Monday, March 12, 2012

A busy weekend...

... started off at the park early Saturday morning. Met up with DK and checked out the Finger Lakes. The Great Crested Grebe has found a mate this week and DK said they had built a next but a pair of Coots have now taken ownership! A couple of male Shovelers were doing the rounds along with a few Gadwalls. A party of 10 Tufted Ducks were on east Fingers. DK saw a Weasel along the Spit before I arrived.

After checking out the Crescent we headed along the Navigation Channel where we had good views of a couple of Kingfishers chasing up and down and across Kings Mead. We continued up towards the STW bridge and JA joined us and told us he'd spotted a Water Rail in the Crescent, you can't win them all!

Up to the bridge and DK spotted a Jay flying across to Riverside. A Kingfisher was buzzing about on the back river.

We continued onto 100 Acre where there were a good variety of ducks but just small numbers. Little Grebes were also present. We flushed a couple of Redshank from the east side of the big lake and a couple of Oystercatchers did a circuit in their usual noisy manner. At least 6 Meadow Pipits were in the hedge line to the south of the bay on the big lake. We cut across to the crop field, by the bypass, in search of geese and found a small party of Greylags and the five Egyptians that have been reported regularly in recent weeks. There was no sign of the Pink Foot, then a party of Greylags flew over from Willington and there was the Pink Foot in amongst them. Skylarks were seemingly everywhere. A Kestrel put up c50 Goldfinch as it crossed 100 Acre.

We cut along the edge of the crop field back to Meadow Lane GP and found 2 Oystercatchers (the same 2?). There was little else of note on the lake so we headed back to the park.

At the Rough we found the highlight of the morning, the first Chiffchaff of the year, singing away, it must be Spring. Back to the main path and a circuit of the main lake took in the Canoe Slalom for the usual Grey Wagtail. We failed to connect with the over wintering Stonechat on Fenlake Meadows this week and there was little else of note, just Black-headed Gulls a few Common Gulls and a couple of Teal.

The usual mix of Tits, Finches, Robins and Blackbirds along the west side of the main lake and it was back to the sightings board to update with the star of the day, the Chiffchaff.

In the afternoon it was up to Mowsbury Hillfort NR with the Friends Group volunteers for some pruning of the apple trees and a bit more scrub clearance. Of note on a circuit of the reserve, before the others arrived, was a Common Buzzard, a Bullfinch and a Muntjac. After the task was complete I took the group on a short guided bird walk and along with the more common species a Treecreeper and 3 Lapwing, in the fields on the north side, were added to the list.

On to Sunday morning and the monthly survey at Putnoe Wood. Details as follows:

Blackbird 4
Blue Tit 21
Carrion Crow 21
Chaffinch 7
Coal Tit 2
Wren 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3
Great Tit 12
Green Woodpecker 2
Jackdaw 16
Magpie 6
Nuthatch 2
Robin 10
Treecreeper 2
Woodpigeon 20
Goldfinch 2
Long-tailed Tit 6
Stock Dove 2
Redwing 10
Chiffchaff 1
Dunnock 1
Bullfinch 2
Song Thrush 1

Again the star bird was a singing Chiffchaff, just like buses, none for ages and then 2 come along at once (well the same weekend)!

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