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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Recently in the park

It's the quiet time of the year as the summer migrants start heading off south and the autumn migrants are yet to arrive. Many of the resident species are going through their moults and keeping their heads down.

On Saturday 8th August I made my first visit to the park after my holiday and had a Cetti's Warbler where the Canoe Slalom empties into the Navigation Channel. The Cetti's we have had in the park recently have been surprisingly quiet for this species and this one was the same with just a couple of partial bursts of song betraying it's presence. There was a Common Sandpiper on 100 Acre.

On the following Sunday I had a Cetti's on 100 Acre where I had set up for another photography session for Little Grebes. This bird was much more vocal singing regularly for the first 3 quarters of an hour and then sporadically thereafter. The Little Grebes are still playing hard to get and despite there being 3 pairs around the bay none appear to have bred so there are still no young to be seen. In fact they still seem to be squabbling over territory!
Little Grebe eating a Stickleback
A Cormorant turned up and did a bit of fishing in front of me but only seemed to be catching small fish which were swallowed unseen.

 I had a Green Sandpiper fly over my hide calling and a Common Sandpiper was seen along with a couple of Little Egrets. Juvenile Sparrowhawks were calling from the trees over by Riverside Pond and were seen occasionally as they broke cover to chase around.

This weekend it was very quiet in the park but there were pockets of birds on Elderberries and Blackberries. Blackcaps were the bulk of these but we had Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaffs and there was a Willow Warbler in the car park, a rarity in the park!

Blackcap on Elderberries.
100 Acre was also quiet with a single Common Sandpiper the highlight of the birds. Highlight of the morning was a very fresh Otter Spraint and tracks on the border between 100 Acre and Castle Mill.

There is a bat walk walk coming up on Friday the 28th at 8pm. You need to pre-book this walk as it is very popular and numbers are limited.

The next bird walk is on Sunday 30th starting at 8am outside the visitor centre, hope to see you there.