Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday 24th May

With the forecast bad for Sunday and Monday I thought I would make the most of Saturday as the weather was bright and dry, if somewhat blustery. There are still good numbers of Mute Swans on the main lake (c.23) but just 6 Common Terns. I counted 24 Canada Geese from the north side of the main lake and the family party were over by the sailing club, not sure how many goslings are left as I couldn't see them very clearly. A Common Sandpiper flew across the main lake, calling, before I lost sight of it in the north west corner, opposite the Beefeater. The Common Whitethroat was still singing on the island. A Mallard with 12 ducklings was on the north side of the main lake as I headed along the path towards the Finger lakes. Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were singing near the Labyrinth.


Along the main path down by fingers there was neither sight nor sound of the Reed Warblers in the main lake reed bed. A Chiffchaff was singing in the Crescent and the usual C. Whitethroat was singing on the south east corner of the Finger lakes. On east Fingers the Great Crested Grebe family are still going strong with at least one of the youngsters getting about by itself on occasion. The chicks are already getting a bit large to both be on the same adults back, but they manage it somehow! Also on east Fingers there were a couple of Coot and Grey Heron. Unlike their main lake cousins the crescent reed bed Reed Warblers were very vocal as normal. A Reed Bunting was also singing in the Crescent.


Along the spit both Garden Warbler and Blackcap were singing. On west Fingers there were 3 Herons, Cormorant, Gadwall (m), Coot and Mute Swan. Reed Warblers were singing in the reed bed closest to the Dead Seat. The Rough was very quiet with just Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler and Song Thrush. Up by the Rough gate a family party of Blue Tits were seemingly all around in the trees opposite and a Blackcap was singing down by the dipping platform. Another Blackcap was singing at the north end of the Rough. Along the path between the Rough and the Sedgewick seat yet another Blackcap was singing and a family party of Great Tits were out and about in the coppiced plantation. A Chiffchaff was singing in the Willows just past the Sedgewick seat.


Little of note in the Woodland Walk, just a couple of Blackcaps singing down by the steps and Garden Warbler by the Kissing Gate. Crossing the old railway bridge I noticed the male Tufted Duck was still about on the river by the STW. There were Reed Warblers singing in the most of the reed beds by the STW. A Cuckoo was calling from Riverside. On 100 Acre there were a pair of Lapwing with 3 chicks. The chicks looked very mobile and the parent seemed uninterested on first glance but soon sprung into action when a Crow showed up, dive bombing it in an attempt to drive it off. c.10 House Martins joined the Lapwings by the water to collect mud for nests, making several trips between 100 Acre and Riverside. There was also a Ringed Plover, couldn't tell if LRP due to distance but could easily make out the black bands on the head and chest. A Blackcap was ticking by the STW entrance.


As I continued along the cycle track towards Meadow Lane a party of 4 Lesser Black Backed Gulls drifted over south followed, shortly after, by a Common Buzzard. At Meadow Lane Gravel Pit there was a Great Crested Grebe, Redshank and a couple of Black Headed Gulls. They were joined later by a couple of Common Terns. In the field on the opposite side of the cycle path there were 4 Lapwing.


Back at the railway bridge there was a Cormorant in the river by the STW and a couple more at the mouth of the Cut. As I followed the path along the navigation channel a Cuckoo called from Kingsmead but this could have been the same bird from Riverside which had been calling regularly and seemed to be getting closer while I was back on the cycle path. The Sedge Warbler was in it's usual place by the navigation channel, just before the trees behind Kramer hide. A Common Whitethroat was singing on the east side of Fingers by the navigation channel.


At the Beach there was a Mallard with 5 ducklings and another with 6 (the all-sorts family!). Round by the main lake hide a Reed Warbler was singing in the reed bed to the left of the hide. A Kingfisher departed as I arrived at the Leat Pool. I cut through to the river to check out Fenlake and was followed by a Hornet, my first of the year. There were several singing Sedge Warblers on the south side of the river and a couple of Mute Swans on Fenlake. A Common Whitethroat was singing on the south side of the River and a Great Spotted Woodpecker called from the north side.

At the south west corner of the main lake a Blackcap was singing and a Cuckoo called and flew from the same area, across the lake, towards Fingers where it disappeared into the trees. There were a couple of lone ducklings by the south west corner reed bed, couldn't see any others or adults about. At least one Great Crested Grebe on the main lake and another female Mallard with 9 ducklings in the north west corner. Hirundines were thin on the ground again with Swifts most numerous and just odd Martins and Swallows showing occasionally. Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat were singing around the car park.
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