Saturday, March 22, 2008

Am I completely mad?

...may be so! Arrived at the park just before 06:30 and the rain was just starting so I headed straight for Kramer hide. I was surprised, given the cold, wind and rain, that the Sedgewick Seat Chiff was on territory singing strongly. I flushed a pair of Teal as I walked through that section of Fingers. At the hide I could still hear the SS Chiff which was quite mobile during my stay. A pair of Gadwall were in front of the hide and a pair of Little Grebe came out of the main reed bed. Look like a different pair, compared to those seen the last few weeks, as the colouration of one was a lot paler than the other and neither birds plumage looked as bright as the other pair. A Green Woodpecker passed through from right to left and a male Shoveler was seen through the gap to west Fingers. A young Heron came in to the usual roost tree. Mallard and Moorhen were also present. A Chiffchaff started singing directly behind the hide and at first I thought it was the SS bird but then later both were heard singing at the same time. I watched from the hide door and located the singing Chiff which was accompanied by another. I left the hide when the snow started blowing through the front!

The water level has dropped further in Fingers but is still draining out through the pipe. As I walked down the Spit a Chiff flew, over my head, back towards the main path, stopping in a tree on the west side. Another was singing strongly over by the Rough. On west Fingers a Little Grebe, pair of Teal and three pairs of Canada Geese while on east Fingers a couple of male Mallards, a Cormorant and a male Tufted Duck were all present. Heading back along the Spit a Water Rail flew, from one of the fishing swims, along in front of me before disappearing into the crescent. A Chiff was heard singing in the trees around the Crescent (maybe the one seen earlier).

Back on the main path, heading back to the car, the wind was really blowing making it feel even colder than it actually was. A single Sand Martin was seen over the main lake, bet he wishes he'd stayed in Africa! c.11 Redwing were feeding on the meadow between the main path and the hedge by the Labyrinth accompanied by a number of Blackbirds.

There aren't many times when I am glad to be back at the car but with frozen fingers this was one of those times.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good any day

Feeders busy. Nice and sunny but blowing a raw gale.
Fingers - 1 m Teal, 1 m Tufted, 3 L.Grebe, 1 pr Gadwall, 1 pr Swans, 3 prs Canada + 7 non prs. Quite a lot of Moorhens busying themselves now they've lost their 'markers'. Min. of 12 Smarties roaming back and forth over KM/FL/ML. Kestrel looking more like a Cuckoo in the wind. Possible Blackcap in the brambles on the spit. 5 singing Chiffs in conservation zone & some lady Chiffs. Bread lady feeding the Robins. Lots of Goldies low in the trees/bushes on the north side of 'lilypads' (a good dozen). Crescent flooded and now occupied by Mallards. No Reebu seen/heard.
Fingers now down c.3 inches with another 4 inches to be let off before the pipe runs dry. Then it's down to the sunshine/water table.

Good Friday....

...or should that be "not so good". Very blustery conditions but thankfully dry and the flood water has receded somewhat. The water is draining back through the pipe, from Fingers to the navigation channel.

Made an early start but sadly forgot to pick up my bins before I left the house (DOH!). At Kramer hide a pair of Teal, pair of Mallard and a few Moorhens. Also a lovely Green Woodpecker, probably our drumming friend, and a singing Reed Bunting opposite the hide.

On Kingsmead still some standing water and plenty of Corvids rooting about, along with the usual Canada Geese, Pheasants and Moorhens.

I checked out the nest box where the GW has been doing his thing and while there a Water Rail flew from the spit across towards the reed beds in front of Kramer hide. The nest box is still intact with it's black ring around the hole. One of the boxes along the new woodland walk has a similar black ring.

A Chiffchaff was singing strongly up by the Sedgewick seat and came to within 3m. Another Chiffy was singing along by the Rough and also came quite close before moving off along the path in front of me.

At the spit a third Chiffy singing in the fenced off section at the end. On west Fingers a single Little Grebe and a couple Canadas. On east Fingers 3 Little Grebe, pair of Mute Swans, the "gang of six" Canada Geese and a single male Tufted Duck. Also up to a dozen Sand Martins zipping about over east and west Fingers.

Heading back to the car had a possible female Blackcap in the hedges behind the VC but without bins cannot be certain.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring? Nah!

Although DK had 27 Smarties on Sunday, and 5 Chiffs, a Water Rail & a Shelduck, it didn't feel too grand today (Tues).
Wus greeted by Blackbirds all over the "lawns" and 4 Redwing looking for worms in the wet turf. Further along, a Chiff in full sail and a couple of 'Mavis's' just listening for worms or snails. Filled up the empty feeders (nice and sheltered here) whilst the Chiff let me know he was about. Lovely bird - milky underparts and a nice olive on top. Chanced the mud (I got 21mm of rain in my guage) to view the Canada Geese wars. A kingfisher called from the reedy bit of Fingers and on the other side of the path 'busy' Great Tits, Blackbirds and Goldfinches. Down at the "crescent", a female Reed Bunt, a male Gt. Spot looking for some grub in the base of the willows, a Gt Tit enjoying the nectar from the willow catkins and a splendid male Chaffinch pronouncing its claim to the area. Over 'big fingers', 7 Smarties, my first for the year.
The Leat was well up (slalom gate open) and the Navigation was surcharging the pipe and filling Fingers. We've just seen Fingers "settled" and now it's filling up again! No Herons; just the usual Moorhens trying to sort out where to build a nest. I did hear a 'whickering' Dabchick. The Green Woodpecker was doing a surreptitious [big word just for John] tune on the box - or it is just getting pissed off with getting nowhere. Round the corner, more Chiffs, Robins bursting with song - until the Long-tailed Tit trilled a warning. Over went the female Sparr, the silence ceased and the Robins carried on, back from the beginning of the page. One thing I did notice, and that was the unusual number of Pied Wags around today, maybe half a dozen.