Tuesday, December 29, 2009

29th December 2009

Still a lot of ice and what little clear water there was, was filled with Mute Swans, 121 at last count!

Pochard 55 (6f)
Tufted Duck min 13 (4f)
Shoveler 7 (1f)
Wigeon 5 (3f)

Also 5 Little Grebe on the navigation channel behind Kramer hide. 2 Kingfishers on the north side of the main lake and another on the south side by the hide. 20 Corn Buntings left the Crescent reed bed just after 8am. A double figure party of Long-tailed Tit along the Spit and a Water Rail calling.

From DK:
1 Blk-t Godwit S @ 0945. Also 1 Redshank.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Monday 28th @ 08:30 (per DK)
23 Whooper Swans passed over the Park.
These are possibly the ones that were at Broom yesterday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

From John:

Little ice free water. Highlights:

7 Bullfinch
49 Mute Swans
34 Pochard
6 Shoveler
6 Tufted Ducks
27 Coot

Saturday, December 19, 2009

19th December 2009

The cold snap has tempted in some wildfowl this morning.

15 Teal

Main Lake:
Pair of Wigeon
11 Shoveler
2 Gadwall
4 Tufted Ducks
23 Pochard

There were 4 Little Grebe on east Fingers and a Water Rail in the Crescent. Little else on Fingers due to the ice coverage.

Treecreeper was seen along the navigation channel again. Little else until we reached the south side of the main lake where we had 46 Lapwing over. There were also approx 120 Redwing on/over Press Mead. At the fishing swim on the west side of the main lake we flushed a small wader (Common or Green Sandpiper?) which flew across to the island but didn't call. And finally a Kingfisher was heard in the north west corner of the main lake.

Despite a cold start a good mornings birding.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday 12th December 2009

An unpromising start with a couple of short sharp showers passing through but it brightened up by the end of the morning and we had some great sightings!

Starting off there were 6 male Tufted Ducks on the main lake up by the Sailing Club, another 5 males and a female over by the hide. There were also 7 Pochard and an adult female Goldeneye on the main lake. A lot of Mute Swans, 40+, again today probably due to the shooting coming from the vicinity of Octagon lakes. We also had 42 Greylag Geese over just after we arrived and they appeared to drop in over Fenlake although by the time we got around there, much later, there was no sign. We also had 19 Lapwing over north.

Little Grebe with breakfast

On Fingers there were at least 12 Little Grebe, 9 on west Fingers, 1 on east Fingers and another 2 in front of Kramer hide. At Kramer hide we were treated to a swim past by an Otter. Unfortunately it didn't hang around this week but you never tire of seeing them no matter how fleeting!

I forgot to mention, in last weeks entry, that we had a Weasel on the east bank of big Fingers. Amazingly we had one again a little further along the same bank this week.

We had flyover Grey Wagtail and Bullfinch and, finally, great views in the scope of a party of Redwing (6) feeding on the berries at the car park.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

After the rain ... 9th Dec

A productive ringing session this morning yielded 30 birds of 10 species. For a full description and some photographs, go to the Ivel RG blog here.

The list was made up as follows:
Gt. Spot. 1, Wren 1, Dunnock 3, Robin 2, Blackbird 2, Redwing 2, Blackcap 1, Blue Tit 9, Gt. Tit 8, Bullfinch 1.

This was our first chance to get out ringing for some while. Over the last six weeks, I have recorded 164 mm (over 6 inches) of rainfall (near the "Dead Centre" of Bedford).

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Saturday 5th December 2009

We've been so lucky with the weather in recent weeks and once again the forecast rain was nowhere to be seen. At the car park 20+ Magpies flew over, west. There were 6 Tufted Ducks (2f) up by the Sailing Club.

7 Little Grebes

It was a Little Grebe day today with 6 on west fingers, 5 at the south end and 1 further up along one of the fingers. By the time we got to Kramer hide 5 Little Grebe had moved in and a further 2 joined them from the right. At least 1 of the earlier LG's was not present at Kramer Hide as it still had it's summer plumage making it easily identifiable. By the time we made it to the Dead Seat we spotted 2 LG's on west fingers, 1 being the Summer plumage bird. So there could be as many as 13 but probably somewhere between 8 and 13.

Little Grebe

There were still plenty of parties of Redwing blogging about and several parties of Long-tailed Tits. Treecreeper was heard along the navigation channel and in the Willows around Fingers, between the Steps and the Dead Seat.

Long-tailed Tit (one of EN's)

Kingfishers were very active with sightings around Fingers and 2 chasing about outside the main lake hide.

Very few Coot and Great Crested Grebe today although a single GCG had moved onto Fingers. A massive increase in the number of Gulls on the main lake this week with a lot of Common Gulls mixed in with the BHG's.

John had a solitary male Pochard and 2 pairs of Teal after I left.

ED: Forgot the Kestrel over the main lake island and the Sparrowhawk over Fingers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sun 29th Nov

The rain ceased in time for another guided walk just before 9am. November is now wetter than July (taken at Elms Farm) with over 100mm.

First off, 6 Pochard on the far side of the main lake. Next 13 Cormorants on the Sailing Club; more ventured to the main lake later but upped sticks when the boats took to the water. Then a count of the swans - first count 31, joined by 13 more in from Octagon Farm direction (shooting?) = 44, another count up and they've grown to >50, and then a final count took the total to 61.

Off down the main drag. Meadow Pipit calling left - so it's dog walkers. Because the rain had only recently stopped, there were more 'DWs' around at this time than normal, the 8 o'clock and 9 o'clock owners having banded together. Not much hope then.

By 'the rough', and again at the near end of 'the spit', 2 Song Thrushes. Nowt much on Fingers ('lily-pads') except a couple of Moorhens and two Little Grebe performing under the overhang. No Otters today. A few Redwings 'seeeping' away and a mixed flock of tits. An angler on 'big Fingers' had cleared every thing out except the 5 resident swans (that makes 66) and a Mallard. Returning to the main path, a duo of Robins having a territorial dispute, tails raised. All ended amicably.

Around the other side of Fingers, more tits and a Gt. Spot by the 'dead seat'. By the gate to 'the rough', a very confiding Dunnock cum Lanceolated, a couple of good views of Redwing and some Goldfinches. Nothing much doing, except for a disobedient Springer in the 'sheep pen' plantation until we got down to 'the Navigation'. The Teal were hiding up by now.

Kingsmead was quiet, but we found another mixed flock of tits, including 9+ LTT, our second flock, and a confiding Treecreeper that every one had a chance to see. Not alot on '100 acre' bar half a dozen Pheasants and about 50 BH Gulls. Today we decided to return via 'riverside' which was damp but not under water. This only turned up Magpies, Crows and a noisy flock of House Sparrows (not enough for a flock really, more like a family group). The latter seem to be staging a wee come-back in the town this year.

Not much worth shouting about today, but enjoyable, none the less.

I shall be doing the next walk on New Year's Day, starting 9 o'clock outside the Visitor Centre. Let's hope for better weather and more birds.

Friday, November 27, 2009

27th November

A brighter, colder day. Went and filled the feeders. 6 Grey Squirrels on the Hawthorns, snaffling the berries, between the 'dead seat' and the 'steps'. There seemed to be alot of Redwings and Blackbirds in the park today. There won't be for long - if the Squizzers eat all the haws. Also a Green Sandpiper (ML).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

21st November 2009

The rain held off this morning although it was mostly overcast. I met up with DK and we headed off down the main path. DK spotted a Water Rail in the main lake reed bed and it showed quite well before it found some better cover in the thicker reeds. We headed down the Spit which was generally quiet excepting the 5 Little Grebe on west fingers, Chiffchaff and Treecreeper. DK mentioned that he and TP had watched an Otter on West Fingers for ~10 minutes the previous morning with very good views as it hunted. Another 2 Little Grebe were spotted in the south end of east fingers. DK headed off towards the steps while myself and John stopped off at the beach where John spotted a Tufted Duck over by the main lake hide, through the scope. A phone call from DK had us hurrying back to the Spit where the Otter was showing well again. We watched it for ~45 minutes as it hunted on west fingers with views down to a few feet. It was obviously well aware of us but seemed indifferent as it continued to hunt, catching many small roach.

The Otter finally moved out of sight north along the edge of the spit so we wandered around to Kramer hide where a single male Teal showed. Around the back of Fingers another Teal was flushed. (DK had 9 Teal). Heading towards the rough we flushed many Redwing from the sheep pen. Odd Fieldfare joined the throng. Earlier we had 2 Sparrowhawk sightings which had put up parties of Redwing.

John spotted a second Tufted Duck when we reached the beach again. Earlier a pair of Shoveler were spotted over by the main lake hide and we had a pair over while we were standing in the crescent.

At the canoe slalom a single Grey Wagtail was spotted but was surprisingly well camouflaged as it hunted small insects. Another call from DK and we were heading towards Fenlake where we had a female Stonechat on the Reed Mace. On the way we spotted a Bullfinch in the scrub opposite the Barns Hotel.

By this time the Sun was putting in an appearance to cap a glorious morning.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

14th November 2009

The storms predicted didn't really arrive although it was quite windy and a heavy shower passed through, fortunately we were in the hide at the time.

Flocks of 12 and 18 Redwing were seen around the Finger lakes along with a handful of Fieldfare. A singing Chiffchaff was heard along the Spit and a Treecreeper was calling around the Crescent.

There were plenty of Goldfinch around again with a double figure flock around the Crescent.

Wildfowl were hard to come by again with a single female Shoveler and up to 3 Teal on Fingers. Also 2 Little Grebe.

Just a solitary male Tufted duck and a pair of Shoveler on the main lake. 20+ Great Crested Grebe, 20+ Cormorant and 30+ Coot also on the main lake. There was also a party of Common Gulls.

Kingfishers were seen at Kramer hide and the main lake hide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11th Nov

It was certainly quiet today ('cept the by-pass traffic). I walked the main lake for a change.

21 Coot, 25 Mute Swan (+5 on Fingers), 1m Shoveler, 18 Cormorant, 22 Gt Crested. Didn't bother counting the Black-heads but there was a small number of Common Gull, I noticed.

Also 2 Chiffs in the crescent reed-bed.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sun 8th - cycle track walk

The need for some exercise provoked this and the fact that I've not been along here for a while.

On 100 acre field and lake:- 20 Pheasant, 14 Stock Dove, 2 Heron, 70 Rook, 160 BH Gull, 20 Common Gull, 2 Mute Swans. 20 Canada over west. 2 young (20 yrs) lads ferreting plus white & tan terrier seen walking up alongside the Meadow Lane hedge.

Octagon pool (back of Canvin's):- 21 Greylag and 7 Heron spooked off by farm loader bringing in a large bag of something to spread on the field. 24 Mutes stayed.

Western field on Octagon (agin settling beds):- pair of Stonechat watched for some while; also 3 Sky Lark, 2 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel. 300 Lapwing pushed off Octagon fields (by farmer?), 100 of which landed on 100 acre along with 35 Starling. No motor-bikers today.

Meadow Lane:- 9 Long-tails, Wren, several Blackbirds, a few Jackdaw and an adult male Sparrowhawk creeping along at low level, disappearing into settling beds. Stoat.

Bottom of New Cut:- a few Goldfinch (5-6?), 3 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, & a Chiff.

Ringing on Sat 7th

A very cold start at 3C; with a low sun, it's ages before it peeps over the trees and provides a little warmth.

The catch: Sparrowhawk 1, Wren 2, Dunnock 1, Blackbird 4, Redwing 4, Chiffchaff 1, LTT 1, Blue Tit 4, Gt. Tit 7, Bullfinch 2; =27 birds.

The Chiff was adult and carrying lots of fat, i.e. very healthy. It was singing in the FL willows before we caught it / it caught itself. The 4 Redwings took us through the previous annual record to 18 birds this autumn. All the 4 (new) Blackbirds were in 'continental' plumage, but probably only from the Low Countries or the German plain according to their size.

Other birds picked up included a singing Linnet south, a Brambling blogging and a Kestrel seen off by 7 Sky Larks.

Full details on the Ivel RG blog site (see Links)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday 7th November 2009

After the rain last week a complete change this week with a beautiful bright clear morning. It was quite cold, especially in the breeze, with signs of a frost in the more sheltered areas. Early on there a number of high flying flocks of wood pigeon through south, totalling over a hundred birds. Small parties of Redwing were blogging about around the finger lakes and several Skylarks passed over south in ones and twos.

It was hard work getting any ducks this morning with west fingers virtually empty excepting a handful of Mallards, a number of Moorhen and a single Little Grebe. At Kramer hide we had good views of a Kingfisher, two Little Grebe and three Teal (2m1f).

On the canoe slalom we had Pied and Grey Wagtail and back at the main lake hide we had a pair of Gadwall and a female Tufted Duck. Coot numbers were around 30, all on the south side while Great Crested Grebes numbered in excess of 20 and were widespread around the lake.

Goldfinch numbers were high with many heard and seen including a party of 13 at the beach. 4 Bullfinch were seen in the scrub opposite the visitor centre.

EN and Ed caught a young male Sparrowhawk in the rough. There were also a couple of reports of Otters around the finger lakes in recent weeks.

Fenlake now has a splash of water and had attracted quite a good number of Gulls this morning.

Forgot to mention the Mink which I watched at the north east end of the main lake as it climbed up into one of the small willows. Not sure who was watching who but it eventually slipped away unseen until a little further along the reed bed a Moorhen made a bit of a commotion as, presumably, the Mink passed by.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday 31st October 2009

Made an early start and was in the hide 06:30. Sadly it was raining shortly after and I feared I may be spending the whole day in the hide as the rain seemed set in for the day. Fortunately there was some interest during the morning with at least 9 Teal to and fro and several visits by a Kingfisher. A few small parties of Redwing were seen about. A couple of Little Grebe were at the south end of West Fingers and there were 36 Mute Swans on the main lake plus the 5 on Fingers. From the north side of the main lake Coot and Great Crested Grebe numbers seemed to be down from the the previous week. Finally the rain relented around 09:00.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

En passant

A little bit of migration going on above our heads today as we were ringing in the Rough.

26+ Sky Larks west from 9am for about an hour; largest group =5. Redwings in small groups coming low, largest 9, and about 50-60 in total; the 3 birds we caught were all "out of fat" and neding a "square meal". Fieldfare - one group of 16 birds in the Fingers. Mipits indifferent at just 4 birds noticed going south. Best movement was a strong, tight group of Wood Pigeons, 125 in all, heading due south at a steady pace against a clear sky.

Also a couple of Siskin heard, a group of 3 Redpoll, some 6 'continental-type' Blackbirds in the Rough, with many more scattered throughout the park, just 2 caught, one of which was a definite "continental", again needing a good breakfast.

We are still catching new Gt. Tits; today it was 9 new and 7 retraps; 7 of the 16 were 'adult' birds, i.e. post-breeders.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday 24th October 2009

It was pretty quiet this morning. A heavy shower pushed through around 9am. Highlights were a couple of Little Grebe on Fingers along with at least 7 Teal. We had single siskin and sky lark over and a couple of male Gadwall on the main lake. Also on the main lake were 30+ Great Crested Grebe and 40+ Coot. There were also a handful of Common Gulls around including a couple of youngsters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

400 Club

For interests sake, a little bit of useless information.

There are only 13 species that have reached the '400 mark' of newly ringed birds in the park over the last twenty years. Recently, Chiffchaff became the 12th and Dunnock soon thereafter the 13th. To date we have ringed well over 11,000 birds and 400 represents just 3.5%

The members of the Club are (with their current standings): Sand Martin (616), Wren (512), Dunnock (407), Blackbird (609), Reed Warbler (644), Garden Warbler (485), BLACKCAP (1283, = 1 in 9), Chiffchaff (430), Willow Warbler (450), L/T Tit (484), Blue Tit (1094), Gt. Tit (803) & Greenfinch (542).

The next (14th) member should be Robin, currently in the lead with 361, closely followed by C. Whitethroat on 344.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday 17th October

Over 200 Redwings through this morning in three groups that we saw. Also a Siskin over while we stood at the Crescent. Minimum of 10 Teal flushed as I walked around the back of Fingers, they took me by surprise as I only saw a few and then suddenly Teal were flying up from everywhere! The Sparrowhawk was about early this morning and a Kestrel was spotted later over the Rough. A couple of female Shoveler and 4 Little Grebe on Fingers. The Fingers Swan family were having a bit of flying practice as were the main lake family later. Several groups of Swans passed through north east. Still ~50 Coot on the main lake .

A walk along the cycle track bagged 21 Lapwing on 100 Acre by the larger pit, also several pheasant on this recently ploughed area. Shame that all the teasels have gone as we were hoping for something interesting to make a snack stop there through the autumn. Also had a young Buzzard down by Meadow Lane, with the usual Crow in attendance.

Redwings to go

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning spent ringing in the 'Rough'.
See ringing blog and click Ivel RG .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ringing 13th/14th

Combined totals are: Sprawk 1, Wren 3, Dunnock 5, Robin 1, Blackbird 1, LTT 5, Blue Tit 9, Gt. Tit 19, Treecreeper1, Greenfinch 7, Goldfinch 4, Bullfinch 2.

Vis-mig (14th): 7 Fieldfare W, 9 Siskin, 15 Goldfinch, 8 high-flying Blackbird, 6 Sky Lark SW, a few Redwings blogging about (?20).

See also - http://ivelringinggroup.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Swans up!

Yes, 43! 31 incomers from the east brought glad tidings to the family of 7 on the main lake. They came in five parties from 10am to 11:30. Perhaps they were 'Polish'? :-) Then there's the 5 on Fingers as well.

Today was a guided walk day. The first thing that everybody commented on was the number of Gt. Crested Grebes there were, at least 20 were easily visible. A Shoveler whizzing over the main lake was later found on Fingers (lilypads) but the 4 Tufted came in to land at high speed. There were more Song Thrushes than of late and the Robin numbers have certainly increased going by the amount of territorial song. Unlike summer, you don't have to multiply by two! A male Blackcap was seen in the 'rough'; also a Gt. Spot and 13 Goldfinch, ten of which decided to harass a hovering Kestrel.

A treecreeper was heard briefly, Long-tailed Tits were zipping about, the feeding station was busy with tits and a few Chaffinch, and ten Cormorants were espied in their alternative roost on Kingsmead shortly after the '5 minute' race hooter was heard. EN & DB picked up a Kingfisher from the Kramer hide as it shot across the water. It landed in the back of a tree which had everyone trying to locate it (apart from EN & DB). Even with the 'scope, it was a difficult one, but, eventually, every one managed to see its head at least as it twisted during preening. It was id-ed as a young bird.

Round the corner on 'big Fingers', 3 Teal were semi-hidden under a "weeping" willow and a Moorhen spooked the only Gadwall of the day. A dozen Coot or more were making their way across to the island, having been herded to the main path shore by the sailing boats.

We looked at a few berry bushes on the way round. Here are a few more of my pics(better than the other post, I hope!)
Hips (Dog Rose)
Purging Buckthorn

Your next chance - November 29th (9am). Bound to be colder by then so wrap up.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday 9th Oct

Birds in/over the 'Rough' while ringing in the morning.

3 Golden Plover SE, 3 Mistle Thrush SE, 4 Redwing (blogging), 2 Blackcap, Chiff (abietinus type; caught = female), 5 Mipits S/SE, 5 Song Thrushes all "high-fliers", a Gt. Spot atop the lone Alder 4 Mipits SE, 4 Sky Larks S, a Kestrel hunting, a Buzzard over W then returned E, just one Siskin, and a slow flying flock of 40-50 Wood Pigeons going S. DK also had a Fieldfare. There was a definite increase in finches, especially Chaffinch. The Long-tailed Tit flock was a bit dis-jointed today but individuals hung around most of the morning.

Today's catch - Wren 2, Dunnock 1, Robin 2, Blackbird 1, Chiff 1, LTT 2, Blue Tit 5, Gt. Tit 7, Chaffinch 4, Greenfinch1.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Birds (not berries)

Mon: 2 Wigeon on the main lake, pair Gadwall, Kingfisher and 3 adult Herons on Fingers. A pair of Mute Swans and 5 cygnets working collectively to scare off 3 adult plus 3 cygnets from their territory, the main lake. These 5 are more advanced than the 3 cygnets on Fingers; they are showing more white and will even lift their wings to notify 'father' that they are also on their territory (so that he won't try to scare them off ... yet).

Not alot about mid-morning; 12 Cormorant, a similar number of Coots and, while we walked round, the Canada Geese returned en masse to the Sailing Club. Song Thrush were busy taking the sloes. The ground is 'rock hard' and we desperately need some decent rain.

Winter berries

On a grey day, the colours of the berries on the various trees and shrubs illuminated the drab green scene around the park. I apologise for the lack of sharpness on some pics (my battery was very low).

Already, the birds and the squirrels are taking an interest in this harvest on the colder mornings. Before long, the 'Scandinorske' thrushes will be arriving in droves (well - flocks) and by Christmas the berries will all be gone.

Hawthorn - the Redwings' favourite.

Cotoneaster - a large leaved variety with berries that are favoured by the many

Ivy - the salvation of many a Blackcap returning in early spring

Yew - already being taken by Blackbird and Mistle Thrush

Pyracantha - an unusual golden berried form of the Firethorn

Then there is Spindle, which the Bullfinch will take, and the hips of the Dog Rose, much favoured by the Greenfinch after a few frosts have softened the pulpy outer. We also have Wayfaring Tree and Guelder Rose, another berried bush loved by the Bullfinch.

One bush that has lost most of its berries already (... and its leaves) is the Elder which helped feed the many hungry migrant birds that have passed through the park this autumn.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fill the feeders

Just a quick jaunt down this morning to replenish the feeders. One has peanuts in and the other has a 'finch type' mix with black sunflowers.

I decided to watch the feeders after filling and it was noticeable that the Great Tits preferred the peanuts, whilst the Blue Tits fed exclusively on the seed mix. The Great Tits had to work for their breakfast by chipping away at the nuts, whereas the Blueys just grabbed a piece and shot off to a branch to eat it.

There was an absence of Blackcaps, a lone male Chiff singing, several 'squeeky' Robins (maybe new-comers), one or two high flying thrushes and a pair of Gadwall on Fingers that are now resplendent in their "normal" plumage. A Kestrel came and hovered above the 'Rough' looking for prey items but decided to retreat to a perch high in the lakeside willows and survey the prospects from there. It was blowing "half a gale" and I sympathise with him/her.

I suspect we will get a ringing session in sometime next week, wind and rain permitting, and a reminder that there is a walk next Sunday (11th) starting at 9am from the Visitor Centre.

Ray Burley has made a decent job of the path down by the Kramer hide, which has been soft for years. It's a pity he didn't go an extra 4 yards into the 'Flower Meadow' - which is where the wide, soft and muddy patch will develop as soon as we get any decent rain.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September finale

End of month ringing with trainee DTH. Very warm overnight (14C) and total overcast for most of the morning.

38 birds of 12 species - of which 14 were retraps; 14 of the total were also caught at the feeding station, namely 8 of the Gt. Tits and 6 of the Blue Tits. The list comprises: Wren 1 (1), Dunnock 0 (5), Robin 1, Blackbird 0 (1), Song Thrush 1, Blackcap 3 [1 M, 2 F], Chiff 1 [ad M, poss abietinus], Blue Tit 6 (3), Great Tit 7 (3), Treecreeper 1 (1), Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 1.

The Gt. Spots were quiet today. 6 Goldfinch tried to harry the Kestrel on its second visit of the day. The LTTs were around again but nowhere near the nets. We have now ringed 60 Chiffs here this year. We should not "run out of" new tits for a couple of months yet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slowish day (3)

Day 3; 7am 'til 1pm. Started well, finished well - but a bit slow in the middle!

Birds trapped today (last of 3 consecutive days) were (retraps in brkts):
Wood Pigeon juv 1, Robin 1 (1), Lesser 'throat 1, a fine continental specimen on the move, [pics on IRG blog], Blackcap 3, all males, Chiffchaff 1, Blue Tit 5 (4), Gt. Tit 3 (5), Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 2 (both adults this time).

One of the recaptured Blue Tits turned out to have been ringed in June 2002, making it the ringing group's oldest at (not quite) 7 years 3 months!

Light movement of Mipits and Sky Larks south; DK had a Jay. Best tick - 8th record of Nuthatch, this one calling like mad, from nearby where I had the first record for the park back in August 1991 (also while ringing!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Slower day (2)

Same routine - without the feeder net. Just 12 birds; 6 new, 6 "old friends".

The newbies were: 1 Goldcrest, 2 Reed Warblers & 3 Chiffchaffs. The first 3 were 'ladies', the rest males. The recaptured birds were a young Treecreeper, a young Song Thrush, a 1 year old male Blackbird, a 2008 Robin and 2 Gt. Tits, one from '08, the other from 2005.

Other birds about - Blackcap (poss 2), prob flyover Siskin, another Song Thrush & a Mipit. Magpie clan present for a while and 6-7 LTT came through a couple of times, sticking to the tree tops. A strong smell of fox again plus a Muntjac today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slow day (1)

Ringing from 8 'til 1 produced 28 birds, 10 of them re-traps with only 3 adults (a male Bullfinch and 2 Dunnocks). One of the Dunnocks recaptured was in its 6th year.

Wren - nil, Dunnock (3), Robin 1 (1), Blackbird (1), Blackcap 2, Chiff 1, LTT (1), Blue Tit 2, Gt. Tit 5 (3), Goldfinch 7, Bullfinch (1).

The Wren numbers are well down on last year - which was a bumper one for them. We have now caught 81 new Blackcaps so far this year and 55 new Chiffs, the highest ever. If you exclude pulli ringed in boxes, we have also ringed more new Gt. Tits than ever before. On the other hand, 4 Greenfinches is the lowest (at the moment), but they have been suffering again as they did at the beginning of the 'nineties.

As I was coming in, I saw several Song Thrushes and at a quarter to eight, as I was busy putting a net up, I had a calling Y-b Warbler pass over, moving from one bush top to another [4th for county, 2nd here]. The Goldfinch flock today consisted of 17 birds.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

19th September 2009

Winter is here! At least 10 Gadwall, 1 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Ducks and 4 Teal on Fingers. Also a single Little Grebe. Treecreeper at Kramer hide and the Dead Seat. Possible Spot Fly at the Dead Seat but only a brief glimpse before it disappeared into the foliage never to be seen again.

Treecreeper also heard at the north end of the Woodland Walk.

Had a single Reed Warbler in the main lake reed bed (north side) just before the fence starts. Also had a couple of House Martin's over the Rough, but many more later on in the same area but seemed to be moving through east.

Grey Wagtail on the Canoe Slalom, had already 2/3 over Fingers earlier. A Kingfisher whizzed past while I was watching the Wagtail.

On the main lake at least 46 Coot (is this a record?) and 24 Great Crested Grebe.

Despite the influx of winter wildfowl it was a glorious morning.

Another days ringing

For the second consecutive day we put the nets up. It was as good as the day before ... and we didn't trap any birds from yesterday! That makes 72 new birds and 30 re-traps, all told.

Todays tally was: Wren 1 (1), Dunnock 1 (2), Robin 3 (1), Blackbird (3) [all males incl 1 from Oct '03 & 1 ad. from '07], Blackcap 3 (2) [incl a male from June '07 - as adult] , Chiffchaff 9 (1) [an ad. fem. we caught on 2nd April], LTT (3) [2 birds from August '07], Blue Tit 5 (3), Gt. Tit 4 (1), Chaffinch 1, Bullfinch 1 (2) [a new ad male and an ad. fem from Sept '07].

It was great to catch 15 new Chiffs and 5 new Blackcaps over the 2 days; these will be 'on passage' and feeding up on the berries and insects before departure. These birds had been piling up on site during the windy weather, but most left overnight Thurs/Fri. before we had a chance to go ringing again.

Nearly forgot. The fox was mouching about in the brambles again, another close encounter, and a Jay from the meadow to Fingers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fri 18th Sept

Decided on an "all-day" ringing session. Set up at 7am and had first catch at 8 o'clock. 55 birds in all with just 11 re-traps. Only 5 adult birds, the rest juvs in various stages of growing up.

New (retraps): Gt. Spot 1 [young male], Wren (1), Dunnock 2 (3), Blackbird 1 (2), Blackcap 2 [1m, 1f], Chiffchaff 6 [2m, 4f], LTT 4, Blue Tit 8 (2), Gt. Tit 13 (2), Chaffinch 1, Greenfinch 2, Goldfinch 4, Bullfinch (1).

DK picked up on a Spot Fly but he was between it and the net! We also had 16 House Martins taking an interest in the male Sparr as it sallied across the Rough. Later, I had 2 Spot Flicks in a tall Elder in the Long Hedge but too high up for the nets. When I had a look at the dipping platform midday, I spooked a Moorhen, a Kingfisher and a Redstart - all making a hasty exit!

Might be back tomorrow (as the weather looks good) for more Chiffs and Blackcaps.

Monday, September 14, 2009

12th September 2009

Another quiet day. 8 Gadwall on west Fingers, no sign of DK's Shoveler though. Getting harder to find a Reed Warbler now but we were lucky with a couple of youngsters showing in the main lake reed bed on the north side.

A walk out along the cycle path to Castle Mill Pit proved a little more fruitful with a Stoat by the Tern Pool. Kestrel by the bridge over the bypass. At Castle Mill the water level is way higher than it was on our last visit so no waders but several Coot, 6 Little Grebe and 4 Tufted Ducks did put in an appearance.

On the way back to the park we had a couple of Swallows between the Gravel works and the Tern Pool.

Still plenty of Chiffchaffs to be had in the park with some large groups reported by DK and TP. Several still singing, probably set off due to many being in close proximity.

Monday, September 07, 2009

7th Sept

At a loose end after a heavy cold, so went bird-catching! Just in the middle of the day from 10 'til 2.

13 new + 6 re-traps: Wren (1) [female, 2007 or earlier], Dunnock (2), Robin (1) [Long Hedge juvvie], Blackbird 1 [fresh youngster, male], Blackcap 2, LTT 1, Blue Tit 4 (1), Gt.Tit 4, Treecreeper (1), Bullfinch 1 [juv male].

Other interesting bits: a young(ish) Hedgehog, Little Egret, fem Sparrowhawk, gulls taking flying ants over NM, and a (female) Goldcrest that came to see what was making all the noise as I took a Blue Tit out (it was less than 6' away). Another pile of feathers, this time a Woodpigeon.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A winter's tale

Now that the CES programme is concluded for another year. we have set about starting up the feeding station again. Feeders and nuts bought ... and the first now in place. Just need to wait for results, wait until the birds have found it and then put up a seed feeder.

The first feeder - once the birds have found it, in goes the second.
After that, the net will go up.

Of course, this involved cutting out the appropriate net lane, since the veg has grown tremendously over the last 10 months, when it was cleared of trees and bushes 100% by BTCV & ourselves.

Throughout September, we will endeavour to trap as many of the remaining and transient warblers as possible, before turning our attention to the tits, finches and thrushes, core winter rations.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Saturday 5th September 2009

A beautiful start to the day and fairly quiet early on. A party of ~30 House Martins were busy feeding over the south west corner of the Rough. 2 young Reed Warblers were being fed by one of the parents on the north side of the main lake as I headed down to Fingers. There seemed to be less Reed Warblers first thing but, having been around Fingers, there were a few more in the main lake reed bed on my second pass. A Chiff's about again with a few singing. A party of 3 Greylags were seen over Kingsmead heading south.

Didn't bother with the Canoe Slalom as it was in use but the South West Corner of the main lake was the place to be this morning. First I spotted a Water Rail in the last fishing swim before the Willows, then I watched a Treecreeper in the Willows for a few minutes. At this point the calm of the morning was broken by an influx of Canada Geese. I had just been thinking there weren't many about but by the time I had gotten back round the north side I counted 134. Back in the South West corner there were 23 Coots and a couple of Kingfishers.

Couldn't pick out any Gadwall on Fingers this morning. Pond Skaters appear to have had a good year with thousands of them on East Fingers the last couple of weeks.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Autumn Walks

I have agreed to lead two guided walks of the "mainly birdwatching" kind this autumn around the park.

The dates are: 11 October, as good a date as any for "crossover migrants" and 29 November, when we should be into the beginnings of winter. Both will start at 9am from the front of the Visitor Centre. Errol

Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday 29th August

A few points of interest this morning, saw TP along the Spit and he spotted a Fox on the opposite side of West Fingers and a pair of Gadwall up the north end. A Kingfisher put in several appearances. There were also several Chiffchaffs along the Spit with occasional bursts of song.

At the STW a large flock of Goldfinch (50+) were hanging out in the trees by the bridge.

At the Canoe Slalom there were 2 Grey Wagtails this week. The Mistle Thrushes put in another appearance this week with at least 16 counted over by The Barns.

On the south side of the Main lake a group of 17 Coot and the usual 3 in the south west corner.

No Terns and just a handful of Reed Warblers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last of the summer wine?

Thursday 27th Aug.
Last session of the 2009 season for Constant Effort ringing. Now we go back to ringing for ourselves. A decent day to round off the summer with 27 birds of which 26 were juvvies & 19 were new. The only adult bird was a male Goldfinch in moult.

(Retraps in brackets). Wren (1), Dunnock 2 (1), Blackbird (3), Reed Warbler 4, Lesser 'throat 1, Whitethroat 1 (1), Blackcap 5 (2), Treecreeper 1 - our 2nd in a week, Greenfinch 1, Goldfinch 3, Bullfinch 1.

An adult male Sprawk came down the 'dark' (north) side of the Long Hedge and hit the net by a pole as I was walking up. Even though I was quite close, it wriggled and got out. Half an hour later, it came back over. There has been a noticeable increase in 'feathers' on the ground recently, presumable from his (or his like) attacks. Also a male Kestrel.

This year has been not been the best for adults - I suspect they have had it relatively easy and have been breeding "non-stop". The juveniles have excelled themselves; it has been the best year since 1992-1994! It was the best productivity ever for Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, & Goldfinch - and 2nd best for Blackbird & Great Tit.

Statistics:- 372 individual birds caught, 99 adults (51 birds from previous years), 273 juveniles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saturday 22nd August 2009

Another quiet morning. Main point of interest was trying to work out how many Gadwall were present on Fingers. DK said 5 when I saw him. I settled for three and EN was on 7! Still there are plenty of places to hide.

There were 3 Grey Wagtails on the canoe slalom. I had at least 10 Reed Warblers mostly on the north side of the main lake but one seen over at the STW reed bed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

CES 22nd August

A CES session, either the last visit or possibly an additional; this will depend on whether we ring here next weekend and how well we do.
21 birds today, 7 retraps, just 2 adults - a 2005 Dunnock & a 2006 Blackbird.

Wren 1, Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Blackbird 4 (4), Song Thrush 1, Whitethroat (1), Blackcap 5, Chiffchaff 1, Willow Warbler 1, Treecreeper 1. This seems a low catch but the weather was bright and sunny and migrant species may have left earlier in the week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Mark Thomas & Ed Green went to Willington GP earlier in the week. They had 2 nets up between 7-9 pm in the reed-bed there. They caught nought! DK has remarked that the Reed Warbler numbers at Priory have also dropped significantly as he could hear very few, mainly in the SW corner.

I put 2 nets up in the 'crescent' from 5:30 to 8:30 this morning. The result - 3 juvenile Reeds trapped (1 a re-trap from the CES v.10), a Dunnock & a Blackbird. There was also a pair busy toing and froing, feeding young beside the main lake, just below my car/spit. So - it's true; the vast majority have done the biz and cleared off earlier than usual to warmer climes!.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

16th August 2009

It has been quiet for a few weeks now. The previous 2 weeks the Sparrowhawk family have kept us entertained but there was no sign this week. Treecreepers are popping up around the park on a regular basis in the last few weeks but they are tough to spot so you have to rely on the call. Listen out along the Spit and Crescent in particular, but keep an ear out all around the park. There was a male Gadwall (female also per DK) on west Fingers, getting more of his winter plumage now so easier to pick out. Previous 2 weeks there was a Grey Wagtail along the Canoe Slalom but no sign today. However a singing Goldcrest in the woods alongside the Slalom today was a nice surprise as was the flock of Mistle Thrush at The Barns, numbering at least 13 and possibly as many as 17! (and what a noise, sounded like half a dozen people with football rattles!).

Last week we walked down to the Tern Pool where we had at least 5 Yellow Wagtails in the surrounding crop fields. There were 91 Mallards and a single Tufted Duck on the pool itself. Back at the bridge by the STW we watched 9 large Chub feeding on the upstream side of the east channel.

A Red-eared Terrapin has been spotted in 2 of the last 3 weeks on west Fingers.

Chiffchaffs are still showing well but Blackcaps have disappeared off the radar in the last 2 weeks having been the most vocal the previous week. Terns were down to 2 or 3 today with numbers dropping off steadily over the last few weeks, following a brief surge.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CES v.11 - Another good day!

A cracking mornings ringing for the 11th session of this year's CES programme. It was a shame that all bar 5 birds came in the first 3 hours - we would have liked it to have carried on right through. [By contrast - it got better in the second half last week at The Thorns]. The weather wasn't '3-bad', but it would have been nicer if the wind had been lighter. On the other hand, perhaps the wind helped today, because it did drop off somewhat in the second half.

Top birds - Blackcap, Goldfinch & Song Thrush.

Totals were: Wren 2, Dunnock 1 (1), Robin 4 (1), Blackbird 2 (2), Song Thrush 4, Reed W. 1, Whitethroat 1, Garden W 3, Blackcap 8, Chiff 2, Willow W. 4, Blue Tit 1, Great Tit 2, Goldfinch 6.
Of the 45 birds, 41 were juveniles (2 r/t) and the other 4 were obviously adults with 2 r/t.

A Blackbird was first ringed as a 1CY in 2004 and a male Dunnock in 2005

Saturday, August 08, 2009

CES v.10 - A Good day's work

Undertook visit 10 of the CES programme on 8th August in fine weather with light winds. 42 birds of 15 species trapped, all bar 6 were newbies.
Wood Pig 1, Wren 2, Dunnock 2, Robin 2, Blacky 4, Mavis 1, Reed Warbler, 3, Lesserthroat 1, Whitethroat 5, Garden Warbler 5, Blackcap 8, Chiffy 1, Blue Tit 5, Greenfinch 1, Goldfinch 1.
A juvvy Green Woody and one of its parents was bombing about noisily all morning. The surprise of the day was a singing Willow Warbler.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saturday 25th July 2009

We're into the quiet period as far as the birds are concerned.

Last weekend there was a large Terrapin in Lillypads and the two young Coot, seen the previous weekend were AWOL, a small fluffy Moorhen had taken their place, a little close to the Terrapin for comfort. Green Veined White butterfly along the woodland walk, exactly the same place as the one seen on the last guided walk.

Still a few singers about this weekend, with Blackcaps being particularly loud. Several Treecreepers heard (Spit, Navigation Channel and Dead Seat). Surprised a Muntjac as we came into Fingers at the Sedgewick Seat entrance. Visited EN's stand in the Rough and while there heard a short snatch of Lesser Whitethroat song. Eclipse male Gadwall on Lillypads.

A noticeable increase in Tern numbers the last couple of weeks with ~30 over the main lake this week.

CES v.9 - 25th July

Another CES visit on Saturday - but this time open to the public.
A very good catch of 43 birds, only 6 of which were adults (inc. 3 Blackcaps).
Summary - Wren 7, Dunnock 4, Robin 3, Blackbird 4, Song Thrush 1, Reed Warbler 4, Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 8, Chiffchaff 3, Blue Tit 1, Great Tit 2, Goldfinch 3.

A german ringer joined Ed and I for the morning and we were visited by about 10 people, one of whom was a potential recruit.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday 11th July 2009

A drizzly start and a quiet morning. A few Swifts over the VC on arrival. Still a number of Blackcaps singing around the park. We had several Green Woodpecker sightings and a couple of Kingfisher sightings. Highlight of the morning was a singing Stock Dove by the Dead Seat. The Great Crested Grebes still have at least 1 humbug although I thought I saw a second during a transfer between the adults, viewing wasn't ideal though. We had Treecreeper calling in the Long Hedge on the south side of the gap. Still a lot of Reed Warbler activity in all the usual haunts but we had to wait until Fenlake before we had a singing Sedge Warbler.

CES ringing 11/07

Visit No.8 of 12. Drizzle for much of the time made for a damp session with frequent visits to the nets.

Tally for the day is: Wren 3 juvs, Dunnock 2 adults & 5 juvs, Robin 3 juvs, Reed Warbler 2 adults & 2 juvs, Garden Warbler 1 adult & 1 juv, Blackcap 4 juvs, Chiff 7 juvs, Gt. Tit 2 juvs, Treecreeper 1 ,juv, Bullfinch 2 adults & 1 juv. We also picked up an adult breeding female Reed Bunting from the 'crescent' which had been taken by an avian predator.

A male Dunnock and a male Reed Warbler were from 2006 (ringed as young birds) and the male Bullfinch from October 2007 was with its mate, a bird from last year.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

CES ringing - 04/07

Now into the second half with Visit No.7. A good total today and a new species for the year.

Green Woodpecker 1, Wren3, Dunnock 8, Robin 6, Blackbird 1, Song Thrush 1 (a female from 2003), Reed Warbler 2, Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 9, Chiffchaff 5, Gt.Tit 2.

The Gt Crested's have at least 1 "humbug" at long last (prob. hatched Thurs.). I noticed 2 large terrapins on 'lilypads' the other day that, together with the Coot, are the cause of the delay in 'production' and also the likely cause of low success for the GCG's.

Gull passage has started but no Common Gulls yet.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thurs 2nd July

As the heatwave continued, this demanded a 5am start. Temperature was 20C by then and not a cloud in the sky. The reeds that were cut last winter are as tall as those that weren't and the whole of the small reed bed (the crescent), which is a mere 0.16 hectares, is taller than I have seen it for many a year. This meant that shortly after arrival, a Kingfisher passed over the net.

Yesterday, there was a Little Egbert on 'lilypads' but not today. A juvenile Gt. Spot was trapped (see photo), a young Willow Warbler, a fledgling Wren plus a 4-year (or more) old female, a male Blackcap that was first ringed down by the 'sheep pen', and 5 tits that were just starting their moult into adult plumage.

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker - the red cap is diagnostic of a young bird.
Adults have their "patches" on the nape. This bird also has a 'dull' eye.

Out of the 10 Reed Warblers, only one, unusually, was a re-trap; they comprised 3 females, 4 males and 3 juveniles. An old male (on features and wing-length) was already thinking of "packing it in" (going by the amount of 're-feathering') and returning south in the not too distant future.

There were many small flocks of young birds, with or without their parents feeding in the willow trees. At one point, a (male) Buzzard followed by a mewing juvenile flew across the 'Fingers' at tree top height. By 8am, the temperature was beginning to soar and the heat was beginning to become unbearable, meaning that catching was coming to an end.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guided Walk - 28/06/2009

Arrived a little early, in the mizzle, and scouted the hedges around the car park but the only thing of note was a Jay squawking over towards the Woodland Walk. While we stood waiting outside the VC a Common Whitethroat sang down by the main lake before moving off east. The fog had lifted as we started the walk proper and a quick scan of the sailing club returned 60+ Canada Geese (pretty similar to yesterday), and later we noted broods of 2 and 4 goslings, the 4 were trying to evade the male Mute Swan which had taken a disliking to them and the parents. The Mute Swan family on the main lake is down to 5 cygnets from the original 6, not sure when the sixth one disappeared.

The first surprise was a singing Lesser Whitethroat which sounded like it was down at the east end of the main lake although it was difficult to pin point. Then a bubbling female Cuckoo was heard, pretty sure it wasn't the mimicking Song Thrush as it was a longer burst and not accompanied by other notes before or after. However the Song Thrush was up to his old tricks as we walked along the edge of the Rough!

It was really tricky getting decent views of the birds this morning with the greenery getting in the way but a singing Chiffchaff obliged opposite the Rough gate. As we rounded the next corner a churring Common Whitethroat was heard and tracked down to the opposite side of the fenced area where a family were seen with at least 2 youngsters being fed by the adults. A Chiffy was also seen in the same tree along with Blue Tit which were both seen off by the Whitethroats.

As we continued along towards the Sedgewick Seat I noticed several froglets trying to cross the path and others were seen later along the Spit. Just before the Woodland Walk a Meadow Brown butterfly was seen and EN pointed out that it was newly emerged, denoted by the very dark colouration on the side away from the sun. Into the Woodland walk and an Obliging Green Veined White butterfly gave excellent views to everybody. Little else of note other than 2-3 singing Blackcaps at the north end.

Out of the woods and back along the navigation channel we worked hard for views of a singing Sedge Warbler but although glimpsed in the rushes he never gave decent views. Kramer hide was very quiet with just a Mallard family and a couple of Coots.

Not much along the east side of Fingers so we checked out the Crescent where Reed Warblers were singing and showing themselves as they moved between the reed bed and the Willows. Better views were had later, up on the Spit, as adults fed young in one of the Willows.

The sun broke through as we reached the VC and the temperature increased quickly as we departed for the air condition comfort of our cars!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday 27th June 2009

Very quiet this morning, highlights in the park were Treecreeper heard along the east side of big fingers and along the woodland walk. Also a family group of Chiffchaff in the trees by the Crescent with adults feeding at least one youngster.

We headed over to Castle Mill Pit where we had 8 Little Egret, ~37 Common Terns (Several on eggs), A couple of Oystercatchers and Green Sandpiper. Also quite a few BH Gulls, a pair of Mute Swans, several Grey Herons and adult and juvenile Green Woodpeckers.

Common Whitethroat still very vocal along the cycle track and report of a Common Buzzard feeding on the ground by the lake by the gravel works entry road, sadly not confirmed by us. Quite a few Chiffchaff singing around the park.

Back in the park there was a lot of activity on the main lake but we spied a fairly new Canada Goose family, 4 big fluffy goslings, through the reeds in the north east corner. Lots of noisy Jackdaws, and a few Crows on Kingsmead.

Friday, June 26, 2009

CES ringing on 26/06

A dull day, but only the weather! So far this year, we are having an excellent CES season, which may prove to be one of the best (numbers wise) for a good few years. Certainly makes up for the low numbers of the last two years.

"Strange birds" for us here were Woodpigeon, a fat one, & Magpie, a fully grown youngster.

All told, 44, with 32 of them juveniles.
The other 42 consisted of: Wren 5, Dunnock 5, Robin 6, Blackbird 5, Garden Warbler 1, Blackcap 7, Chiffchaff 8 (today's star bird), Blue Tit 1, Gt. Tit 2, Chaffinch 2.

In 6 sessions so far this year, we have caught 166 individuals of 18 species. We are now half way through the CES programme for 2009, our 18th year.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

CES ringing - 13/06

Late news, I'm afraid.

Thanks to Guy and Ed for doing this one for me - while I enjoyed the sunshine in SW Scotland! Total of 40 birds, of which only 2 were retraps.

(Adults then juveniles) : Wren 1/2, Dunnock 1/4, Robin 0/3, Blackbird 2/0 (both breeding females), Reed Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 0/4, Blackcap 1/8, Chiffchaff 2/6, Blue Tit 0/1, Great Tit 0/3, Chaffinch 0/1.

So, some later broods of Wren, Dunnock and Robin plus the main broods of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. Finches and Garden Warblers to come, eh, plus more Blackbirds?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Staurday 20th June 2009

Pretty quiet this morning although bubbling female and singing male Cuckoo were a pleasant surprise over at Riverside. Still plenty of singing Warblers with Chiffchaff seemingly the most common singers this morning with ~6 around the park and out along the cycle track.

At the Tern Pool 21 Tufted Ducks were accompanied by a single Pochard. A single female Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail were seen along with Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

Back in the park there were plenty of noisy young Jackdaws around Fingers. We had a Muntjac from Kramer hide. A Kingfisher was seen in the southeast corner of the main lake. Treecreeper was heard in the Willows in the south west corner of the main lake.

Join us for the guided walk next Sunday but watch out you regulars as it's a 08:00 start NOT the normal 09:00. See you there.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

CES ringing 29/05

A very sunny day that kept most of the adult male birds in the treetops, strutting their stuff, if they weren't already ferrying morsels to their offspring.

Out of the 21 birds that we caught, 8 were juvenile Robins (1 a retrap from last week at a different sub-site). We have now caught 18 birds from a guesstimate of 6 different broods/nests.

Others included 3 young Chiffchaffs, a juv Chaffinch, 2 fledged Dunnocks + 3 adults, a pair of Balckbirds a cock Wren and a female Garden Warbler that was born in this patch in 2007.

We now have a wait of two weeks before the next session, our 5th of 12.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday 25th May 2009

Managed to get down the park a bit earlier this morning, still didn't beat EN though who was ringing in the Crescent. A couple of Willow Warblers were singing in the car park and a couple of Greylags took off over the south side of the main lake and left to the east. An adult Fox was poking about in one of the south side fishing swims, a younger one was seen later crossing the path into the Rough. Cuckoo very vocal around the Rough.

On Fingers Tufted Ducks (pair), Gadwall (pair), Great Crested Grebe (pair) and the Mute Swans were out and about with at least 3 cygnets. Not much about around the back of Fingers.
Arrived back with EN just in time to see a juvenile Kingfisher in the hand, having just seen 2 from the spit with DK.

Took the path along the river on the south side of the main lake with Grey Wagtail at the Canoe Slalom and the Spillway, may have been the same one. Sedge Warbler just up stream from the the Canoe Slalom and several more along the far bank on Fenlake. Also had a Cuckoo calling over Fenlake.

Along the west side of the main lake had a flyover Cuckoo, heading out over the Marina.

After Saturdays leaping Carp at Castle Mill the Carp in the Finger lakes were very frisky today with plenty of spawning action. Also along the far bank of the river at Fenlake several good size Carp were seen spawning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CES ringing 23/05

A better day's ringing with 33 birds of 12 species caught.
9 of these were new adults and we caught 14 new juveniles, including a brood of 7 Gt. Tits, plus 'mum & dad', all in the same net.

Birds of interest seen whilst working were pair of Cuckoo (very noisy), several Swifts (maybe 20), a pair of Sparrowhawks, a pair of Gt. Spots., Collared Doves and several Starlings busy with their imminent offspring. Highlight was a passing 2CY Hen Harrier.

Wren 5 (1 juv), Dunnock 4 (1 juv), Robin 3 (2 juvs), Blackbird 2 (1 juv), Reed Warbler 1, Whitethroat 1, Garden Warbler 3, Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 1 juv, Blue Tit 2, Gt. Tit 9, Chaffinch 2 ( 1 juv).

One of the Garden Warblers was first ringed in early spring 2003 (as an adult male). The retrap Blackbird, a male, was ringed in 2005, caught again several times in 2007 and now; all these records have been during the breeding season - so where does it go to in the winter? [We (Ivel Ringing Group) work the site all year].

Saturday 23rd May

Highlight of the morning was a purring Turtle Dove at Meadow Lane GP, my first of the year. There were at least 9 Tufted Ducks on the Tern Pool and we had 3 or 4 Yellow Wagtails in the adjacent fields along with a couple of Linnets. An unidentified raptor was seen at distance over the STW before it glided straight towards the Tern Pool but veered off behind the trees before we got a good look. Was it EN's immature male Hen Harrier? We'll never know, possible though, initial thoughts were it was a Buzzard but it wasn't big enough as it glided towards us but we didn't get a good enough look for a positive ID.

We tested the new path to Castle Mill pits which looks like a great wader habitat. Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Tufted Duck and Lesser Black Backed Gull were present. As we headed back along the path a large Carp leaped, Marlin like, in the river downstream of the weir.

Back at the park we caught up with EN ringing in the Rough, just in time for the last few of the Great Tit family. We checked out the Mute Swan nest on Fingers and were lucky enough to see the head of a single cygnet over mums back, so it shouldn't be long before the family gets out and about around Fingers. The family on the main lake are already out and about with 6 cygnets, all seen down by the beach this morning.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Last couple of weekends

Saturday 9th May:

Highlights were Common Sandpiper on the north side of the main lake. ~20 Swifts over the main lake on arrival, all gone by the time I left. My first Garden Warbler of the year, one in the Sheep Pen and another in the Rough. Plenty of Reed Warblers in with at least 6 singing in the main lake reed bed along the north side, as well as a number singing in the crescent.

Checked out the Tern Pool, out along the cycle track and had a Yellow Wagtail and a Linnet along the fence line of the field next to the pool.

Saturday 16th May:

Nothing out of the ordinary this week. Again the Swifts were about over the VC and main lake, seemingly more than last week but I didn't get a good count. A few more Reed Warblers in along the north side of the main lake, right up to the VC. Sedge Warblers were harder to come by but the STW reed bed still came up trumps. A Garden Warbler was still singing strongly in the Rough. All the other Warblers heard/seen except the Grasshopper, just too windy assuming it's still there!

Both Saturdays had great views of a male Sparrowhawk in the Willows opposite Kramer hide. Also heard the female calling nearby and the male was very aggressive seeing off all comers in it's air space.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CES ringing - 11/05

A very windy day compared to yesterday; on the limit for mist-netting passerines. All birds were caught in the bottom two panel, needless to say.

5 new adults, 7 juveniles & 4 retraps - Wren 1, Dunnock 3 (1 juv), Robin 4 juvs, Blackbird 1 juv, Song thrush 1 juv, Reed warbler 1, Garden warbler 2, Chiffchaff 1, Bullf 2 (a pair); 17 birds in all.
The 2 retrap Dunnocks were from Nov'05 & June'03, the new (female) Garden Warbler carried fat3 and bp1 so was most likely fresh in (or stopping over) and the Bullies were a pair of 'teenagers' (he had no PJ ogc's)

Other birds - Hobby, 15+ Swifts early, plus a party of 9 'screamers' mid-morning, and the Swans on the main lake hatched off 6 cygnets (yesterday?) while 'she of Fingers' is still sitting, ignoring 'himself' chasing the Canadas [which gives us pleasure].

Sunday, May 03, 2009

International Dawn Chorus Day

The alleged rain did not occur - so much for blanket met. forecasts for east anglia television area.

A small party congregated at 04:30 and were hailed by (songsters in upper case) BLACKBIRD, SONG THRUSH, ROBIN, CUCKOO, SEDGE WARBLER. A glimmer of dawn as we moved off and to be regaled by BLACKCAP, CANADA GOOSE, GREAT TIT, CHIFFCHAFF, WREN, WHITETHROAT, MALLARD.
By now we were leaving the New Meadow and approaching Fingers Lake: BLUE TIT, CROW, JACKDAW, LESSER WHITETHROAT, WILLOW WARBLER, GARDEN WARBLER.

After 05:00, we saw/heard Mute Swan, GREEN WOODPECKER, MAGPIE, WOOD PIGEON, Black-headed Gull, COOT, REED WARBLER, COMMON TERN, MOORHEN, Lapwing, Gt. Spotted Woodpecker, GOLDFINCH, Cormorant.
It was not until after 06:00 that we noticed CHAFFINCH, GREYLAG, SWALLOW, GREENFINCH, PHEASANT, BULLFINCH, Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed Tit, STARLING, DUNNOCK, Gadwall, Gt. Crested Grebe, Sand Martin, House Martin, Collared Dove.
The moderate NW wind stopped us from hearing certain birds with weaker calls and the much vaunted Grasshopper Warbler. Oystercatcher was another 'failure'. So was Swift.

Conclusion - spring is a little later this year than last.

A fine view of a fox, out in the open as the sun was breaking over the horizon, as it sat watching us watching it for about five minutes. Also a freshly dead mole later on.

This was the 23rd traditional D-C Walk at Priory CP; only one has had to be abandoned because of rain. This is normally held on the first Sunday in May.

Ringing / CES

This week's catches are as follows:
Wed. 29th (Fingers Lake) - Wren 1, Dunnock 1, Robin 1, Blackbird 2 (pr?), Reed Warbler 1 (ringed '07, retrapped '08; male), Blackcap 1, Treecreeper 1, Chaffinch 1, Reed Bunting 2 (pr, female ringed '07 as breeding adult).

Sat. 2nd - first of the (inter)national Constant Effort Sites survey for '09 using standard nets only. 17 adult birds of 9 species as follows:
Dunnock 2, Blackbird 2, Song Thrush 1, Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 4, Willow Warbler 1, Blue Tit 1, Great Tit 1, Bullfinch 2. The majority of birds were males. All retraps were from '08.

[Last year - 22 birds of 9 species. The long-term average over 12 visits is 27, but the first few visits average only 22 new birds for the year.]

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday 2nd May 2009

An early start this morning failed to return the hoped for Otters. Having dipped out we decided to walk out to Danish Camp along the riverside loop, returning along the main cycle path. At the STW reed bed Several Sedge Warblers were seen and 2 showed well while playing a game of who can climb higher on the reeds! At the first pool on 100 Acre Lapwing and Redshank were seen along with female Mallard and 9 ducklings (probably the 10 from last week :-() Not much in evidence on the larger pits although a couple of Great Crested Grebes on the new workings.

Heading up to the bypass a number Skylarks were seen on either side of the track. 2 more Redshank seen in the puddles in the workings just by the bypass and 10 Mute Swans and 2 Canada Geese in the field the other side. Not much on the Tern Pool.

Following the riverside track there were plenty of Common Whitethroat showing well, but it was the return leg along the main track that provided the gems. First was a Lesser Whitethroat singing in the scrub between the track and the Willington playing fields, even got a glimpse of it as it flew to a new bush. A little further along a family party of 5 Mistle Thrushes crossed the track and watched us from high above us in the evergreen trees.

We crossed the brook and were heading back through the wooded section when I heard a Nightingale singing and we stopped and listened for a while before it flew to a new song post giving us a glimpse of this "often heard but seldom seen" bird. Just before the Gravel works road another 2 Mistle Thrushes were seen on the open field between the track and the small lake.

Mistle Thrush

Back at the Tern Pool a few Sand Martins had arrived and I glimpsed a Common Buzzard heading away from us towards the STW. As we got to the bridge over the bypass we located the Buzzard and as we watched we realised there were another 2 higher in the same thermal. Another flew in and joined the 3 with some interaction between 2 of the birds. Then a 5th bird flew in but continued on towards the north end of riverside. As we continued back towards the park the 4 remaining Buzzards drifted back towards the bypass still climbing on the thermal until they were just specs in the sky.

Back in the park little else of note. Chiffchaff were less obvious this week, probably nesting now having been in a while now, but as mentioned the Common Whitethroat were much in evidence today. We had a chat with EN and Ed, who were ringing in the Rough, and were privileged to see 2 Common Whitethroats in the hand. What a cracking morning.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fwd: Priory Today - 25th Apr.

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

2 Swift
1 Grasshopper Warbler - Fenlake
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Lesser Whitethroat
8 Common Terns
1 Kingfisher
1 House Martin
1 Swallow
18 Sand Martins
3 Reed Warblers
2 Sedge Warblers
3 Whitethroats
8 Chiffchaffs
7 Willow Warblers
12 Blackcaps
1 Cuckoo
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel.
2 Gadwalls


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fwd: Priory today, 21st. Brambling again.

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

Thick mist early on, cleared about 0915.
1 m Brambling again. Roughly in the same area as on 19th.
1 Lesser Whitethoat
2 (m+f) Com Whitethroat (m displaying to f)
6 Chiffchaffs
7 Willow Warblers
13 Blackcaps
3 Sedge Warblers
3 Common Terns
1 Redshank.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guided Walk - 19/04/2009

Before the guided walk got underway I had a Brambling in the Alders by the Crescent. It hung around until just before 9am when it was chased off by a female Chaffinch and I was unable to relocate it. I also had a Shelduck over north earlier.

Brambling at the Crescent

I joined the guided walk and had an enjoyable morning helping EN point out spring migrants to some enthusiastic newbies and the regulars. We started with a quick stop at the bottom of the Steps for singing Blackcap, Chiffchaff and the regular tits and finches. Then it was down to the Crescent in the hope that the Brambling had returned but sadly not. Along the Spit a Jay was seen in the Willows on the west side of the Fingers, it/another was seen later heading out over Kingsmead. However singing Sedge and Reed Warbler in and around the Crescent made up for that. There were plenty of Swallows and Martins around and a group of 9 Swallows were perched in one of the trees on the south east corner of the Finger lakes. The Common Whitethroat was showing well on the same corner. Up at Kramer hide a Treecreeper was heard and then it was down to the STW reed bed where we had 3 singing Sedge Warblers. At the first pool on 100 Acre there was a Lapwing and at least 4 Tufted Ducks on the larger pit seen at distance.

We walked back along the Woodland Walk and at the north end we had Willow Warbler and 3 Blackcaps while at the southern end Bullfinch was heard high in the Blossom clad trees. Good views of Chiffchaff and Blackcap were had back at the Rough. At the Deat Seat good views were had of Gadwall (2 males, 1 particularly smart) and a pair of Teal, the male Mute Swan was having some time off from worrying Canada Geese while the female was house keeping at the nest site. Back at the main lake all the Martins and Swallows had gone (11:30). A couple of Common Terns remained. And that was it, shame the Brambling didn't stick around but a good return on species anyway and the sun made it out by the end to warm us up!

Fwd: Priory Today 19th

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

7 Willow Warblers
5 Common Terns
c50 Sand Martins
14 Swallows
1 House Martin
14 Chiffchaffs
15 Blackcaps
4 Sedge Warblers
1 Reed Warbler
1 Whitethroat
1 Brambling by the crescent reed bed in the alders area - found by David
1 Treecreeper
1 pr Teal
1 m Shoveler
1 pr + 1m Gadwall
17 LBB Gulls NE
More news may come in as there is a Priory Walk today.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ringing 19/04

Awaiting the start of the CES season, so adjourned to the "sheep-pen". A reasonable day with only 4 nets set.
Wren 1, Dunnock 4, (Robin feeding young), Blackbird 1, Blackcap 4, Chiffchaff 3, Blue Tit 2, Great Tit 2, Chaffinch 2, Bullfinch 1. Siskin over N, calling, early on.
Best bird was a female Chaffinch that had not been 'seen' since it was in its 2CY in April 2004 (1819 days). Second prize goes to a male Blackcap that was also caught in April 2004 as a 2CY but has been handled several times since (1840 days). The other two Blackcaps were hatched in 2006.

Fwd: Priory today 18th April

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

More Blackcaps in today.
27 Blackcaps
10 Willow Warblers
11 Chiffchaffs
1 Whitethroat
1 Lesser Whitethroat
1 Reed Warbler
3 Sedge Warblers
18 Swallows
10 Sand Martins
1 House Martin
4 Common Terns
3 Oystercatchers
1 Redshank
Errol reported one Siskin north early on.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Fwd: Priory Today 17th

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

Hi all,
1 Sandwich Tern through at about 0730.
1 ad Little Gull seen early then went. Present again (the same or
different?) from about 0845 to 0900.
3 Common Terns
9 Willow Warblers
15 Blackcaps
9 Chiffchaffs
1 Lesser Whitethroat (main car park again)
5 Sedge Warblers
1 Reed Warbler
10 Swallows
6 House Martins
30 Sand Martins
1 pr Gadwall

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fwd: Priory 15th

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Lesser Whitethroat (main car park)
2 Common Terns
14 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
7 Willow Warblers
3 Sedge Warblers
2 Swallows
4 Sand Martins
1 pr Gadwalls
2 Shovelers
2 Shelducks.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cuckoo calling

I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a grey morph female Cuckoo (C.canorus) this morning (14th) in the 'rough'. She was calling just the once each time from three different "song posts". Normally this is only done by the female after egg-laying to attract the male back for a bit of "how's yer father". She was not very conspicuous and slipped low through the bushes. I suspect that she was 'sussing out' the Dunnock's nests/territories - as well as trying to attract a mate.
DK, TP & EN have not yet heard a male Cuckoo calling anywhere at this site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 13th Apr

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Hobby ENE at 0920
7 Willow Warblers
8 Chiffchaffs
16 Blackcaps
1 m Whitethroat
1 Sedge Warbler
4 Sand Martins
1 Swallow
1 pr Gadwalls
2 Shelducks
2 Oystercatchers
1 Jay

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 12th Apr Like rice pudding at a wedding!

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

Hi all,
nothing too exciting - getting envious!
12 Willow Warblers
37 Blackbirds
12 Chiffchaffs
85 Sand Martins
3 Swallows
20 Blackcaps, including several females.
5 Sedge Warblers
1 Whitethroat m
Hopefully something more exotic will arrive soon!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fwd: Priory 11th Apr

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

a bit disappointing compared with other places, nothing too special:
2 House Martins (plus one N this pm)
8 Willow Warblers
8 Chiffchaffs
19 Blackcaps (inc 1 f)
1 Whitethroat
3 Sedge Warblers
2 Swallows
25 Sand Martins
1 pr Gadwalls
1 Water Rail

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Saturday 11th April 2009

Missed the otters again this morning but Ed had 3 early on at Kramer hide. Unfortunately his ringing session with EN was a washout. There were Martins and Swallows over the main lake despite the heavy drizzle. Plenty of singing warblers around with at least 3 Willow Warblers surrounding the car park. Pairs of Gadwall and Teal on West Fingers and at least another 2 male Teal elsewhere around Fingers were the highlight along with battling Mute Swan and Canada Goose. The Common Whitethroat defied the rain and was singing on the south east corner of Fingers, opposite the Beach. Met DK who said the Sedge Warblers were down at the STW reed bed so we went down there to check and found 2 singing in the reed bed at the mouth of the Cut on Riverside. Also 2 pairs of Tufted Ducks on the first lake on 100 Acre.

We checked out Riverside for a change and had another Sedge Warbler on the island on Tesco Pond. Also 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. There is also a nesting Mute Swan on Riverside (Orange #405).

Back at the Cut another Black Cap was singing and we had another 3 Chiff's along the Woodland Walk. On the south side of the main lake we decided to try the riverside path and, along with a pair of ducks trying some extreme waterfalling, we had two more Sedge Warblers. One was opposite Bedford Boat Club and the other was further along opposite the lake on Fenlake. We could only make out about three Teal on Fenlake.

Back at the main lake still at least 20 hirundines with a handful of Swallows and the rest seemed to be Sand Martins, couldn't locate any of the House Martins seen earlier.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fwd: Priory 9/10th April

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

Hi, yesterday in brackets or parentheses
Common Terns 2 (0) departed at great height, almost beyond binocular
Oystercatcher 2
Whitethroat 1m
Sedge Warbler 2 (1)
Willow Warbler 6 (15)
Chiffchaffs 15 (11)
Blackcaps 18 m (17 m)
Sand Martins 3 (3)
Gadwall pr + 1m
Redshanks 1
Redwing 3
Stock Dove 2 display

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 5th

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

10 Willow Warblers
15 Chiffchaffs
14 Blackcaps
31 Blackbirds
16 Song Thrushes
1 pr Gadwall
No hirundines.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Fwd: Priory Today - 4th Apr

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Grey Partridge - Last recorded in the park in Feb. 2002!!
7 Willow Warblers
15 Chiffchaffs
15 Blackcaps
8 Sand Martins
3 Swallows
21 Teal on Fenlake
1 Treecreeper
1 Jay
1 Ringed Teal
1 m Sp. Hawk
1 Redshank.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Fwd: Priory Today - 3rd Apr

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

2 Willow Warblers
12 Chiffchaffs
10 Blackcaps
30 Sand Martins
4 Swallows
12 Coot
1 pr Gadwalls
2 Otter Cubs outside the Kramer Hide (TL07824924) from 0832 to 0843 before
moving off into the main part of the East Finger lake and then into the west
Finger Lake.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ringing on Thurs 2nd April

After all the habitat management work, it was time to put up the "summer" nets and see what was about. This was despite the cold and damp morning with a chill easterly wind. This counts as an 'extra visit' for CES purposes. We cannot ring the CES site now until the end of the month (CES rules), i.e. visit No 1.

We did manage to catch 3 Chiffchaffs (1M, 2F), 3 Blackbirds (1M,2F), 3 Great Tits (1 pr + 1M), a poss pr of Bullfinches, 3 Wrens (1M, 2F) and single Dunnock and BlueTit. Interestingly, the female Blackbirds were a third heavier than the same-sized male!

Up to five Swallows kept early company and we could hear three male Blackcap within easy earshot. The Woodpigeons were "at it" for quite some time and the Magpies were showing off their new home. A Squirrel dained to look for a free meal - but the feeders are now empty and will remain that way until October/November!

See IRG blog for Bullfinch with Knemidokoptic mange.

Fwd: Priory Today 02/04

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Willow Warbler
11 Chiffchaffs (not singing too well this morning).
10 m Blackcaps
7 Swallows
35 Sand Martins
2 m Shovelers
1pr Gadwalls
2 Jays
1 Redshank
1 Grey Wagtail
Looks as though it might be another good year for Song Thrushes in the park.
Only two L. Egrets in to roost last night.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 1st Apr.

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Willow Warbler
15 Chiffchaffs
8 m Blackcaps
4 Shovelers
3 Gadwalls
2 Shelducks
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Ringed Teal
18 Teal on Fenlake
No Hirundines early on at least.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fwd: Willow Warbler @ Priory 31/3

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, ploszajski@... wrote:

A Willow Warbler was singing strongly just east of the main car park at
Priory this morning.



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Monday, March 30, 2009

Evening - 30th March 2009

An evening stroll around the Finger lakes was rewarded with at least 4 Little Egrets in to roost. Also had at least 60 Sand Martins come in over the main lake before departing north again after 20-30 mins. A Chiffy was singing by the Steps. 2 pairs of Tufted Ducks and a pair of Gadwall on Fingers, no sign of the Ring Teal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fwd: Priory today -29th Mch

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

13 Chiffchaffs
2 m Blackcaps
2 Oystercatchers
85 Sand Martins
3 Swallows
11 Coot
2 Stock Doves
1 Siskin
1 Treecreeper
1 Jay
14 Teal
1 Ringed Teal m
1 Shoveler m
etc. DaveK.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 28/3

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Swallow
95 Sand Martins
3 m Blackcaps
12 Chiffchaffs - one of which introduced his song with a few Willow Warbler
2 Redshanks
2 Redwings
1 Little Egret - Fenlake
12 Teal - fenlake
8 G-c Grebes
1 Ringed Teal (immaculate male) as in Ringed Teal, nor ringed Teal. Finger
m. Gadwall (pr yesterday)

Best wishes, DaveK.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 26/3

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

1 Swallow @ 0740
35 Sand Martins
4 m Blackcaps
13 Chiffchaffs
16 Teal

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 25/3

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

12 Chiffchaffs - all singing m
5 m Blackcaps - an arrival!
53 Sand Martins
1 Jay
3 Shovelers

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fwd: Priory today 24/3

--- In bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com, DavidDavekramer@... wrote:

9 Chiffchaffs
125 Sand Martins early on.
Male Blackcap singing strongly
16 Teal
2 Oystercatchers
2 Little Egrets Fenlake
2 Shelducks Fenlake.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Long Hedge photographs

Above: Peek-a-boo male chaffinch with an extra long wing (see IRG blog).

Above: Male bullfinch.

Above: The surprise redwing

I must have been snoozing when it came to photographing the blackcap!

Saturday 21st March

A very good morning started with 9 Sand Martin over the main lake and 3 singing Chiffchaff (Rough, Crescent and opposite the Beach). There were six Tufted Ducks on the main lake (1f), they were seen in flight later and then on East Fingers with a seventh on West Fingers. Also on West Fingers there were at least 3 Little Grebe, a pair of Teal on Kramer and from the hide LTT looked to be nest building in the hedge over to the left. Two Great Crested Grebe spent the morning chasing around Fingers, not sure whether they were a pair or rivals!

Met DK along the navigation channel and he tipped us off about the waders and Shelduck on 100 Acre. We checked the lakes out and, after an initial blank on the first (smaller), were rewarded with Redshank (at least 7), Lapwing, Green Sandpiper (2) and flyover Ringed Plovers (possibly LRP) with a Common Sandpiper. Close your eyes and you could have been at the coast on some mudflaps with the Redshank calling and singing, superb. 2 Shelduck flew over heading towards Priory but they must have doubled back as when we got back to the smaller lake there were 2 there along with several of the Redshank and Lapwings which remained mobile moving been the 2 lakes. Odd Sand Martins about also.

Back in the park we had another singing Chiffy along the Woodland Walk and then both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in neighbouring Willows before we got to the Sedgewick Seat. Treecreepers were heard here too. EN was checking the nets in the Long Hedge while Ed snoozed by the car :-)

Bullfinch were about in the Rough along with all the regulars.

Back at the main lake 3 Shoveler were seen but little else. A Kingfisher was seen along the Leat and at Fenlake there are still a number of Teal (at least 12 today) and 2 Shelduck (possibly the same 2 seen earlier on 100 Acre?)

A scan of the main lake when were back at the visitor centre, but this time no Sand Martins to be seen.