Sunday, April 17, 2011

Guided Walk 17/04/2011

It's been a busy couple of weekends at the park with all the migrants arriving and volunteer day last Sunday and a guided walk today. Last weekend I managed to connect with the Reed Warbler which had arrived on the 8th, making it the earliest recorded Reed Warbler by a week! On the Sunday I joined the volunteers in starting to put up a fence at the duck feeding area. The day turned very warm but we managed to get all the posts in despite some very hard ground, and they even look quite straight and level!

This weekend more spring migrants arrived, notably the first Whitethroats along the cycle track by the sewerage works (STW).

Today it was the latest guided walk with 4 people joining me to check out the new arrivals. First up we headed down to the main lake to check out the Common Terns which have been arriving over the last couple of weeks. Just half a dozen this morning but several giving good scope views, perched on the buoys. Not a lot else of note on the main lake so we headed back to the car park to find the Willow Warbler that seems to be a permanent fixture in the surrounding scrub the last couple of weeks. Sure enough there it was in it's favourite tree giving us it's full song and great views. We then cut across the New Meadow stopping to watch a handsome singing Dunnock and then 2 Whitethroats by the Labyrinth.

On to the Rough and we were greeted by a singing Chiffchaff. As we wandered around the Rough there were several Blackcaps singing or ticking, a very nice singing Goldfinch, more Chiffies and some Bullfinch were heard along the north side. Back by the gate a Reed Warbler could be heard chuntering quietly behind the round house which has now acquired a partially thatched roof.

We moved on to the Dead Seat heard the Cettis Warbler give a blast over on the Spit. A Speckled Wood butterfly looked cracking in the sunlight back over by the Rough. As we moved down to the Steps Blackcaps and Chiffchaff were heard and another Speckled Wood was seen.

Along the main path a Reed Warbler was heard in the main lake reed bed but we failed to spot it as it remained tucked in the reeds behind a small Willow. Another was singing in the Crescent reed bed along with a Sedge Warbler. The Cettis gave a several more blasts of song as we walked around the Crescent and a spanking male Reed Bunting gave great views. One of the Fingers Great Crested Grebes was trying to swallow a fish that was much too big, 10 out of 10 for effort though!

Despite several more blasts from the Cettis we failed spot it. They have an amazing knack of slipping past you despite several pairs of eyes looking out for them. Anyway another 2 Reed Warblers were chuntering about half way along the Spit. From the end fishing swim we watched a Coot continuing it's nest building and then we watched the Grebes as they greeted each other at their nest. A couple of Red-eared Terrapins were out sunbathing on the usual fallen tree.

We continued around Fingers stopping briefly at Kramer Hide where a Muntjac was dozing down by the waters edge. Then it was off to 100 Acre for some waders but we stopped on the old railway bridge to listen to a couple of Sedge Warblers without the confusion of a nearby singing Reed Warbler.

Along the cycle track by the STW a couple of singing Whitethroats were doing battle. Meadow Lane GP held a handful of Tufted Ducks and a few Coots. The stars of the show today were Redshanks and Lapwings on the big lake on 100 Acre. I could have stood there all day listing to the calls and song of the Redshanks and watching the displaying Lapwings tumbling in flight and calling. A Coot on the pond at the end of the island already has at least 2 young but is still sitting on the nest so probably more to come. Couldn't spot an Oycestercatcher today but as we turned to go a Common Buzzard glided high overhead with a Gull giving it some grief.

We finished with a walk back along the Cut, bagging several more Blackcaps and Chiffies and the Willow Warbler was still singing when I arrived back at the car park. A very enjoyable walk with pretty much all the expected species seen or heard. No Garden Warbler or Cuckoo yet, still need to keep something in hand for the next walk.

Other butterflies seen were Tortoiseshell, White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Holly Blue and Comma.

Next guided walk is the Dawn Chorus at 04:30 on the 1st of May followed by the late spring walk at 09:00 on the 22nd May. See you there.