Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday 1st December

Very windy and quite cold with the windchill. On arrival there were 2 Little Egret in the South East corner of the main lake. I headed down to the Finger lakes and along the spit. There were 2 Shoveller on Lillypads and a further 11 flying around the park. Also on Lillypads there were 5 Little Grebe, 3 Teal (2m) along one of the fingers and the new resident pair of Mute Swans. There were 2 Herons here also.

From the crescent looking across East fingers there were 2 Little Grebe by the spit but by the time I had walked around the east side there were 5. Not sure if some of those had come from the other side of the spit so at least 7 total and possibly 10. There was a possible Water Rail crossing the channel between East Fingers and Kramer lake but it was seen from the crescent in silhouette so not 100% certain, looked to have a long beak though.

At Kramer hide there were 5 more Shoveller (3m2f) although these were probably some of the earlier 11 as the last sight I had of them was dropping in to the area of Kramer hide. There were also 3 Gadwall (2m1f) and the resident Mute Swans had also moved through to this section. There were also 3 Herons, 2 in the usual tree and one on the end of the spit.

Around the back of the finger lakes there were 2 female Shoveller, 1 male Teal and 3 Gadwall (2m1f). There were more Teal calling but I couldn't see them, very vocal though.

There were several Goldfinch in the Rough, chattering away, not sure of numbers though but at least half a dozen, probably more. As I headed towards the steps 2 Herons flew over, one getting some serious attention from a BH Gull.

Heading along the main path a couple of guys said there were 3 Mergansers in the beach corner of the main lake. These turned out to be 3 red head Goosander which were feeding along the edge of the reed bed. Heading past the fishing swims on the east side of the main lake I spooked a Kingfisher which flew low across the water.

A poor quality image of one of the goosanders

At the main lake hide there were 4 Pochard (3m1f). Only counted 34 Great Crested Grebe today but the lake was rough and the Grebe were well spread across the lake making the count difficult. Cormorants numbered 25.

Along the river by the boat club moorings 19 Canada Geese were heading downstream and upstream there were a further 31 Canadas and 2 Mute Swans, an adult and a cygnet.
I headed back towards the main lake and heard a Kingfisher calling from the south west corner. The female Mute Swan with the 2 cygnets seems to have found a new partner and both were preening at the sailing club end of the lake. The 2 cygnets flew in, having had a bit of flight training, and headed over to join the 2 adults.

No sign of the Little Egrets when I left the park.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thurs 29th

A sunny day and the warmest part spent in the Rough with a couple of nets!
3 Gt.Spots flew over singly in the same direction late morning. A Sky Lark sang as it passed. A calling Chiff set off a (male) Blackcap that "tick"ed away for quite some time behind the long hedge. It (or another) was back an hour later. On "lilypads", a second Moorhen has learnt the 'dodge' of sticking to the Little Grebes, as they dive for their dinner, and finishing the 'scraps'. The widowed swan took off from the main lake with two offspring, heading for safer pastures to the east. The orphaned one swam strongly around the Fingers, trying to evade (successfully) the new, dominant male that wants everybody off!
In late morning, a pair of Wigeon seemed settled. A female Shoveler swam leisurely along a reedy finger but got the fright of its life when a Moorhen called as it passed within inches! There were probably about about half a dozen Shoveler feeding on lilypads all day. A Pied Wagtail flew into the air and "chiswick"ed. About 15:10, there was a lot of noise (sort of wiffelling) from the water; on investigation it turned out to be 13 Teal coming in for the night in dribs and drabs and greeting each other.
Back in the Rough, 4 Lesser Redpolls passed over, then 5 (at least) Siskins came to feed in the alder. [When I was leaving, 6 flew over the centre, calling]. A Goldcrest called for a short while. Finch wise, not a lot else; about 10 Goldfinches, in pairs or singly, spent most of the day here, feeding leisurely and unconcerned at my presence. Probably 16 Chaffinches but only 3 or 4 Greenfinches. As the light began to fade, A smart, male Reed Bunting in wp called and fed on bramble and nettle seeds a few feet from me.
The days tally - 8 Blackbirds, 4 of which were continentals and 2 might have been. Biggest bird = a young male with a wing of 140 and rufous edges to its under tail coverts, weight 118 gms.
PS. The Little Egret left when the BTCV group started their task by the main hide.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday 26th November

An overcast start to the day but very still so not as cold as I expected. A single Little Egret in the SE corner of the main lake this morning and at least 4 Herons spread around the main lake.
The Mute Swans that came in yesterday had moved on leaving only the lone female with two of her cygnets on the main lake. The other cygnet was on east fingers practising his flying but soon attracted the attentions of the new resident pair and he was chased off the lake, seeking sanctuary in one of the fishing swims on the east side of east fingers. It tried to get back in the water a little later only to be chased off again, finally finding sanctuary on lillypads tucked away down one of the fingers.

On arrival at the park there were 19 Shoveller, 8 Pochard and 2 Tufted ducks. A later count revealed a third Tufted duck.

Had a Kingfisher fly across the main path from the main lake to fingers as I walked down to the beach.

Headed down to the crescent to find a pair of Wigeon on east fingers and 5 Little Grebe. A Water Rail squealed in the crescent reed bed. Just a Moorhen and a pair of Mallard on Lillypads. As I headed back out onto the main path, down to the beach again, another/same Kingfisher flew across the path in front of me. It had a small fish in its beak and was being chased by a couple of BH Gulls.

Spoke to Tony P who was trying to locate possible Chiffchaff in the South east corner of east fingers. Sadly what ever it was went quiet when he got close to the original call location. While we were chatting a Single Siskin flew over and dropped into the Alders on the far side of the flood channel. It sounded like there were more Siskins already there but we were unable to spot them. Saw Tony again later and he said he had a single Siskin in the trees by the Crescent reed bed.

At Kramer hide there were two Herons and a pair of Shoveller. Further round Fingers heading towards the Sedgewick seat there were 9 Gadwall tucked away round the back.
A male Great Spot was calling from the sheep pen. At the dead seat I counted 5 Shoveller, 3 Little grebe and a Heron. I am pretty certain that the 5 Shoveller were from the 19 on the main lake as a later count of those on the main lake revealed only 14. Difficult to say whether the pair from Kramer were 2 of the 5. Also fairly certain that the 3 Little Grebe were 3 of the 5 from East fingers as there had been a group of 3 near the channel between east and west fingers.
From the main lake hide there were 32 Cormorant and 47 Great Crested Grebe. Also had a Kingfisher fly straight down my binoculars, well almost!

Headed along the back river up past the boat club moorings where, just up stream there were 20 Canada Geese and 2 Mute Swans (an adult and a cygnet).

During the morning had 1, 2, 7 and 30 Fieldfare over south.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Guided walk 25th Nov

A small party braved the cold wind. 2 Little Egrets and 9 Mute Swan on the main lake to begin with and to end with. Fingers held 9 Little Grebe, 2 male Tufted, 2 Shoveler (that flew off to join the other 15 on the main lake), just 1 pair of Gadwall and two new (unringed) Mute Swans that didn't seem interested in the three, still grey, cygnets. Deposed Mum, we presume, had hopped over to the main lake. 9 Fieldfare flew over NW. No Chiff or Water Rail heard, just Robins, Chaffinch & tits.
Round the main lake we failed to locate one of the Egrets - it had moved before we got there. From the hide, 28 Cormorant, over 50 GC Grebe, 1 male Pochard, the 2 Tufted & 17 Shoveler (+1 female Pintail -DB). Plenty of Common & Black-headed Gulls, some of the latter starting to get their black heads! [Looks like a faint collar] 2 Kingfisher flew along the middle (closed) section and perched. The "experts" could pick them out easily, but it took some time for the "beginners" to find them because of the cryptic colouration against the leaves and branches. This is always difficult at a distance. [We all had 8x binos, so it wasn't a case of better optics]
Along the Leat, a Green and a Gt.Spotted Woodpecker were picked up on call. On to the Kramer hide where there were 4 Herons to be joined by a 5th. The Crows were 'playing on the wind' when they were not feeding on Kingsmead. A single Redwing, 3 more Fieldfare & a pair of Bullfinch before reaching the "dead seat" where we managed to catch up with the 7 Teal that we had been hearing as we walked along the "Long Hedge". The Treecreeper eluded us.
The next walk - Sunday 23rd December, 09:00 at VC.