Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Week

What a difference a year makes. This time last year we had a lot of snow, temperatures below freezing day and night and ice covering all of the lakes excepting a small area kept open, on the main lake, by the Swans. This week we have temperatures into double figures during the day and not even a night time frost!

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.

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