploughing made the going rather tough.

In the last couple of weeks things seem to be improving a bit, especially on 100 Acre where Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Linnets are showing again and a flock of ~80 Lapwings flew in on Sunday morning. Fingers crossed for the September guided walk which is on Sunday 27th starting at 9am outside the visitor centre.

Last weekend a Kingfisher showed well outside the Kramer hide, even staying put for a few photo's.

Kingfisher outside Kramer Hide
This weekend a Common Sandpiper showed well in the duck feeding area. We normally only see these early in the morning before the park gets busy but this individual was still around mid morning and seemingly oblivious to passing people as it hunted for insects in the grass.

Common Sandpiper in the duck feeding area!
On 100 Acre last weekend we found this Wasp Spider. This is a relative new comer to the country but is spreading fast and although not a first for the county we do think it is the first for the park.
Wasp Spider on 100 Acre
In my last post I reported that the Little Grebe's I have been watching all summer had finally had a chick. I have been back twice since I posted but unfortunately I have to report that the chick did not make it. It was rather late in the year for a new chick to appear but I had expected it to survive. Sadly I have not seen any sign on either of my recent visits. Both the adults are still in the same area and appear fine although it was noticeable this week that the summer plumage was beginning to fade.

It was quite misty early on Sunday morning and there were up to 5 Coots in the bay with the Little Grebes. They were the first to show as the light levels came up.

Coot in the mist
The Little Grebes were actively fishing around the edge of the bay and I thought they might be catching invertebrates as they were sticking close to the reeds but this one was making a dent in the Stickleback population!

Little Grebe with Stickleback

Another Stickleback bites the dust.
We had a great turnout for the volunteer task at the beginning of the month and we started the thinning out of the W plantation (AKA the Woodland Walk). Plenty more work to do in there so we might be back again next month. Check out the blog for details of volunteering opportunities in the park, or give the rangers a call.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Saturday 22nd August

The highlight of Saturday morning was an Otter on the main lake. Found by DK and JA, who thoughtfully gave me a call so I could see the animal as well, it spent 20-30 mins out in the middle of the lake, east of the island, just fishing. In the end we left just as it headed off to the south east corner of the lake.

Record shot of the Otter
EG and DH were ringing in the Rough and catching reasonable numbers while we were there. Plenty of Blackcaps in the catch and the odd surprise.

Green Woodpecker (moulting everything!)
A Goldcrest and a Common Whitethroat were a couple of the other ringing highlights.

It was a good morning for Raptors with Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and a distant Hobby all seen. We watched the Kestrel dive into a Willow and JA watched it feeding on a Dragonfly. It never ceases to amaze me how good their vision must be. It was across the other side of the river when it must have spotted the Dragonfly on a branch in the Willow!

A Common Sandpiper was heard on 100 Acre and along with a couple of Little Egrets was the highlight of that area.

As always at this time of year there are large areas of the park where it is quiet and then you come across a mixed flock of tits and warblers feeding in a particular tree and you might get 20-30 birds or more in a tiny area.

Sunday I went back to my Little Grebe spot on 100 Acre and was surprised to find they have finally hatched a chick. It's getting quite late in the year so hopefully the weather will hold up to give this little fellow a chance. Here a few pictures. (click for a full size version).

Adult (chick is on it's back hidden under the wings)

Chick peeking over the adults shoulder

Chick eating a small fish

Chick eating a Blue-tailed damselfly
Join us on Sunday morning (30th) for the next guided bird walk. Meet at 8am outside the visitor centre.