Saturday, December 31, 2011
I spent Wednesday and Thursday coppicing in the park with Nicky. We cut back the trees nearest the path between the Rough and the main lake and further along past the Steps. Before we started on Thursday I went round to Kramer hide before first light and found 10 Little Egrets still at roost. The last one left at just after 8am and headed north after initially going south.
I arrived early again this (Saturday) morning and was in time to see the Jackdaws leave the roost in good numbers. A Kingfisher was seen in the north east corner of the main lake. There was even a synchronised departure as groups around Fingers and on Kings Mead left at the same time as myself and JA walked along the Navigation Channel. Despite arriving at Kramer hide before 8am all the Little Egrets were gone, just a few white feathers to show they had been there.
We walked back around to the Crescent and met up with DK along the Spit. There was little to see on Fingers, just a pair of Gadwall on the east lake and a pair of Shoveler and 3 Teal on the west lake. A party of Lapwing (~40) passed over south as we headed along the main path to the Steps. It was very quiet along by the Rough but as we turned to head down to the Sedgewick seat I spotted a Goldcrest in the Elders. 3 Teal flew up from Fingers as we continued alongside the Sheep Pen. Passed the Sedgewick Seat JA spotted a Great-spotted Woodpecker in the Sheep Pen and as we looked at that a Green Woodpecker flew from the big Willows behind the seat.
We continued our circuit and stopped to checkout Kings Mead where there was a small group of Canada Geese and a single Greylag Goose (we'd had 3 Greylags over north east earlier). Back at Kramer hide and it was still very quiet, none of the expected Shoveler or Teal, but a Water Rail was a morning highlight.
Continuing back along the navigation channel I spotted some birds in the top of the plantation behind the beach and with the aid of the scope these were identified as Fieldfare (40+). Along the canoe slalom we unexpectedly picked up a Grey Wagtail, despite 2 dogs running up and down the slalom course. We also had 20 Redwing in the Willows over by the Barns hotel.
Next stop was the main lake hide for a wildfowl count. 30+ Pochard, 20+ Tufted Ducks, 22 Cormorants, 3 Wigeon and 9 Great Crested Grebes was the result. There was also a good number of Coots and Gulls including 9 Common Gulls, the rest being Black-headed Gulls. We had a mixed party of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls over earlier.
We checked Fenlake for the Stonechat but is was a no show again, we did have a number of Snipe and 80+ Lapwing. Little else then until we reached the north west corner where a Goldcrest was calling from the pines.
Monday, December 26, 2011
As we moved off I heard a Reed Bunting calling and located it in the tree by the reed bed, the scope revealed a rather drab male. We continued around the corner and while watching a couple of Moorhen under the Willows a Kingfisher flew across the corner of the lake.
We had very good views of another Gadwall close in along the south side and a little further along we stopped to have a look at the Pochard but I spotted 2 Pintail on the edge of the group of ducks so we had a good look at those before checking out the Pochard.
We had a brief stop to look over at Fenlake but were unable to spot anything other than Lapwing, which were feeding across the far side of the meadow. On Saturday we had seen the Stonechat perched up on the fence but it failed to show today.
At the main lake hide we added a couple more species of Gull with a single Lesser Black-backed Gull and three Herring Gulls (1 first winter). Pochard were a little closer giving reasonable views but the Pintail had gone along with some of the Wigeon and Tufted Ducks. These had probably been put up by the sailing club members who had arrived.
Black-headed Gull, Cormorant and Great-crested Grebe completed the main lake list so we headed off towards Fingers. A party of Log-tailed Tits were noisy but elusive along the navigation channel. At Kramer hide Shoveler and Teal showed well, as did a Grey Heron in the fallen Willow. On Kingsmead a small party of Canada Geese were present but the 2 Greylags, which I had seen earlier, had departed. Half a dozen Cormorants were roosting in the usual trees on the far side of Kingsmead.
Just before the Sedgewick Seat we had a Treecreeper in one of the Willows and a Green Woodpecker flew into the large Willows behind the seat before departing across the Sheep Pen. At the Dead Seat we came across the remains of a Sparrowhawk's dinner, on the picnic table. A lot of feathers, a leg and the beak identified the victim as a Bullfinch. A party of Goldfinch were chattering as we walked down along side the Rough.
From the Steps we headed back along the main path and cut across the New Meadow to the car park and the Visitor Centre where we finished of the walk with good views of Dunnock, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Greenfinch in the staff car park.
Many thanks to those that joined me on the walk this morning, hope you all enjoyed it. Next one is Sunday the 29th January at 9am. Meet by the Visitor Centre.
This mornings full list, including those seen by me before the walk started:
Water Rail (west Fingers)
Teal (at least 4, 2 pairs)
Shoveler (at least 4, 1 pair and 2 other males)
Kingfisher (east Fingers and main lake, south west corner)
Wigeon (at least 7)
Lapwing (40, 25, +)
Pintail (2 males)
Herring Gull (2 adults, 1 first winter)
Lesser Black-backed Gull
41 Species, not bad given we didn't manage a raptor or a Fieldfare this morning, the Pintail were a bonus.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Black-headed and Common Gulls were seen on the football pitches by the wood.
The Woodpeckers were particularly active on the Thursday with several GSW drumming all day and lots of squabbles over territory. The Greens put in an appearance right by us at lunch time. In fact the good weather seemed to bring out the birds, with much more activity throughout the day in general.
Grey Squirrels are also doing very well, I don't think I have seen so many concentrated in one area before, and that's saying something!
There were also quite a few fungi about including this nice little group:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
As usual I arrived at the Wood a little early and checked out the bird life. The morning was bright with a cold wind so the wood provided good shelter and the birds seemed to be enjoying it with many species seen and heard throughout the day including:
Saturday, December 17, 2011
On west Fingers a pair of Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall were making use of a couple of ice free corners, on the east side the Mute Swan Family were present but no sign of any Little Grebes. Bullfinch was heard along the Spit, and a Water Rail was heard squealing, probably on the island between east Fingers and Kramer.
Along the Navigation Channel we found a single Little Grebe and on Kingsmead the cattle feed buckets were proving popular with 7 Magpies and 2 Pheasants. A couple of Carrion Crows were picking over a dead Magpie. 30 Canada Geese were grazing on Kingsmead.
Before we got to Kramer hide we spotted 7 Shoveler through the gap between east and west Fingers. At Kramer hide there were a couple of Greylags with 4 Canada Geese. 4 of the Shoveler flew in, probably flushed by DK as he walked along the Spit. We watched a male Sparrowhawk and a Magpie hassling each over for several minutes, the Sparrowhawk was the aggressor most of the time for a change. A large flock of Fieldfare passed over south, filling the patch of sky we could see from the hide. JA estimated 200 which tallied with DK's estimate when we met up later.
A walk up to 100 Acre had little reward. There were more Canada Geese, some Mute Swans and Gulls. Some tree planting had taken place with a small group on the north side of the small lake.
On the way back into the park a Bullfinch was calling very loudly by the Kissing Gate.We cut through the wood and around to the Rough where Ed and Dave were ringing with DK keeping score. We were just in time to see a Goldcrest, freshly caught. It never fails to amaze me how small these birds are. You really wonder how they manage to survive through the winter, especially the last 2 really cold ones.
Having chatted for a while we left Ed and Dave and continued around Fingers. A Kingfisher flew from the Willow in the north east corner of the main lake, cutting across the main path and over east Fingers.At the main lake hide we found 11 Pochard (2f). I guess the rangers are feeding the ducks now as a party of Mallards came over when we arrived at the hide. There were a couple of Teal out towards the island. A Kingfisher performed a nice fly past for us in the hide.
Good numbers of Coot remain, 30+ Gadwall and about 12 Tufted Ducks were all in the south west corner. Blackbirds, Robins and the odd Song Thrush were the bulk of the sightings along the west side. Once again no Blackcaps despite the large crop of Ivy Berries along the old Priory wall. The Fenlake Stonechat was also AWOL again.
Don't forget the Boxing day guided walk, meet at the visitor centre at 9am and walk off the Xmas day excess!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
After a cold night the morning was bright and cold with a covering of frost on the grass and some ice on the main lake. I could hear the Gadwall on the main lake before I got to it. There weren't as many as there have been in recent weeks and no sign of any Wigeon. Tufted Ducks and a few Pochard were also present. Down at the Finger lakes the west lake was iced over with just a small pocket of open water at the north end where some Gadwall were hiding. DK joined JA and myself along the Spit. There was no sign of the Little Grebes on the east lake but a Greylag and 14 Canada Geese were getting some grief from the resident Mute Swans. From the Crescent we watched a party of Goldfinch in the Alders but there were no Siskins or Redpoll with them.
DK continued his usual circuit while JA and myself headed along the Navigation Channel. At Kramer hide we had a couple of Shoveler and a Water Rail called. Up at the STW bridge there wasn't much happening on 100 Acre. We had a party of 30+ Goldfinch and a pair of Reed Buntings as well as the usual Geese, Swans and Gulls. On the way back across the bridge we spotted 4 Greenfinch in the Willows along the Cut.
Along the Woodland Walk we had at least one Treecreeper. In the Long Hedge, just before the entry into Fingers, we came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits and closer inspection turned up a Goldcrest. We cut around past the Sedgewick Seat and the Rough and at the Dead Seat we spied 3 Teal on west Fingers.
There was little else of note until we headed up the west side of the main lake where a Sparrowhawk dived into the hedge but came up empty, better luck next time.
In the afternoon I joined the volunteers at Mowsbury Hill Fort for a bit of scrub clearance. This site is one of many now managed by the Priory Rangers. Bullfinch and Redwing were seen/heard during the session.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
A quick walk down the main path, scanning the main lake as I went, revealed a couple of male Pochard with a single female. There were also Gadwall and Tufted Ducks present but it was too dark to determine numbers. A Wigeon was also present, given away by its whistling call. A probable Water Rail flew from the north side reed bed to the island. The Jackdaw roost got up at about 7:20am and swirled around over the main lake. I estimate around 1500 birds, possibly more, present this morning. As they swirled around small groups kept breaking away and leaving for the feeding grounds, other broke off and then re-joined. Sometimes they settled back in the roost trees on the south side before getting up again. This continued for quite some time and a flock of Lapwing (~65) came in from the north east and joined the party, swirling over the main lake. This also continued on for quite a while with the Lapwing gradually gaining more and more height before departing back the way they came.
Four Greylag Geese also came over from the north east, heading south. At Fingers 2 Little Egrets were still on roost in the usual trees at the north end of the Spit. I could see very little on west Fingers but the distinctive quack gave them away. I walked down the Spit and turned down the slope to the Crescent and spotted a dark bird flying from the Spit towards the Crescent, across east Fingers, the binoculars showed the silhouette of a Water Rail. I hurried across the bridge, into position on the Crescent path, just in time to see the Water Rail dash across the path and into the reed bed. No sign of any Corn Buntings leaving the reed bed but I may have been a little early. Back on the main path and a Kingfisher was calling from the south east corner of the main lake. I headed back along the main path, towards the VC. Only one of the Little Egrets was left and that departed as I watched, flying to the south east corner of the main lake and stopping there for a while. It's amazing how difficult these white birds are to see at distance, albeit in low light, you would thing they would stand out more, but to the naked eye you could easily have missed them in the trees.
At least 2 Green Woodpeckers were heard around Fingers.
Next stop was the Visitor Centre to get ready for the days volunteer task and the BBQ kindly put on by the Rangers. We did some coppicing and scrub clearance in the W plantation, opening up the glades on either side of the path through the wood. The guys working by the path did a great job dead hedging the edge of the path so no excuses for straying off the marked route for that section.
Highlight of the day for me, other than the BBQ, was a singing Mistle Thrush, initially heard over towards Kingsmead, it came closer and was finally seen flying over us towards the Sheep Pen, rattling as it went. It sang again from the Sheep Pen area. Also a Great-spotted Woodpecker kept it's eye on us most of the day.
Thanks to the Rangers and volunteer Alan for providing the food for the BBQ, and thanks to all the volunteers this year for the hard work put in all around the park.
Next task is Sunday the 8th January starting at 9am and finishing around 3pm. If you fancy joining us but can't do the whole day, feel free to come down for a morning or afternoon. Even just an hour or two is appreciated by all, just let the Rangers know before hand so they can let you know where will be working.
Contact details can be found here.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Fingers was very quiet again with just 6 Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, 3 Teal and 4 Little Grebe. The Mute Swan family were in residence as usual.
A walk up to 100 Acre was a bit of a let down after last weekends Lapwing display we only managed 4 this week. There were large numbers of Canada Geese on the fields east of the big lake with a few over by the small lake. There were some Tufted Ducks on the big lake, tucked in under the near bank. There was at least one Little Grebe on each lake.
We failed to find a Grey Wagtail on the Canoe Slalom and the Fenlake Stonechat failed to show again.
DK had 6 Goosanders and a Redpoll on the 1st.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It was found on 23rd September 2011, at Vistanvagen, Soderudden, Vaasa, Finland - 653 days after it was ringed in Bedford - a distance of 1775km in a North Easterly direction.
Details of the ringing session this bird was caught on can be found here (it was the first bird caught that day).
Monday, November 28, 2011
Shelduck on the main lake. Gadwalls down to 19. 105 L/H Gulls SW. Best of all were three Blackcaps (2m + 1f) behind the sailing club. Knapweed still in flower. (Per DK).
Nice male and female Goosander; 4 Little Egrets at roost and 15 Corn Buntings. Water Rail, Kingfisher etc..(Per DK).
Sunday, November 27, 2011
With the strong winds it was always going to be hard finding stuff so we started off with a look around the main lake where the winter ducks could be relied upon. From the south west corner we had Gadwall and Wigeon along with the usual Coots and Mute Swans. A Kingfisher flew across the south west corner but hid in the Willows so we were unable to get a good look. We continued around the corner in the hope we might see it but failed to find it through the mass of branches. Some of the group spotted it a little further along the south side.
Along the south side we found Pochard and Tufted Ducks along with a couple more Wigeon and plenty more Gadwall and Coots. A small party of Long-tailed Tits gave good views as they moved through the Willows.
We cut through to the river to have a look over Fenlake Meadows for the Stonechat but unsurprisingly it didn't show. With the winter wildfowl zone now closed off we walked around Pressmead which was very quiet until a flock of Lapwing passed overhead (a very rough estimate of 100).
We continued along the east side of the main lake where a very bold Robin showed well on the fence, showing little fear of us. The Little Grebes on Fingers failed to show and we blanked at Kramer hide as well. We continued along the Navigation Channel and a couple of Cormorants were in the usual tree on Kingsmead.
Up at the Sewerage Treatment Works we waited on the bridge in the hope of another Kingfisher but no joy and the Lapwings from yesterday, on 100 Acre, were conspicuous by their absence. A bit of a theme developing :-(
Back in the park we cut through the Woodland Walk and had Bullfinch calling about half way along. We cut through Fingers, passed the Sedgewick Seat and cut across the meadows back to the car park. Another Bullfinch was calling in the scrub around the car park but again it wouldn't show itself.
So not a huge success this morning. Many thanks to all those who came, both old and new faces, hope to see you again on a future walk.
Next walk is Boxing Day at 9am, meet at the visitor centre.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
At Fingers the 3 Little Grebe were in their usual corner. 3 Redwing were flushed from the hedge as we walked along the Spit and a couple of Shoveler, female and eclipse male, were spotted over by the Dead Seat. Met up with DK at the end of the Spit where half a dozen Gadwall were found. DK headed off to the Rough while myself and JA headed up the east side of Fingers. JA spotted a fourth Little Grebe in the south east corner, the other three were up the north end by this time.
We continued out to the cycle track and checked out 100 Acre. There were 67 Canada Geese on the big lake with another large group grazing at the north end of the lake. A good number of Black-headed Gulls were also present but little else could be seen. While I was counting the Geese a Chiffchaff was calling from a little further along the track. We continued on past Meadow Lane GP to the new fields before the bypass which were empty. From the Bridge over the bypass we could see 16 Tufted Ducks along with some Coot on the Tern Pool.
We turned and headed back along the cycle track and suddenly had ~100 Golden Plover overhead. They looked like they were coming down to the new fields but ended up circling before heading off towards Willington. A Snipe flew over heading towards 100 Acre and a Sparrowhawk was spotted heading in the opposite direction, back towards the bypass. As we got back to 100 Acre we noticed a lot of Lapwing in the air, conservative estimates were of about 700 birds. They provided quite a spectacle as they swirled about over the big lake. There were also a dozen Pochard, a couple of Little Grebe and 7 Teal on the big lake. There were a further 5 Teal on the small lake and a male Reed Bunting gave good views whilst it fed on the seed heads by the cycle track. ~20 Goldfinch were quite mobile in the same area.
We continued over the New Cut and along the southern edge of Riverside but had little else of note before we arrived back at the car park.
Guided Walk tomorrow, hope the wind dies down, doesn't look like it will though. Should be plenty to see though, meet at the Visitor Centre at 9am.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Not much to report on the wildlife front although we were treated to views of 2 Kingfishers chasing across east Fingers as we boated out to the Fingers to begin work.
Earlier I met up with DK and we had most of the Duck species we would expect at this time of year, Gadwall, Tufted, Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal. we also had a small flock of Lapwing circling over the main lake. The 3 Little Grebe were present as usual in the south east corner of east Fingers. Redwing were present in reasonable numbers in the Rough and along the west side of Fingers lake and I also had a flock of 20 in the area behind the visitor centre before I met up with the rangers. A Mink was seen on west Fingers at the south end.
The next volunteer day is rapidly approaching on Sunday 4th December. This will be some selective coppicing in the woodland walk plantation. Join us between 10am and 2pm.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Back to task of the day, we continued the coppicing work that has commenced on the 2 Fingers this year. Danny took down a couple of the larger Willows on the Finger, the Rangers had already worked on. Meanwhile myself and Nicky started cutting our way onto the next Finger. By the end of the day the first Finger had a covering of brash ready to be burned on the next visit and the second Finger had a clear path down the middle, allowing better access for the chainsaw.
This work is part of a regular cycle where up to 3 of the Fingers are coppiced each year.
While we sat and ate our lunch a Water Rail was heard squealing over at the south end of Fingers, or possibly the Crescent. 15 Redwing passed over south east.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Not much to report on a grey morning in the park. I missed the good stuff which turned up during the week including the Gannet, which was a first for the park (per DK).
Gadwall are still quite numerous with at least 38 today. Half a dozen Wigeon and at least 5 Shoveler were also noted along with 8 Teal. Just a single male Pochard though hanging about with a dozen Tufted Ducks. A couple of Little Grebes were present on east Fingers. JA spotted a Kingfisher along the Canoe Slalom but, for the second week running, no Grey Wagtail here. The Stonechat, on Fenlake Meadows last week, was also not to be found. We had a single Fieldfare in one of the Poplars in the Sheep Pen and DK had 15 over a little earlier. A pair of Bullfinch were present along the edge of the Rough.
So pretty quiet on a cool grey morning, let's hope it picks up for next weeks guided walk, meet at the Visitor Centre on Sunday the 27th at 9am.
In the afternoon I joined the Putnoe Woods group with Ranger Jane to do a little coppicing. We managed to clear a reasonable area but there is still a lot to do. The cakes were a bonus, thanks to Jane and many happy returns. :-)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
A Red-breasted Merganser made a short visit and departed at 0913 after staying for only a few minutes.
Also: 145 Fieldfares S; 64 Herring Gulls south (the biggest movement by far for us this year); 34 Gadwalls; 38 Cormorants; 44 Lapwings over; 1 L. Redpoll; 1 Grey Wagtail, 20 Common Gulls; two Goldcrests and five Wigeon. (Four Little Egrets, 9 Corn Buntings and a Water Rail yesterday evening.)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
- Wednesday 16th November 1 - 3pm - Coppicing in Putnoe Wood
- Saturday 19th November 1 - 3pm - Coppicing in Putnoe Wood
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
On Fingers we had another 38 Gadwall, along with 5 Teal and a couple of Little Grebe. A Kingfisher perched up in the Willows over by the Dead Seat, giving good views. From the east side of Fingers I spotted a large flock of Woodpigeons, to the west, heading south, ~260. At Kramer hide we were distracted by a commotion in one of the trees on the opposite side of the river. Several Blackbirds were expressing their displeasure at something in the tree. On closer inspection Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch and Robin were also mobbing something in the tree. Unfortunately whatever it was, they were mobbing, will remain a mystery as it was on the other side of the tree, could it have been an Owl?
We headed up to the railway bridge at the STW and had 37 Black-headed Gulls on the power lines. On the 100 Acre big lake, more Gulls along with 9 Tufted Ducks and at least 5 Little Grebes.
Back to the park and pretty quiet although we did have a Skylark over west. A number of Skylarks were heard throughout the morning but we often struggled to locate them. Wagtails were regularly spotted overhead going in various directions, so probably locals. No sign of the usual Grey Wagtail on the Canoe Slalom so we cut back through to the main lake hide and met up with DK. Little to add on the duck front but Coots and Cormorants are still around in good numbers with the Cormorants using the trees on the south side as their roost, in preference to Kingsmead.
We all headed around Pressmead to have a look over Fenlake and were rewarded with a Stonechat on the fence.
There was little else to add to the morning sightings as we continued around the main lake to the car park. DK revealed he now has a key for the sightings board so this should now be a lot more up to date for anyone visiting. He also revealed that he'd had a Curlew over the previous day and Ranger Danny had reported a Jay.
Plenty of new stuff for the new recent sightings page!
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Anyway what was about I hear you ask?
Yesterday was quite foggy for most of the time I was in the park although it did clear some what just before I left. Met up with JA early on and we headed down to Fingers as we couldn't see to the the other side of the main lake. It was evident that there were quite a few Redwings in the scrub around the Labyrinth and the Rough as their calls could be heard and odd ones were moving across towards the Visitor Centre.
At Fingers there was little to see with just a few Gadwall and a couple of Teal keeping the Mallards, Moorhens and resident Mute Swans company. A Kingfisher passed through as we walked along the Spit.At least three Corn Buntings passed over head, north, (from the crescent roost?) as we stood at the end of the Spit.
I would say it was quiet as we headed along the east side of Fingers, except for the road noise from the bypass which was amplified in the still foggy conditions. Not much to see although we did have some Siskins, and Redwings over, just couldn't see them in the fog!
Up at the old railway bridge over the river we had, what is becoming, our regular Kingfisher siting but we didn't bother going any further along the cycle track as the visibility was so low we wouldn't have seen anything anyway.
We headed back into the park and cut through Fingers, passed the Rough, and Redwings were still calling and moving about in the Willows and around the Rough. Impossible to tell how many but decent numbers given the number of calls. We then did a loop around the south side of the main lake, taking in the Canoe Slalom where the usual single Grey Wagtail was seen. On the main lake we managed to spot 11 Gadwall and 3 Wigeon from the main lake hide. A party of Pochard with a single Tufted Duck flew in for a brief stay before departing north east. A couple more Wigeon flew in when we reached the west side of the lake. There was a single Common Gull in with the Black-headed Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull was also present.
This morning, before the volunteer session started I did a quick loop around the park. Weather was overcast and quite cool with the wind having shifted around so it was coming out of the north. The Redwings had moved on this morning with just the odd one passing over during the morning.
On the main lake 15 Tufted Ducks were feeding together and 5 Pochard were close by. On Fingers there were at least 24 Gadwall, 6 Teal and 3 Wigeon. A Kingfisher was also seen flying over east Fingers. A single Skylark and a Fieldfare passed over as I looped around Fingers. I also spotted 78 Starlings heading south west as I headed down the east side of the main lake. There was nothing new on the main lake although the Tufted Ducks were still present, the Pochard seemed to have left. A single Common Gull was seen again along with the usual Black-headed Gulls.
At 10am I joined the volunteer group and we cleared a large section of the Sheep Pen. Well done and thanks to everyone who helped out today.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
We saw EG in the Rough ringing or at least standing around with the nets up. He'd had hardly anything all morning and the next check of the nets came up blank. We did have 5 Siskins over, towards the crescent, as we stood around chatting. A male Sparrowhawk also passed through without success. Seems the Rough was not the place to be for catching birds this morning.
Highlight of the morning was 9 Corn Buntings leaving the roost in the crescent reed bed at about 08:15. They headed north east over east Fingers.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Several new information boards have sprung up around the park including one by the Crescent. Personally I'm looking forward to seeing a Marsh Harrier over the reed bed :-)
We continued along the east side of the Finger Lakes and had 4 Skylarks over west. A couple of parties of Redwings moved through south during the morning, numbering ~20. Occasional Meadow Pipits also moved through unseen. We had a brief stop at the Kramer hide, where 11 Mallards were present with some of the males displaying to the females (6/5), the females weren't interested. Another stop along the navigation channel to check out the Cormorant roost, just 3 birds present.
Then we headed out of the park along the NR51 cycle track stopping on the bridge in the hope of Kingfisher. After a short wait I heard a Kingfisher coming down the navigation channel. It circled the reed bed and came up the back river and perched on a reed briefly where all but one of our group had good views before it flew off downstream. One of the group had been across the other side of the bridge looking up stream, missing the action. Fortunately a few minutes later a second bird arrived and perched up in the Willow on the down stream side of the bridge giving all good views before it too departed downstream. While all this was going on several Grey Wagtails were flying about over our heads with one perching on the side of the bridge briefly. There seemed to be quite a few about today with more seen over 100 Acre later.
We continued out along the cycle path and turned off at Meadow Lane GP where we had a Herring Gull and a LBB Gull in the same scope view, providing a good chance to compare and contrast. There was a second LBB Gull along with a good number of BH Gulls and the resident Coots.
We had a look around the big lake on 100 Acre but failed to find any waders. There were a couple of Little Grebes and a Great Crested Grebe. At the north end of the big lake were a number of Carrion Crows feeding along the north edge of the lake. A couple of Jackdaws flew over then I spotted a Common Buzzard which gained height and drifted north over the Elms Industrial Estate. A little later we spotted a second Buzzard a little further down the river towards Castle Mill. We continued across 100 Acre and at the newly planted field, on the left of the cycle track there were 16 Lapwings along with a small roost of BH Gulls and a single LBB Gull. As we continued around the field a 50+ party of Starlings flew in and settled on the overhead lines. Later they spit and about 20 went over the bypass and the rest dropped into the field with the Lapwings. We saw small parties of Goldfinch all around 100 Acre and as we headed back along the cycle track a party of Long-tailed Tits were moving through the shrubs over the old bridge at Meadow Lane.
Back in the park and as we reached the overflow car park a Green Woodpecker flushed from the grass and perched on one of the low posts around the car park giving excellent views in the scope so we were able to identify it as a male. After that we made it back to the car park and the end of the walk. Another excellent walk with some good sightings. The next bird walk is Sunday 27th November at 9am.
A couple of Pied Wagtails were hanging around the Visitor Centre as I waited for people to arrive before the walk this morning.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Saturday, October 08, 2011
The following images are from previous visits.
This Wood Pigeon was perched up nicely on an Alder branch in the Crescent producing a pleasing portrait.
This Snipe was on the edge of the island on the big lake on 100 Acre. Unfortunately it didn't sit tight so I only managed this long distance shot.
This amused me and brought to mind the phrase "Like shooting fish in a barrel"!
And finally a lovely sunrise photo over East Fingers. I could have done with being a few minutes earlier to catch the best lighting conditions but this one wasn't too bad.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Fingers was a little quiet but Gadwall, Little Grebe and Kingfisher were all seen. DK departed on his usual loop while myself and JA wandered along the Navigation Channel. We watched a couple of Chiffchaffs before being distracted by a Jay flying up the NC toward the Canoe Slalom. Six Greylag Geese flew in over the main lake and did a couple of circuits before five of them returned north. Kramer hide was very quiet with just a handful of Mallards in residence.
Next up was 100 Acre. With the usual minimal returns from the small lake, just a Swan and a Little Grebe, and a seemingly quiet big lake it looked like a strikeout then John spotted a small flock of birds at the far side of the big lake. We cut across the field by Meadow Lane GP where the usual Coots and a couple of Tufted Ducks were in residence.
On the big lake a few Little Grebe and a Tufted Duck were spied before a Snipe on the shore of the island caught our attention, our attempt to get a little closer for a photograph ended in disappointment when the bird flushed at the last minute. Having stalked the Snipe we found the expected Pochard and Tufted Ducks right at the far end of the big lake so not all was lost.
The flock that JA had spotted earlier turned out to be Skylarks of which there were many in the meadow on the far side of the big lake. The hedge nearby held a pair of Bullfinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, among other things. The newly ploughed field before the bypass held a couple of Herons and, on closer inspection, a number of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails.
Over the bypass and it was more Skylarks with some Reed Buntings for variation. Bird of the morning was a flighty Stonechat on the perimeter of the ploughed field, opposite the Tern Pool, which perched on the top of some thistle heads for a short time before flying off alongside the bypass.
It was starting to warm up by this time so we turned and headed back across the bypass. There was little else of note other than a few more Skylarks, Mipits and Wagtails, of which there seemed to be a steady trickle south throughout the morning.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Our next stop was the Spit where a Wigeon and 2 Gadwall were seen along with the resident Mallards, Coots, Moorhens and Mute Swans.
Then we made our way along the Navigation Channel, stopping briefly at Kramer hide, before moving on to view the Cormorant roost on Kingsmead. There were a number of Cormorants on roost including both adults and juveniles but we were distracted, firstly by the squawking of a Jay in the woods and then by a Common Buzzard, drifting over the woods being harassed by a couple of Crows.
We continued along the Navigation Channel across the bridge to the STW entrance to have a look out over 100 Acre. I spotted some Pochard on the big lake so moved further along the cycle track to get a better view. The Pochard were with a few Tufted Ducks (30/11). A Kestrel flew past as we watched the ducks.
Back to the park we cut along the Woodland Walk and back into the Finger Lakes but things had gone a little quiet so we stopped back in at the Rough where EG was processing yet another batch of birds. Most of this batch were re-traps including Great Tit and Dunnock but yet another new Blackcap was ringed. We finished off the morning with a Wren before leaving EG to it and heading back to the Visitor Centre.
Many thanks to all who joined me for the walk this morning, hope to see you on the next one. Join us on the 23rd October at 9am.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Steady stream of House Martins south totalled 236 plus 29 Sand Martins and
3 Common Snipe south (first of the autumn)
1 Swift South
5 Siskins SE (first of the autumn)
3 Meadow Pipits south (first of the autumn for us)
22 Chiffchaffs, 21 Blackcaps, 2 Common Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Reed Warblers, one Willow Warbler, one Spotted Flycatcher. 55 Long-tailed Tits included a single party of 32.
JA and myself also had ~30 Pochard on 100 Acre big lake. While scanning the lakes 80+ Starlings came into a Hawthorn bush by the STW entrance. EG and Dave were ringing in the Rough and having a very good morning. We assisted with 20+ batch of birds that came out of the nets while we were there. I think the count was in excess of 60 birds for the morning by the time we left and they were still hard at it.
Met up with ranger Danny who showed myself and DK a bat box where 9 bats were roosting.
At the main lake hide counts for Mute Swans, Coots and Great-crested Grebes were all about normal for recent weeks.
All in all an excellent morning.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
238 new birds, 57 retraps (in brackets) of 23 species:
Wren 8 (1)
Dunnock 6 (6)
Robin 6 (7)
Blackbird 10 (8)
Song Thrush 8 (1)
Sedge Warbler 1 (0)
Reed Warbler 24 (1)
Whitethroat 25 (6)
Lesser Whitethroat 2 (0)
Garden Warbler 19 (2)
Blackcap 91 (8)
Chiff Chaff 2 (3)
Willow Warbler 2 (1)
Blue Tit 8 (5)
Great Tit 6 (3)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (1)
Chaffinch 3 (0)
Goldfinch 10 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Bullfinch 4 (3)
Treecreeper 0 (1)
Sparrowhawk 1 (0)
Wood Pigeon 1 (0)
We'll start with the standout total for Blackcap. This site has always been good for Blackcaps - more Blackcaps have been ringed than just about all other species in the park. The total above includes birds caught outside the CES. On Saturday 27th August I caught 26 Blackcaps (the majority new and the majority male). These birds must have moved on and another lot moved in as by the following Wednesday (31st August) I caught 30 Blackcaps (only one retrap from the weekend and only because it's from a late brood & not ready to go yet).
Above: Female Blackcap
Above: Male Blackcap
Above: This bag contains a big living ball of feathers (see below)!
Above: A Wood Pigeon (the big ball of feathers).
Above: A Lesser Whitethroat. This bird represents one of two ringed on 27th August. This species used to be more regular in the park but there have been very few records this year. I assume therefore that these two birds (juveniles) were migrating through the park (we would likely have caught the adults & juveniles earlier if they had bred).
Above: Normally seen in the skys above & normally too good at airobatics to be caught. This juvenile Sparrowhawk is obviously still learning then!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
DK headed back towards the Steps as myself and JA headed along the navigation channel. I spotted a Kingfisher over the main lake zipping passed the east side fishing swims as I looked back over my shoulder! It was quiet at Kramer hide but at the viewpoint across Kingsmead the Cormorant roost was quite busy with 20 birds in attendance. JA spotted a Sparrowhawk overhead as we headed up to the STW.
We were disappointed to see that 100 Acre had been cut again. This has removed most of the Teasels and Thistles which would have been the Winter food source for Goldfinches and Linnets, so I guess we won't be seeing many of those this winter. I just can't see why this area wasn't left wild for the winter.
Still on 100 Acre the big lake had a small party 6-8 Pochards at the far end and ~12 Tufted Ducks near end by the cycle track. At least 2 Little Grebe were also spotted. Back up by the STW a Kingfisher was heard over 100 Acre, cutting across towards the river. At the bridge I spotted a Sedge Warbler in the fallen Willow on the river by the STW. There was a flock of ~30 Goldfinch around the STW entrance.
Back in the park, at the Rough, EG was ringing as part of the final CES session of the year. He already had 20+ birds when we arrived so not a bad morning although we didn't prove to be lucky charms as he only had 2 from the nets during our stay. Of more interest was the aerial display provided by a Hobby hunting Swifts over the New Meadow. A truly spectacular display provided fruitless for the Hobby as all the Swifts managed to keep away from those talons. EG mentioned that a couple of Jays had been noisy neighbours earlier in the morning.
The only other thing of note was the colour ringed Common Tern we came across int he south west corner of the main lake. Blue over white on the left leg and the metal ring over white on the right leg. This was one of Mark Thomas' birds from Broom, hopefully more information to come on that one.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
At the Finger lakes we headed along the Spit, stopping occasionally, to check out the ducks. Most of these were Mallards, with males in various stages of eclipse plumage. There was also a single Gadwall over by the Dead Seat. The Shoveler that had been around earlier could not be found. The Moorhen with the one remaining youngster was still adding weed to a new nest. Coot and Grey Heron were also present.
We continued around the Crescent where a calling Chiffchaff proved impossible to spot through the foliage and more Reed Warblers were calling in the reed bed.
It was quiet along the navigation channel and at Kramer hide so next stop was Kingsmead where we watched the ~10 Cormorants roosting on the far side with another trying to join the roost but failing to select an appropriate branch on a couple of occasions. I don't know whether the others were laughing at it or disagreeing with it's arrival.
Moving on to the Sedgewick seat we had excellent views of a couple of Treecreepers moving up the trunk of one of the large Willows. A party of Tits also moved through the canopy. We took a look around the Rough where birds were numerous but hard to get a look at. Goldfinch, C. Whitethroat, Blackcap were all heard and/or seen. On exiting the Rough a Great-spotted Woodpecker was calling but as we attempted to track it down it went quiet so we didn't get a look at it.
We headed back to the car park taking in the hedgerows around the back of the Visitor Centre but failed to add anything new to our list.
Many thanks to all who joined me on the walk this morning, next one is Sunday September 25th at 9am.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
At Fingers three Gadwalls were present and 2 Shovelers were also in the mix with the Mallards. The Moorhen with the single remaining youngster appeared to be building a new nest but may have just been making good to the old one. A Treecreeper was also spotted along the Spit and Kingfisher was heard.
There were a number of Chiffchaffs calling around Fingers and Blackcaps were also heard ticking. Plenty of Reed Warblers were also flitting about across the Spit and alongside the main path. Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers were also seen and heard. Juvenile Sparrowhawk was also heard although hard to pin down the location it seemed to be from the far side of Kingsmead.
On 100 Acre there was nothing at all on the small lake and little on the big lake although a single Common Sandpiper, at least 6 Little Grebe and a male Pochard kept us interested. Goldfinch are also coming together into larger groups with 20+ on the east side of the big lake. There are plenty of Teasels to keep them going through the autumn.
Back in the park Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were both heard singing in the south west corner of the main lake and 4 Mistle Thrush flew over south as we headed up the west side of the lake. Greenfinch were also present as normal in this area.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
On Fingers the female Shoveler was present again. The Mute Swan family were cruising around and a few Mallards were also present. A single noisy young Moorhen was being fed by one of the adults, no other youngsters were seen.
Still a few Warblers about with at least one Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaffs, including one singing individual on the south east side of the main lake. Plenty of Reed Warblers flitting between the reeds and the Willows. I didn't venture into the Rough today as it seemed pretty quiet, the same being said for the walk from there to the Sedgewick seat.
14 Cormorants were in the trees on the far side of Kingsmead, a couple of Herons were also on Kingsmead and a couple of Green Woodpeckers flew across towards the Cormorants followed by a noisy get together. A Kingfisher was also heard across the other side of Kingsmead further up stream.
Half a dozen Goldfinch kept me company along the west side of the main lake with the odd Dunnock and Robin putting in an appearance.
Just a handful of Canada Geese on the main lake this morning and about 14 Common Terns. When I arrived back at the VC 3 Swifts were buzzing about overhead.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Please look after our park.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Down in the southwest corner a Heron was found and Reed Warblers were active in the reed bed.
We continued down to the River and headed east with little of interest until we had passed the Leat Pool when a familiar piping call gave away the presence of a Kingfisher. I managed to locate it and pointed it out to the group as it passed up stream.
After the excitement of the Kingfisher we cut back into the park with little of note until we reached Fingers. In the Crescent Reed Warblers were active in the reed bed and a second Kingfisher gave a brief view as it flashed past one of the fishing swims on east Fingers.
On the Spit we scanned the ducks on west Fingers for anything out of the ordinary but just the usual Mallards with all the males in eclipse plumage. A Green Woodpecker was spotted in the dead branches high over the Dead Seat. Excellent scope views were obtained before our attention was switched to the GC Grebes on east Fingers. We had good views of one of the Adults and a juvenile in the scope allowing us to compare and contrast.
We continued around Fingers with a Blue-tailed Damselfly by the Steps, various warblers along the edge of the Rough and a couple of Treecreepers in the Willows opposite the Sedgewick Seat. The overcast conditions and strengthening breeze kept the numbers of Butterflies and Dragonflies down which was a little disappointing.
We headed back, around the north side of the New Meadow, to the car park, picking out various common birds via song or call on the way.
We finished back at the car park having had most of the expected species. Join us for the next walk at 8am on Sunday 21st August.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Keeping up the recent run of Kingfisher sightings we had one during our stop at Kramer hide and another later, on the south side, along the river at Fenlake.
There are still plenty of Warblers around although, apart from a couple of singing Blackcaps, they are quieter now making them harder to find. Several Chiffchaffs were heard calling and Treecreepers were heard along the navigation channel. Mute Swan numbers are increasing again with 30+ on the main lake this morning and the Common Terns, with this years youngsters are still making their presence known.
It's the guided walk tomorrow with another early start at 8am, see you there.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Definitely not a butterfly day today with drizzle interrupted by heavy rain. However we still managed a few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and excellent views of a Green Woodpecker, from Kramer hide, as it fed on grubs chiseled out of the dead tree. At the STW bridge we had a Kingfisher and a Mink. Back at the main lake hide in the park, as we waited out a heavier spell of rain, another Kingfisher flew out from the south side to the island and over to the west side of the lake. Great to see them a bit more often in recent weeks.
After that we made a break for the cars and made it just in time as the rain really came down on the drive home.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
BBC - Nature UK: Springwatch: Some more of Britain's barmiest nests 2011
I had seen some nest material behind the perspex bubble a few weeks earlier and was hoping we would be able to follow the progress as the Blue Tits raised their family. However the nest ended up behind picture of the people as the adult birds made another hole to get behind it. It wasn't until the young were about to leave the nest that three of the youngsters moved into the front room allowing all to see them. The day after this picture was taken the nest was empty. Still, made us smile :-)
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Totals: 29 birds of 10 species: (retraps in brackets)
Robin 6 (0) = 6 [all juveniles]
Wren 3 (1) = 4 [2 juveniles]
Reed Warbler 6 (0) = 6 [5 juveniles]
Garden Warbler 2 (0) = 2 [1 juvenile]
Blackbird 2 (1) = 3
Dunnock 3 (0) = 3 [all juveniles]
Whitethroat 2 (0) = 2 [all juveniles]
Blue Tit 1 (0) = 1 [a juvenile]
Song Thrusth 1 (0) = 1 [a juvenile]
Blackcap 1 (0) = 1
A ringing demonstration was held during the morning - the highlight of which was a Song Thrush.
CES Visit 7 (03/07/11)
Today, the new CES period started so I decided to squeeze in Visit 7 of 12. I had high hopes after my success at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve yesterday (click here for more details).
The wind was virtually non existant for once. It was very sunny to start with the second half of the session very cloudy.
In order of appearance, the totals were: 35 birds of 11 species: (reptraps in brackets)
Great Tit 1 (0) = 1 [a juvenile]
Dunnock 8 (3) = 11 [8 juveniles]
Wren 1 (1) = 1
Blackcap 5 (1) = 6 [5 juveniles]
Robin 3 (1) = 4 [all juveniles]
Chiff Chaff 4 (0) = 4 [3 juveniles]
Reed Warbler 1 (0) = 1 [a juvenile]
Whitethroat 2 (0) = 2 [1 juvenile]
Chaffinch 1 (0) = 1
Blackbird 1 (1) = 2
Bullfinch 1 (0) = 1 [a juvenile]
Above: A juvenile Bullfinch.
My high hopes didn't get realised but I have no grounds for complaint! Thanks to David Howes for helping and to DK & DB and JM (ranger) for stopping by for a chat.
Being all at sixes and sevens for the last couple of weeks, we'll be have to wait a while before we're after eight!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
From the Spit a Green Woodpecker was spotted on one of the dead branches on the west side of the Finger lakes. It was soon seen off by a territorial Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Great-crested Grebe and Mute Swan families were seen on east Fingers and the Coot families were on west Fingers. Along with plenty of Mallards, males now taking on eclipse plumage during the moult. Males in various stages of eclipse could be seen.
In the Crescent Reedbed a number of Reed Warblers were heard and seen. A Reed Bunting was also singing.
We headed along the Navigation Channel and stopped to identify the Carrion Crows and Jackdaws on Kingsmead. Also of interest were the various stages of the Ladybird which could be seen on the Nettles. A little further along the NC a Sedge Warbler was singing and showing well.
Circling around we headed back to Finger Lakes with good numbers of butterflies in the meadow before we entered by the Sedgewick Seat. Meadow Browns were most numerous along with a few Whites and Commas.
Behind the Sedgewick Seat I spotted a large dragonfly hanging from a nettle leaf, later identified as a female Emperor. It stayed put long enough to get the scope on it and everyone had a good view.
Next stop was the Rough where another CES ringing session was going on. We were just in time for EG and DH to check the nets, returning with 4 birds. Pick of the bunch was a Song Thrush. Thanks once again to EG and DH.
Not a lot else of note as we headed back to the Visitor Centre and the end of the walk.
Next bird walk is July 24th at 8am.
Not a lot else as we departed
Sunday, June 19, 2011
100 Acre was also pretty quiet, the highlight being 4 Redshanks.
EG was ringing in the Rough again and everybody ended up there. Myself and JA missed out on the Marsh Tit that was caught and ringed, as we were still back at the STW at that time. However we were in time for a bumper haul when a party of Long-tailed Tits were caught along with a handful of other birds. It was all hands on deck to get the birds processed and released as quickly as possible. As the Long-tailed Tits were a family party they were processed last and held for release together. As the ringers processed the birds I handed out rings and JA turned scribe in order to keep the capture time as short as possible. Along with DK we all released a couple of the LTTs each, at the same time so the family stayed together.
While in the Rough JA spotted a Hobby overhead and we all had good views of it's aerobatic skills as it soared and dived in search of prey. Later a Common Buzzard drifted over north east, again giving great views.
The heavy showers finally caught up with us just after we released the LTTs so having sat out the rain under the Hawthorns in the Rough we decided to call it a day and left EG to complete his ringing session.
Next Sunday is the next guided bird walk and it's an 8am start, see you there.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
JA joined me for a walk along the 100 Acre side of the river where we had a single Kingfisher heading downstream. Also 2 Redshanks, 2 Oystercatchers and a Common Buzzard.
Back to the park and alongside the Long Hedge before Fingers JA spotted a Small Skipper butterfly in the nettles, which also held any number of insects including loads of Ladybird larvae, damselflies and Scorpion Flies.
In the Rough we met up with DK and the ringers. EG was have a good mornings ringing again having just extracted another 6 birds from the nets as we arrived. While chatting we heard a Lesser Whitethroat sing briefly. Earlier EG had a Turtle Dove purring in the Rough.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Robin 4 (0) - all juveniles
Blackbird 0 (1) - fledged last year and a regular
Whitethroat 4 (0) - 3 juveniles and an adult
Chiff Chaff 5 (0) - 3 juveniles, 2 adults
Garden Warbler 1 (1) - adults of both sexes
Blackcap 5 (0) - 3 juveniles, 2 adult males
Great Tit 2 (0) - both juveniles
Blue Tit 13 (0) - 9 juveniles, 4 adults (including one in moult)
Chaffinch 2 (0) - 1 juvenile and one adult male
Dunnock 1 (2) - one juvenile and the retraps were adults
Wren 0 (1) - fledged last year
Long Tailed Tits 3 (0) - 3 juveniles
Coal Tit 1 (0) - a juvenile and only the second of this species ringed at Priory
Green Woodpecker 1 (0) - an adult male
Very good totals for this site.
Above: This juvenile Coal Tit is only the 2nd bird of this species ringed here (the first being in September 2010).
Above: A Green Woodpecker (my bird of the day).
For more info (including more photographs) of these birds and other sessions, please click here.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Fox was on Kingsmead, almost hidden in the long grass. It was getting a hard time from a group of Crows, one of which carried a stick over towards the Fox and dropped it close to it! I have read and seen Crows using tools and dropping snails and the like from a height onto hard surfaces to break them open, but weapons!
The Stoat shot across the path in front of me as I walked along the north side of Fingers towards the Rough.
Very windy again this morning but all the regulars were about, Cettis Warbler and Cuckoo both heard. At the STW reed bed a very agitated Wren was standing guard over a tiny fledgling. Reed and Sedge Warbler heard here also. Good views of a singing Sedge Warbler were had on the south side of the main lake where it perched in a small Willow between a couple of the fishing swims. A single Sand Martin was seen, earlier, along the navigation channel. Still plenty of family parties of Tits around the park, given away by there calling youngsters.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Sunday 15th May: 21 birds of 14 species (retraps in brackets)
Blackbird 0 (2)
Wren 0 (1)
Whitethroat 1 (0)
Great Tit 0 (2)
Dunnock 0 (2)
Sedge Warbler 1 (0)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Robin 1 (0) - our first juvenile of the year
Blackcap 3 (0)
Bullfinch 1 (0)
Chiff Chaff 1 (0)
Garden Warbler 3 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Cetti's Warbler 0 (1)
Sunday 22nd May: 26 birds of 9 species (retraps in brackets)
Blackcap 5 (1) - the retrap being first ringed in 2004!
Dunnock 2 (3) - including 1 juvenile
Wren 0 (1)
Robin 2 (0) - both juveniles
Garden Warbler 3 (0)
Reed Warbler 1 (0)
Great Tit 1 (2)
Bullfinch 1 (1)
Blue Tit 3 (0) - all 3 juveniles
In the car park we checked out the automatic toilet, a strange choice for a birding walk you may think, but the fledgling Blue Tits, photographed yesterday, had gone. All those lovely nest boxes around the park and they choose the toilet!!
Next walk is Sunday 26th June at 8am. Yes that is correct 8am not the usual 9am, we are running the summer walks an hour earlier as it usually goes a bit quiet by the time the walk starts otherwise. See you there.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I headed down to Meadow Lane, with JA, to check for the Nightingale which was persuaded to sing with a little help from my iPod! I played the Nightingale song on my iPod in the area we had heard the bird last week and sure enough it started singing.
We also checked out the island on the 100 Acre big lake. The Coots on the pond still have 2 youngsters which are looking quite chunky now. Common Terns are looking quite interested in the island with at least one looking like it was sitting on a nest. A pair of Redshanks and odd Lapwings were also present on the island. Tufted Ducks were also present.
We watched a Kestrel hunting over 100 Acre, and it dropped onto something, wrestled with it for a moment, then flew directly to a tree on Riverside. As it arrived at said tree a second Kestrel shot out, there was a brief scuffle (presumably the food pass) and both disappeared.
We checked out the tree when we got back to Riverside but could not see any obvious nest although we did not get too close and the foliage was quite dense.
We continued, on Riverside, along the Cut and had a single Buzzard high over head, being buzzed by a couple of House Martins.
Back at the car park the usual Willow Warbler was singing in it's regular spot and the Blue Tits were visiting their nest in the automatic toilet sign. Unfortunately they have a hole into the back of the sign so we cannot see any of the action.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
As I headed down the main path to join up with DK and JA 3 noisy Oystercatchers flew in and continued their chase across the main lake. 3 Sand Martins headed from main lake over the Rough, we didn't spot any visiting the artificial nests on the island but DK had seen them there the previous day.
The Cettis was still present along the Spit, again ranging across to the Rough, singing regularly. On the Spit JA and DK were watching a Garden Warbler that was singing high up in one of the Willows. From the end swim both Coot and Great-crested Grebe were still on their respective nests but a new nest in one of reed beds, over the back, contained up to 5 Coot chicks. Not sure where this nest came from as none of us had seen it until today. It looked fairly minimal so maybe the adults had had to move nest sites and this was just a platform to keep the chicks safe until they are a little larger.
Reports of Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler in the Meadow Lane area in recent days had myself and JA heading over there. We managed to connect with the Nightingale which sang a couple of bursts but not giving it's full song. The hunt for a Gropper goes on as we failed on that front.
As we headed back along the cycle track a Redshank was heard calling from the big lake on 100 acre. There was little else of note on 100 Acre this week.
Back in the park, no Gropper over on the south side opposite Fenlake, plenty of singing Sedge Warblers though. That was about it, just another heavy shower for a soaking before we reached our cars again.
On Sunday I joined the volunteer group to finish off the fence and gate we started last month. Early rain had moved through and the sun was out all day with a strong wind whipping across the lake, to keep the temperature down a little. Everybody worked really hard setting the rest of the fence posts and hanging the gate and we managed to complete the task by mid afternoon. Well done to everyone.
Highlight of the day was a mass emergence of Damselflies which seemed to take a liking to our bags which were piled by the edge of the lake. At lunch we watched several emerge from their larval stage, drying out and then, just as the wind dropped, all taking to the air simultaneously. When I say all actually there were a lot of casualties as the local Starlings, House Sparrows and Chaffinches took advantage of an easy meal, departing back to their nests with beaks crammed full of unfortunate damselflies that didn't quite make the grade.
Didn't spot the Black Tern which DK had earlier in the morning but there was a lot of disturbance on the main lake with the sailing and wind surfing so it had probably moved on.
Next volunteer task is on Sunday 5th June so why not come along.