Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sat 26-01-08

As it was a nice day but quite windy still, decided to try something different. Set up 3 nets in the fenced flower meadow, north of Fingers. A bit slow to start with but a Jay across the concrete bridge was unexpected - and followed by a second was a mega surprise. Followed them down to the Sedgewick seat, where the first (a male?) displayed to the second (a female?). They were seen several times later, one following the other. Will they nest somewhere along the Long Hedge this year, I wonder?
Caught a pair of Robins and ringed them on opposite legs (male, right; female, left). Three Siskins flew over and we could hear two different Redpolls along the Navigation. The female Goldeneye on "big fingers" was proclaimed to us by DK; it stayed all day, along with a Wigeon for company at one point. Two Little Grebe were close to the nets. Mute Swans were overflying most of the day; I had counted 56 on the far side of the main lake on my arrival at the VC at 8am.
A small party of Goldfinches passed to and fro. A Green Woodpecker kept calling on and off all day somewhere nearby and we only saw the one Gt. Spot. Two lots of two Lottis were caught at lunch time. In the afternoon, we caught two immature (2CY) Blackbirds, both with 6ogc, both 'long-winged' - must be "foreigners"! Two Redwing were high in the ash trees, so no hope there.
During the day, as we wandered about between net rounds, we saw three different male Sparrs; the defending male, a young, brown upstart and a pale contender.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday 20th January (My two penneth)

Arrived early again but the corvids had already left the roost this morning with it being much brighter. Two Little Egrets were on roost again and remained until about 07:45. The water level in the finger lakes had dropped by about 10 inches, since yesterday, the river was down at least 2 feet with water now running from Fingers into the river, through the pipe, rather than the other way like yesterday. It was very quiet this morning, a Coot was a nice surprise but other than that the only other visitors were a couple of Moorhen and a couple of pairs of Mallard. I was just about to pack up to go and join the guided walk when a Cormorant turned up. It was while watching the Cormorant fishing that the Otters appeared. They were in the reeds in the gap through to west Fingers and disappeared through the gap. I setup the video camera in case they came back, which, after a few minutes they did. There were two playing in the same reeds for a few seconds before they disappeared again, for good this time. The following video shows the Little Egrets leaving their roost site, followed by a short clip of the Otters:

While waiting for the Otters to come back a Kingfisher put in an appearance for a short time. So not so quiet after all!

I left the hide and joined up with the guided walk (See EN's earlier blog):

The first time we saw the Lapwing I counted 55 although EN thought there were less. The second group was 31, both were heading south but with significant time between sightings. We had 2 Greylags over north and 4 Gadwall over north east. Pair of Mute Swans on East Fingers with a pair of Great Crested Grebe.

With the Corvids and Wagtails on Kingsmead there were c.300 gulls, mostly BHG but some CG. It was spectacular when something put them all up and they swirled together in the strong wind. The Gulls make it look so easy as they soar on the wind, it comes a bit harder for the Corvids but they have fun anyway.

Nothing out of the ordinary on the walk but good company, plenty of birds and it didn't rain. Join us for the next one.

Sunday's walk (20th Jan)

Not much of a turn-out - no doubt because of the weather. The river had subsided by at least two feet, making much of the park accessible again, but Fingers remained high, with the path by the steps needing good wellies! Even in wellies, one couldn't make the crescent circuit. Reliably, Fingers was emptying back into the navigation channel.
31 Lapwing blogging; we saw them twice; and a male Sparr!. Finding a singing Chiff on the spit was very pleasing. About 6 Little Grebes swimming in the murky waters of 'lilypads'. Just the one Great Spot. The Grey Herons totalled 7 in all, with 2 breeding adults, 2 non-breeding adults (3CY?) and the rest 'real immatures'. Kingsmead was very "watchable" - a party of 100+ Rooks dominated the Crows, with maybe 50 Jackdaws admixed. 22 Starlings gave a good performance. Small birds yielded up 3 or more Mipits and well over 50 Pied Wagtails. 12 Magpies were being a pest.
We had a look at the progress of the new Meadow Lane diggings, but nothing doing (birdwise). There were 3 well spaced Song Thrushes belting out their claim to various parts of the park on our return. The main lake held the usual numbers of Pochard (c.160), Tufted (c.10), Shoveler (c.24), Swans (c.30) & GC Grebes (c.12). Overall concensus = very quiet generally, but well worth the effort ... and it was mild. So mild of late, the Blackthorn is ready to bud-burst!