Sunday, September 23, 2012

23rd September Guided Bird Walk

How lucky were we? Well very if we are talking in weather terms, the rain held off and although rather grey and cool it was better than wet and windy.

Five Meadow Pipits passed over the Visitor Centre heading south east although one turned and headed back the way it came.

Five people turned up for the walk this morning and having had my usual early wander around prior to the start I was a bit concerned about finding much of interest but we didn't do too badly in the end. We were fortunate right at the start when 12 of the 20 Wigeon, myself and DK had seen earlier, got up and circled the main lake with a couple of Gadwall, before departing to the north east. There were good numbers of Coot and Great Crested Grebes in front of the Visitor Centre and a single Tufted Duck mixed in. Grey Heron and Cormorant were also perched up on a couple of the buoys giving good views. A small number of Black-headed Gulls were also present.

Down at the dipping platform on the main lake we stopped and had a look at the hirundines over the north east corner of the main lake. First thing, before the walk, Swallows had dominated the counts with 40-50 present but now there seemed to be quite a few House Martins and Sand Martins with a smaller number of Swallows. Siskins were heard and sounded as if they were heading down to the Alders by the Crescent. This was the story of the morning as far as Siskins were concerned, often heard but never seen. A shame as we had seen 6 in the Alders yesterday morning.

We headed down the Spit and had good views of Gadwall, Shoveler and Wigeon as well as the usual Mallards and Moorhens. A Treecreeper was heard in the fenced off area at the end of the spit and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Buzzard and Blackcap were also heard here.

We had a good look in the Alders by the Crescent and across the navigation channel, for the Siskins, but failed to locate any.

Next up we headed down to the Steps and around to the Rough where we found 3 Teal by the dipping platform opposite the Rough gate. Again we had good views as they were stood on a branch in the water, preening. Around at the Sedgewick Seat we found a small party of Long-tailed Tits and in with those was a single Goldcrest which was not so easy to see. We continued on and as we came out of the Finger Lakes section I spotted a Hobby coming over the Long Hedge, heading across towards Kings Mead. A brief but satisfying view of this beautiful raptor.

There was little else of note as we failed to pick up a Kingfisher along the Navigation Channel and the Canoe Slalom was devoid of Grey Wagtails. There was a larger party of Tufted Ducks at the east end of the main lake and around the south side a Goldcrest was calling and a Kestrel gave good views as it flew out over the main lake, pausing to hover over the island and then continuing on over the Rough.

So not a bad morning, a few Chiffchaffs were heard and we had a good variety of ducks for this early in Autumn and 3 raptors is never a bad thing.

The next guided bird walk is Sunday the 28th October. Meet at the Visitor Centre at 9am.