Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday 17th May

An overcast morning, threatening rain which held off until I left the park. The usual Common Whitethroat was singing from the island on the main lake. Along the west side of the lake a Reed Warbler was burbling away in the hedge behind, and north of, the sailing club. 17 young Mute Swans were on the main lake along with the resident pair. Only 8 Common Terns over the lake when I counted first thing. Three fishermen were in the south west corner despite it being the closed season. They soon packed up and left when I explained this to them. For anyone interested the park is subject to the normal closed season for fishing and therefore there is no fishing until June 16th.

At least 22 Swifts over the south side of the main lake. A Reed Warbler was singing in one of the south side fishing swims. A couple of Greylag Geese along with 25 Canada Geese on the main lake. Little can be seen across on Fenlake now that the vegetation has grown up along the river bank. No sign of the Shelduck on the hay bales but a couple of singing Sedge Warblers on the south bank of the river and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the north bank. A Reed Bunting was skulking in the lower branches of a tree on the north side of the river.

Back by the main a lake another Reed Warbler singing lakeside in the winter wildfowl zone. At the hide two Blackcaps were ticking either side of the path and a Reed Warbler was singing in the left hand reed bed. A Kingfisher was heard along the Leat and a Sedge Warbler was singing in the nettles by Marina Meadow Bridge. Over the bridge the remains of a Barbecue were strewn about (how difficult is it to put the litter in the bin!). A Pied Wagtail was on the meadow as we approached the Canoe Slalom but the hopes of a Grey Wagtail were scuppered by the presence of canoeists. We continued on towards Cardington Lock and had Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing in the plantation opposite the canoe slalom. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from south of the river.

At the Crescent a Chiffchaff was singing and the reed bed was full of Reed Warblers and single Reed Bunting singing. On east Fingers the Great Crested Grebes were making their first family outing with at least one youngster on each of their backs. 5 Coots looked like they might be getting ready for another fight but ended up surrounding the two Grebes who looked a bit nervous. A Heron was roosting along the Spit. A Mallard with 2 ducklings was on west Fingers along with another 3 Coots and a Cormorant. A Blackcap was singing in the closed off section at the end of the Spit.

Back on the main path another Coot was in the main lake reeds and a couple more Reed Warblers were singing from the same reed bed. At the Steps a Garden Warbler and Blackcap were singing. Another Blackcap was singing further along the path, in the Rough. A Green Woodpecker flew from the trees by the dead seat while a Garden Warbler sang from the Rough opposite. A family party of Long Tailed Tits flew across the path near the gate to the Rough, at least 10 were seen. A Blackcap was ticking near the gate. As we stood at the gate a Blackbird flew to the trees in the centre of the Rough with a big beak full of nesting material.

Between the Rough the Sedgewick Seat Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were singing and a male Bullfinch was seen. A Chiffchaff was singing down by the Sedgewick Seat. Sadly the Treecreeper nest looks to have been damaged and most of the nest material was hanging down with the bark missing. It looked like someone may have been around the base of the tree judging by the broken down vegetation but hopefully that was just a coincidence. Yet another Coot was seen by the Sedgewick Seat.

As we walked around to the Long Hedge entrance a Blackcap was singing and distant Cuckoo was heard. A Chiffchaff was singing at the entrance to the woodland walk. At the STW reed bed only Reed Warblers were seen and heard. Parties of Starlings passed between the STW and Riverside. A Song Thrush sang by the kissing gate. Long Tailed Tits were calling from the Long Hedge. A Sedge Warbler was singing from the riverside shrub just before the trees behind Kramer hide.

At the hide a Blackcap was singing and a Reed Bunting was singing from the reeds over to the left of the hide. A pair of Coots were seen with one over by the nest in the left hand reed bed. A Great Spot called. On east Fingers the Great Crested Grebes were feeding the young which were both on the back of one of the adults while the other fished. A Hobby was seen cruising along by the Spit. At the south east corner of Fingers a Common Whitethroat was seen with a feather before it disappeared in the vegetation over by the navigation channel.

Blackcap and Common Whitethroat were singing by the Labyrinth and a couple of Willow Warblers were singing, one behind the VC and the other over near the car park. At the car park another family party of Long Tailed Tits were seen, at least 7. They must have fledged to order all around the park!

More boxes

Sat 17th - managed to inspect a further 10 nest boxes this morning. Half-way through the ringing so far. Have now ringed 29 Blue Tits in 3 boxes (1 runt) and 56 Great Tits in 7 boxes (3 runts). The majority still to do are Blue Tits.

Looks like a 50:50 split this time [It should be - the plates we put on were 50:50 BT:GT]

PS. Jen and I had a cracking view of the Hobby perched in the "dead 'pecker tree" on 'lilypads' before we started!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thor's day

Blimey - did it rain! 26mm in 24 hours. Like a silly sod I put the nets up down the 'long hedge' before it started. Had to sit out the thunder and wait until the late afternoon lull to take them down again.
Whilst they were drying, I caught a few birds, including a male Blackcap that I hadn't seen since I ringed it in the 'rough' 4 years or more ago. Not bad! A pair of Cuckoos were patrolling the area all day. (Another could be heard at the main lake).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday morning

A quick bike around the park this morning. Not much of note although 20+ Mute Swans on the main lake, mostly 1st year birds. Pair of Gadwall on west Fingers. Still plenty of singing warblers about. Kingfisher along the Cut.

At Aspects the nesting Mute Swan was getting some grief from a couple of Magpies. Her partner seemed uninterested as he "swanned off" upstream. At the boating lake a "stressed" mother Mallard was trying to keep track of her 17 ducklings!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weds 14th

'Twas a bit windy! Late morning walk (actually a natter with 3 different friends) produced a young Cormorant on Fingers, c.30 Swifts over the tree tops, a calling Cuckoo and I also watched a Hobby for over 10 minutes as it hawked over 'lilypads' and the 'rough'. It is missing some central tail feathers which are (not) visible when it spreads its tail.
In the evening, we ringed 2 broods of 10 Blue Tits (each) and 1 brood of 9 Great Tits. Three other boxes that we though might be ready will have to wait until Saturday, when the pulli will then be big enough to ring but not too big to be "a nuisance". There were c.25 House Martins over the 'new meadow' tree belts, in with some Sand Martins. Also a Cuckoo (female?)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dawn Chorus and beyond

What a beautiful morning for the dawn chorus walk. Despite the ungodly hour it was well worth tearing myself from the bed. Nothing spectacular although the Turtle Dove, purring in the Rough, was the first time I managed to catch up with this bird this year. The various warblers each put in an appearance, except Sedge, to allow the newbies to get to grips with each song. Good views of Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Reed Warbler were obtained with Garden Warblers particularly numerous. Lesser Whitethroat and Treecreeper were seen briefly near their respective nest sites. A good number of Jackdaws and Crows left the roost first thing. Kingfisher put in several fleeting appearances although few others managed to spot them, the forewarning piping call giving the more experienced watchers the chance to spot them before they zipped by. It's more difficult to see them in the park at the moment as they are sitting on eggs but in a couple of weeks or so they should be out and about collecting food for the young back in the nest. On the main lake 11 Mute Swans were still causing the resident male some grief but relief was at hand later when five left, giving him much better odds of chasing off the remainder. Three Gadwall (2m1f) were also on the main lake with the pair decamping to fingers leaving the lone male to his feeding. Common Terns came in early but still only around a dozen or so at the moment, no Black Terns this weekend. 4 Black-Headed Gulls flew over north and a couple of LBB Gulls flew over west later. A few hirundines were present mainly Swifts and Sand Martins.

Post coffee and biscuits EN, partner and myself walked to Fishponds and back ticking off Redshank (2), Lapwing and Sedge Warbler in the process. EN had another Turtle Dove over on Fenlake, no sign of the Shelduck this morning.

Following on from that I walked, across the New meadow, and along the Long Hedge to the STW entrance and looked out across 100 acre. A pair of Common Terns were sat by the waters edge and 3 Lapwing were present, 2 displaying and another sitting tight (on nest?). A cuckoo was singing from further downstream on either Riverside or 100 acre. Common Whitethroat and Goldfinch were also about and Starlings passed to and fro between the STW and Riverside. A Mute Swan is nesting on Riverside just downstream from the Cut and Reed Warblers seem to have taken over the STW reed bed although odd Sedge Warblers can still be heard.

Cutting through the Long Hedge Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing strongly, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were singing in the plantations and around the northern edge of New Meadow.

All in all a good morning, makes you wonder why you don't get up that early more often! If you you couldn't drag yourself out of bed that early, join us for the guided walk, next Sunday, at a much more reasonable 08:30.