Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday 12th January

Headed down to the park this morning in the hope of Otters. While heading across the fields to fingers a large flock of Lapwing came into view. C.150 birds came from the north east, high over the main lake, before turning and heading back from whence they came! 14 Mute Swans flew in from the north east heading towards the main lake. A female Sparrowhawk was harried by crows as she flew over Kingsmead.

That delay proved beneficial as I headed alongside the navigation channel, towards Kramer hide, I noticed a ripple in the water extending out from the nearside bank. Expecting to find a Mallard I walked through the trees and looked down to see an Otter looking back at me. As I grabbed my video camera from my pack it headed off downstream but, fortunately for me, it turned and headed back up along the far side of the river and I managed to get some video.

video

Just after this video the Otter popped up mid stream right in front of me, checked me out before diving again and disappearing.

In the hide it was very quiet with just c.4 Heron, a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Shoveller, 3 Little Grebe and a Kingfisher. I was hoping the Otter might move from the river into Fingers but it never happened.

I left the hide and checked the river again, in case the Otter was still about, but found another Little Grebe instead. I walked alongside the river heading downstream but found little else. There were 24 Canada Geese on Kingsmead. Down at the kissing gate there were 4 Bullfinch (1f) in the long hedge. I walked back along the Long Hedge and had 2 Mute Swans over east. Possibly the same 2 came in from the east before turning towards the main lake.

Back at Fingers, round the back there were 2 pairs of Gadwall. 2 more male Bullfinch were in the newly coppiced Sheep Pen.

As I reached the steps approx 19 Mute Swans took to the air from the main lake and did a loop of the lake before most, if not all, landed back on the lake. A quick count of Mute Swans returned 45 but was later increased to 57 when I got to a better view point.

From the spit on west fingers there were 5 Little Grebe, 3 Teal (1f), 1 Shoveller (m) and the usual 6 Canada Geese. The male Sparrowhawk flew high overhead. On east Fingers there were at least another 2 Little Grebe although they were close to the channel through to Kramer so they could have been 2 of the 3 seen from the hide earlier.

Spoke to DK while at Kramer hide and he said the Lapwing were part of a larger flock of c.400. He said that c.300 Golden Plover had flown over the park shortly after the Lapwing had departed.

I didn't do the loop of the main lake but DK mentioned that Pochard were at the 140 mark but Shoveller numbers were diminishing to around the 30 mark. He also had a Little Egret on the south side of the main lake this morning.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sat 5th Jan

I had to pop into the park office. Afterwards, I walked down to the spit. The sun was bright but the wind was a cold south-westerly. I was rewarded with the sight of 22 Teal sitting on the sunny sides of the fingers opposite, in groups of 4-6. Both Sat & Sun, there was a lot of toing-and froing by one or more Siskin between the New Cut and the Leat area. A party of Lottis working the Long Hedge contained 14 (ringed) birds.