Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday 07/07/2012

Well we are getting into that quiet time of the share for the birds. Many have completed breeding and are into their moults and therefore keeping quiet and hidden away as much as possible. Others are still singing and probably trying for second or third broods. With all the rain this summer it's been a very poor year for insects and this appears to have had a knock on effect on the breeding success of the birds as many also seem to be having a poor year. We'll get a feel for the winners and losers over the next few weeks as the ringers continue with the CES sessions.

The good news is that a female Cuckoo has been heard over the last month and was again this morning (per EG). Highlights of the morning were a Hobby hawking for insects over the big lake on 100 Acre and a Lesser Whitethroat singing in the car park as we were leaving. The Great Crested Grebes on the Finger Lakes have hatched out 3 youngsters which can be seen on the back of one or other adult. Another surprise was the three GCG youngsters found on the main lake! These guys were a little more advanced than the Finger Lakes young and were swimming alongside one of the adults. DK thinks they were probably from a nest near the main lake hide but they had remained hidden from view until today. This is the first time I have seen Great Crested Grebes successfully hatch out any young on the main lake. Until last year I hadn't seen any nesting attempts on the main lake so this is really good news.

I paid a visit to Mowsbury Hillfort, late morning, and by this time the sun was out and the butterflies were flying. Ringlets were quite numerous as were Meadow Browns. There were also several Marbled Whites about. Highlight here was a Nuthatch heard around the edge of the orchard.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Volunteers in the park

I joined the volunteer group in the park again today and we were back on the south side of the main lake repairing on the of the fishing swims. We are reusing some timber, reclaimed from the recent Environment Agency work at Cardington Lock, to replace rotten timbers that make up the fishing swims. Quite a small turnout again this month so just a single swim was completed. Well done to everyone who turned out and special thanks to Alan, and his mum, for the chocolate cake which fueled our efforts today.

There has been little change with the bird life around the park although a brood of Tufted Ducks has appeared which is the first time they have bred in the park since 1986 (per DK). They most likely nested on the main lake island and were first seen on the main lake. More recently they have moved onto the Finger Lakes where they can often be seen. This morning there were six youngsters with the adult female, down from 9.

A Common Buzzard was spotted high over the New Meadow with a couple of Corvids in attendance just after lunchtime today.

A trip up to Mowsbury Hillfort NR yesterday morning proved a good move for Butterfly watching as Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown Marbled White and Large Skipper were all recorded in the courtyard. There are still good numbers of Common Spotted Orchids here also but many have now gone past their best, still worth a look if you get a chance though.

If you would like to join the volunteer group for the next volunteer session check out the volunteer programme here or contact the rangers for details. We're a friendly group and whatever time you can spare would be much appreciated by all. Come on get stuck in!