Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday 23rd October 2010

The overnight had all but cleared through by the time I got to the Park this morning. The cloud cleared away quite quickly and it turned into a very nice sunny morning. The weed on the main lake is gradually disappearing, with the help of some further removal by the sailing club, ducks were mainly gathered on the remaining weed in the south west corner. Difficult to see through the bins but Wigeon numbers looked quite good this morning with just a handful of Gadwall and Shoveler with them. Coot numbers remain high on the main lake.

Met up with JA at the Finger Lakes but it was quiet with just 4 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 2 Tufted Ducks and a handful of Shoveler. Bullfinch were heard along the Spit. Kingfisher was seen perched, eating a fish, along the east side of big fingers.

Treecreeper was heard along the east side of Fingers. At Kramer hide most of the duckweed had gone, on the hide side, but there was little around with just a few Bullfinch calling from the Willows opposite.

We headed out along the cycle track but the first pool was lifeless and the second larger lake looked similar. A little further along the track gave better views of the large lake and we were able to spot a couple of Coot, a single Little Grebe and 3 Grey Herons. Meadow Lane GP held half a dozen Coot and a couple of young Mute Swans. By this time Mute Swan movements were increasing and a party of 13 flew over head, towards Priory main lake. Many others followed throughout the morning.

Just before crossing the bypass we checked out the waste ground where a party of 9 Red-legged Partridge stood in a huddle. Across the bridge the Tern Pool looked to be completely empty but the surrounding fields were full of Sky Larks singing in the autumn sun. A large flock of Lapwing flew over, increasing in number to ~100 which settled briefly on the ploughed field. They were very flighty and would not settle, some were seen later over the STW.

Back at the small pool on 100 Acre a transformation had occurred with ~20 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Little Grebe, a Moorhen and a Green Sandpiper now in attendance.

From the bridge we spotted a couple of Grey Wagtails at the mouth of the Cut. While watching them a Water Rail called from the STW reed bed.

Little else of interest as we made our way back through the park, however Mute Swan numbers had increased noticeably. There was very little sign of migration this morning with just local movements of a few Redwings and Fieldfare. A few higher flying Skylarks were moving through and a Meadow Pipit was spotted moving north east of VC when we got back there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guided Walk - Sunday 17th October

A very similar day to yesterday, a warmer start than expected, but dry and bright after the overnight cloud cleared away. 7 people joined the guided walk led by yours truly this morning. On the main lake it initially looked like a lot of the Coot had gone but they were just a bit more spread out than yesterday. Wigeon and Gadwall numbers were similar to yesterday. As I scanned the island I picked up a Water Rail just off the west end and managed to get it in the scope, but it disappeared around the far side of the island before anyone else could get a look. As we headed along the main path I spotted a Little Grebe close to the shore next a Coot and everyone managed to see it as it bobbed back to the surface having dived for cover. Unusual to see one so close, especially next to the footpath. 3 Common Gulls were loafing about with the more numerous Black-headed Gulls.

Along the Spit we had good views of Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal, along with Grey Herons, Coot and Moorhen. Bullfinch were heard along the Spit. Around the Crescent we caught up with the 3 regular Tufted Ducks on east Fingers. A Kingfisher made a couple of passes but managed to elude the rest of the group. This is a species where it is very useful to know the call as you mostly hear them first before locating and the blue blur as they zoom past low over the water. Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling around the Crescent.

Little of interest at Kramer hide, a Sparrowhawk was spotted flying out over Kingsmead and we stopped to view the Cormorants and Herons roosting in the trees on the far side of Kingsmead.

We walked around to the first small lake on 100 Acre but only had a single Little Grebe for our trouble. A Meadow Pipit passed over north east. A party of Goldfinch were flitting about in the trees by the bridge. A scan of the larger lake produced a group of feeding Pochard in the scope for everyone to see.

The Woodland Walk was quiet again. In fact it was quieting down as it usually does mid morning. As we walked back into the Finger Lakes complex a single female Teal was surprisingly calm as we walked past and the canopy was alive with the calls of Long-tailed Tits. The Rough was very quiet. A stroll back to the Visitor Centre, across the Meadows, produced little else to trouble the scorers.

Earlier, ~30 Redwings passed overhead in 3 groups along with a handful of Fieldfares, mostly heading west. A couple of small groups of Skylarks (3 and 3) passed over early and late on in the morning. I spotted a Muntjac on one of the fingers of west Fingers early on. A flock of ~80 Wood Pigeon were spotted high up heading south.