Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday 29th October

It was pretty quiet in the park this morning with little visible sign of migration although Redwings were in evidence as was a single Fieldfare in the dead tree by the bridge at the STW. Most of the winter ducks were present with Gadwall being the biggest group with 15 on the main lake and a couple on Fingers. Also present were 3 Wigeons including a spanking male and 3 Tufted ducks per JA. From Kramer hide we could hear Teals bleating no sign of any Shoveler around the park though. Pochards were present on 100 acre with ~30 and a single Tufted duck  on the big lake. There were a couple of big Goldfinch flocks about ~70 and ~30 around the Meadow Lane GP.

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

Guided Walk 23/10/2011

Just 4 takers for the guided walk today, in overcast and windy conditions, quite warm though. We started off along the main path stopping to watch a party of Cormorants fishing on the main lake. There were 20+ Cormorants around the lake in total with 12+ in the fishing party. Another stop on the main lake dipping platform and we had Pochard, Wigeon and Gadwall in the scope for everyone to see. We moved on to the Finger Lakes and along the Spit where we had better views of Gadwall in the scope. Our presence put the Gadwall to flight (20+ in total) and they continued to circle overhead until we moved on. A Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling at the north end of Fingers and the Mute Swan family were together on east Fingers.

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.