Monday, June 25, 2012

Guided Walk - Sunday 24/06/12

It was the first early start of the summer (8am) and a bit damp just make it even less appealing. That said there were 4 takers for the walk so we set off around the car park hedges in heavy drizzle. 

The first bird of note was a Common Whitethroat singing strongly by the over flow car park. A few glimpses were all we were afforded as the bird sensibly kept under cover but it continued to sing strongly until we left. We cut across the New Meadow towards the Finger Lakes and had a singing Blackcap on the way. There were good numbers of Swifts overhead but few if any hirundines. 

We stopped off under the cover of some trees by the edge of the Rough as the rain got a little heavier. I was hoping for a Garden Warbler in a known territory but it failed to sing so we continued towards the Sedgewick Seat. Jackdaws are quite numerous around the Finger Lakes, roosting between raids on the recently cut Kingsmead. A stop overlooking Kingsmead only added Carrion Crow to the list.

Continuing downstream along the Navigation Channel we came across a Sedge Warbler singing well but again struggled to get a good luck as it kept it's head down in the Willow. At the STW reed bed a single Sedge Warbler was a little more confiding before it disappeared into the reeds.

We walked around to the bridge but just before we got there a Garden Warbler was heard so we stopped to listen and a Blackcap began singing on the other side of the path. We took the opportunity to compare and contrast the 2 songsters and their notoriously similar songs. The Blackcap uses a more pure whistled note, especially when it is singing strongly. Sometimes the scratchy beginning can be mistaken for Garden Warbler, but once it gets into its stride there is no mistaking it. The Garden Warbler is much more bubbly in it's delivery, the song seems to be more of a gargle than a whistle. I've often had it said to me that the Blackcap sounds like a speeded up Blackbird and I can see that, but once you have heard them both a few times the 2 are very different, particularly in structure.

On to the bridge and we had good views of some Common Terns fishing on the river and making some low passes over the bridge. In the reed bed on the north side of the bridge Reed Warblers were singing and showing well. A single House Martin was seen briefly and a Common Whitethroat was heard along the New Cut. The pair of Mute Swans on the river still have 2 cygnets, now much larger than when I last saw them.

We turned back and headed into the park but there was little of note until we reached Kramer hide, just after which a Reed Bunting was singing in a Willow next to the Navigation Channel. This bird was also elusive until Mark spotted it close to the centre of the Willow and we all had good views.

Moving on there was a Grey Heron on Kingsmead. We cut through the Crescent, where Reed Warblers were singing, and onto the Spit to have a look at the nesting Great Crested Grebes.A pair of Gadwall were also on west Fingers. I also spotted a Hobby as it flashed past on the other side of the lake but none of the group got onto it in time and the surrounding trees of the Spit prevented us seeing the bird again. Back to the main path and we headed back towards the Visitor Centre. Reed Warblers were singing in the Reeds along the edge of the main lake.

There are still good numbers of Mute Swans on the main lake (100+) and Swifts were still present in good numbers, swooping low over the main lake.

Finally we arrived back at the Visitor Centre and called it a day. The next walk is another 8am start on Sunday 29th July, let's hope for better weather, surely there can't be much more rain left up there!
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