Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday 24th April 2010

A great morning for year ticks if you are in to that sort of thing, other wise just great to see and hear the new arrivals.

Common Terns are getting more numerous around the park with pairs noisily chasing around over the main lake, Fingers and up and down the navigation channel.

First new arrival, for me, was a Reed Warbler along the main lake reed bed between the Steps and Spit. Another 2 a little further along with a Sedge Warbler in between.

A Swallow flew in over the main lake from the north east.

A Cuckoo was heard and located in the top of the dead branches of the tree by the Dead Seat.

A Common Whitethroat was singing from the south east corner of Fingers. (New).

2 Swifts (New) were seen over Riverside accompanied by a Sand Martin.

At the Tern Pool, just over the bypass along the cycle track, a Yellow Wagtail (New) was spotted on the fence before it moved to the edge of the pool then back to the field and finally flying to the entrance road to the gravel works.

A Lesser Whitethroat (New) was heard as we started down the Grange Estate loop.

On the way back to the park a Common Buzzard was seen low over the bypass bridge. It drifted off towards the big lake on 100 Acre.

All in all a great morning with 5 year ticks plus the Cuckoo, which we heard during the guided walk last week, but this was my first sighting of the year.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring bird walk

One of EN's Robins singing in the Rough

A fine sunny day but with a cool if light NW wind. Good to see Stan on his feet, making an erudite return.

First up, 3 Common Terns over the main lake, plus 2 Lesser Black-backs. 3 pairs of grebe "hugging each other", least ways, not stirring far away. There were Coots sitting on eggs, still laying eggs, still building and others still wondering what to do. The female swan, of the No.1 pair, was sitting proud on her nest, high on the southern end of the island. However, we found a pair of interlopers tentatively setting about nest-building beside the main path (just before the spit).

The birdsong in the spit area was made up of Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Chaffinch and, of course, Dunnock. From the end of the spit we could see 3 Gadwall in breeding array, and we watched a female Gt. Spot. for a short while. We wandering round to the 'dead seat', enjoying Robin song, more Blackcaps and Chiffs, busy Blue Tits, mewling Bullfinch and an elusive Willow Warbler.

As we were about to enter the 'new meadow', we heard the call of a male Cuckoo, somewhere over towards the sewage farm, moving along Kingsmead perhaps. This is a site first for 2010, and is 2 days ahead of the mean date for the last decade (DK) and 4 days ahead of the 'nineties. Great and Blue Tits were keeping close to their individual boxes as we walked the 'long hedge. At the 'concrete bridge', another rather elusive Willow Warbler.

We meandered through the 'woodland walk', arriving at the 'navigation. Here we were given an excellent opportunity to watch 3 Sedge Warblers, singing and not taking much of a liking to each other. Over the bridge, there was little to excite except, perhaps, a pair of Lapwing in the near distance. We concluded today's walk back along the New Cut, listening to various Blackcaps, Dunnocks and Chiffs. A Green Woodpecker was glimpsed following its give-away "laugh". "Back at the ranch", we tried to tie down the singing Willow Warbler near the centre, but failed miserably to get other than a fleeting glimpse of it.

Next walk - 4:30 AM on Sunday 9th May for the 'dawn chorus' followed by coffe and bickies!