Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday 21st February

A good morning around the park. Saw Errol in the Rough and were there when the 2 Sky Larks passed over. The Chiffy was very vocal and mobile, moving between the Steps and Rough Gate using the Willows. On west Fingers a lone Great Crested Grebe was constructing a platform from the reeds and twigs. No sign of a mate though. Little else of note on the 2 largest lakes and just a couple of Little Grebe and a pair of Teal in front of Kramer hide. A second singing Chiffchaff was in the vicinity of the hide although not as noisy as the Rough bird.

Along the Woodland Walk a large party of at least 16 Magpies caught our attention and then the raucous call of a Jay and a flyby was good to see.

No sign of last weeks Pied Wagtails on Kingsmead but we did have a fly over Meadow Pipit. Back on Kingsmead Moorhen numbers were in the teens and a small party of Canada Geese were grazing along with a dozen Wood Pigeons.

On the main lake:
128 (16f) Pochard
3m Tufted
29 Shoveler
9 Great Crested Grebe
16 Cormorant (mostly roosting in the south side trees)

Neither sight nor sound of a Kingfisher this week, a rare occurrence around the park.

Friday 20th Feb & follow up

A check on the feeding station yesterday (Fri) surrendered the following to the ringers.
Dunnock 2, Robin 1, Blackbird 2, Long-tailed Tit 2, Blue Tit 11, Great Tit 8 & Chaffinch 1.

This was in contrast to an early morning visit to the Rough the day after. A female Gt.Spot on the feeder (a male in the willows), a noisy Wren, a party of 3 Dunnocks chasing around, 2 prs of Robin, at least 3 male Blackbirds (both birds on Fri were female), 2 territorial (singing/fighting) male Song Thrushes (and another singing down by the Crescent), a very vocal Chiffchaff, 2 small family parties of Long-tailed Tits on different feeders, 4 Magpies having a battle over this part of the long hedge (I noted a new nest has been built), 3+ Chaffinches, a lone 'wheezing' Greenfinch, 7 Goldfinches in the tallest tree (the Locust) and last but not least, 3 pairs of Bullfinches - yes three!, again having a bit of a "todo".

There were also 2 Sky Larks over, a Shelduck and a sinensis Cormorant.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday 15th February

Still plenty of ice and laying snow around the park but the thaw has also caused a lot of flooding. The levels have dropped compared to yesterday and access around the south side of the main lake is now possible. I met up with DK along the main path and he was watching a Water Rail in the main lake reed bed. It tried to escape in my direction but was trapped between us for a while as we both had good view before it finally got its act together and flew towards the next Willow along.

Little activity on the, still frozen, Finger lakes although we did have ~20 Teal over. The crescent was impassable due to flood water. We did try but gave up with the water almost over the tops of our wellies.

Back to the steps and up past the Rough we had a Redwing over which stopped in the top of the trees by the main path. Past the Sedgewick Seat and out of the Finger Lakes section we had a couple of female Bullfinch in the top of the Long Hedge.

Kingsmead has its own flood pools and these have attracted good numbers of Pied Wagtails, around 72 today. These were joined by a couple of Meadow Pipits, 39 Canada Geese, 10+ Moorhen and 7 Cormorants.

Back to the main lake which was still pouring over the beach. Shoveler numbered 32 while Pochard were down to 59 and Tufted just 3. We had a number of Mute Swans over during the morning and the resident male was busy seeing off all comers. On the south east corner we had a couple of Kingfishers.

At the pipe the new all weather path had been washed into the flood channel covering the pipe. This caused a lovely vortex in the water on the opposite side as the water drained more slowly through the pipe.

That was about it, Fenlake was still iced over and just had a few gulls in residence, little else of note, although there were 15 Great Crested Grebes on the main lake, a big improvement over recent weeks.