Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guided Walk - Sunday 30th December

Well after all the rain throughout the holiday period and wide spread flooding around the park we really landed on our feet yesterday with the weather, and the flood water had receded enough to make all areas of the park accessible. It's still very wet and muddy off the main path so if you are planning a visit wellies are still your best option.

7 people turned out for the guided walk, including Ranger Jane. We started off along the main path but with a cutting wind blowing across the main lake straight into our faces we kept time here to a minimum. Just a quick stop on the dipping platform for a look at the Pochards and the Tufted Ducks.

Along the Spit west Fingers was pretty quiet with just a Grey Heron. At least one Treecreeper was calling towards the end of the Spit and was associating with a party of Long-tailed Tits.

At the Beach we stopped for a quick scan of the main lake, the Slavonian Grebe hadn't been seen for a few days but you never know your luck, no sign though, amazing how it managed to remain unseen on the previous guided walk day and then departed just before this one!

We moved off down the east side of the Fingers and I spotted a Little Grebe tucked under the trees on the east side of the Spit. A single Great Crested Grebe has taken up residence on Fingers and was also giving good views, albeit in winter plumage.

A call from DK had us hurrying back to the beach for some good scope views of 3 Goosanders that had just flown in. A single male with a couple of red heads. Then it was down to Kramer hide, usually pretty quiet in recent months, but today Teals, Shovelers, Little Grebes and a Grey Heron were all showing well.

Kings Mead was a bit disappointing with none of the hoped for Pied Wagtails around the flood water so we continued on to 100 Acre where a Kestrel was very confiding, perched up on the overhead cables. Canada and Greylag Geese were grazing at the north end of the big lake. We moved along the cycle track and had a look at a couple of pairs of Gadwall on the big lake before moving on down to Meadow Lane GP. As expected not much to see on the lake, just a few Coots and 4 Tufted Ducks but while we stood there a Common Buzzard flew into view, flushed a Pheasant and then perched up on the hedge along the back of the  lake. Everyone had good views through the scope before it departed.

We headed back to the park passing the Kestrel on the overhead lines on the way. I planned to cut through the Woodland Walk and across the New Meadow, back to the Visitor Centre but the steps into the Woodland Walk were under water so we ended up following the Long Hedge back into Fingers and stopped at the gate to the Rough where I heard Bullfinch calls. We hung around scanning the Rough but were only treated to the briefest of views a Bullfinch flew from cover, over our heads and into the Sheep Pen. A Kestrel was also seen briefly over the Rough. We continued back to the Visitor Centre, getting brief views of another Bullfinch at the exit from Fingers.

Several small parties of Redwings were seen throughout the morning, good numbers compared to recent days.

So a really good morning with some good sightings and weather, something I hadn't expected earlier in the week. The next guided bird walk is on Sunday the 27th January, meet at 9am outside the Visitor Centre.

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