Saturday, October 01, 2011

Saturday 1st October

Another glorious day, one of many in this late summer sizzle. I arrived a little late and missed the duck course, JA and DK already having had Wigeon, Pochard and Gadwall on the main lake. They were only half way along the main path! A large group of Cormorants was just flying in as I joined JA and DK and we were up to at least 24 by the time we left the main lake.

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

Guided Walk - Sunday 25th September

There was a really good turnout for the guided walk with 11 people joining me this morning. We started off by heading across to the Rough where EG was ringing. Having left him a few minutes earlier I knew he had a good catch and would most likely still have some left to show the group. He had a Bullfinch in hand when we arrived and having processed that he let it go along with 2 others processed earlier as they were a probable family group. Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Dunnock followed and then it was off to check the nets again. Ed explained how the birds are caught using a bag as the bird and then we left him to it as he extracted the next batch of birds.

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.