Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guilded Walk - 25/03/2012

Just 6 on the guided walk this morning, probably due to the clocks going forward one hour last night and the foggy conditions. Amazingly when I arrived just after 7am there was virtually no fog and visibility was excellent. This state of affairs was maintained until 7:55am when the fog started rolling in and 10 minutes later there was nothing to be seen! I met up with DK for a quick scout around, not much to write home about but still 6 Gadwalls on Fingers, DK had already had a pair of Shoveler on the main lake. We met up with EG who was having a short break from a slow start ringing in the Rough. We all headed around to the Rough and EG checked the nets, returning with a mixed bag of Tits and a Blackbird.

I departed to pick up the group for the guided walk and we hadn't gone far when an Oystercatcher dropped in on the meadow by the main lake, giving good views for everyone. Further along the main path and we had our first singing Chiffchaff over by the Labyrinth followed, soon after, by another in the Rough by the main path. Then I heard a Blackcap singing and we tracked it down to the edge of the Rough at the bottom of the Steps. The bird was singing strongly and finally spotted by one of the group allowing all of us to get good views. It was joined in the same tree by a Chiffchaff. Then I spotted EG who had walked down to let me know he had a Treecreeper and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the bag so we hurried round to the Rough to see them.

The Treecreeper was a little stunner, easily overlooked as another LBJ but actually at close quarters it is exquisitely patterned. Another beauty was the female Great Spot, great to see in the hand. A complete contrast in size with the Treecreeper weighing in at just over 7 grams while the Great Spot tipped the scales at just over 70. While EG was processing the birds 4 Sand Martins buzzed overhead, heading west. The next net round and EG returned with a Blackcap. This was turning into a really good day. While this chap was being processed another was heard singing (Sheep Pen?). There were at least 2 and possibly 3 Chiffchaffs singing around the edge of the Rough.

We left EG to the ringing and headed out of the Rough picking up a pair of Bullfinches in the Sheep Pen almost immediately. A Chiffchaff was showing well in one of the Poplars along the edge of the Sheep Pen and yet another one was down by the Sedgewick Seat. We continued through the Woodland Walk which had it's share of the common park birds and another Chiffchaff at the north end. We also had good views of a Song Thrush at the north end.

On to the STW bridge where a pair of Reed Buntings were active. Then a pair of Grey Wagtails were seen on the back river, using the fallen Willow as a perch. We failed to connect with the hoped for Kingfisher here. Back in the park and there was a pair of Greylag Geese on Kings Mead, a single Cormorant in the roost tree and a single Stock Dove close by. At least one Sand Martin flew over east as we looked at the Stock Dove.  At Kramer hide the Mute Swan was on the nest as was a Coot. A female Teal was seen off by another Coot and a male Teal could be seen through the gap.

We continued along the navigation channel and around the main lake on the south side. I heard a Kingfisher calling at the Cardington Spillway but the bird flew, spotted by one of the group, before we could get around to view it. We cut down to the river anyway but were too late as we thought. Along the river another Blackcap was singing opposite the Bedford Boat Club moorings. A brief stop at Fenlake Meadows but nothing of note so we cut back through to the main lake where yet another Chiffchaff was singing. By this time the boats were out on the lake so little to see on there. It was pretty quiet for the rest of the walk except for a Redshank calling   (main lake island?) while we were behind the sailing club.

So a pretty good morning, many thanks to EG for the ringing demo and three excellent species seen in hand. The next walk is Sunday April 29th at 9am. Meet at the visitor centre.
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