Sunday, May 08, 2011

This weekend in the park (7th/8th May)

On Saturday it was a rather wet start, the first rain we have had for several weeks. It didn't seem to bother the birds though with all the usual suspects present and correct.

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.