Monday, November 25, 2013

Guided Walk - 24/11/2013

It's been a pretty grim weekend on the weather front, cold grey and occasional drizzle. On the birding front it has been great with a couple of productive visits to 100 Acre adding to the species list.

Sunday was a slightly warmer start (5°C) than Saturday but still overcast with drizzle at times. There was a nice male Pochard dozing in the north west corner of the main lake to get us under way on the guided walk. Pretty quiet on the main lake otherwise with a surprising no Great Crested Grebes, as has been the case all week.

We headed down to Fingers and found 3 Gadwalls on west Fingers before dropping down into the Crescent. After weeks of the ducks being on west Fingers they seem to have moved this week, preferring to congregate at the gap between the 2 lakes so viewing from the Crescent is a good option now. Tufted Ducks, Shoveler and a few more Gadwalls were all viewed in the scope from here but the Little Grebes that were around earlier were absent. Also earlier 5 Corn Buntings came out of their roost in the reed bed. There were also 5 Little Egrets at roost on west Fingers just before sunrise.

We moved on to the Navigation Channel along the east side of Fingers and found a Little Grebe which gave reasonable views between dives.

Next stop was the STW bridge where I spotted a Kingfisher zip across the back river and managed to relocate it sitting in a tree on the edge of the reed bed so I got the scope set up and about half the group got to see it before it departed.

We continued on to 100 Acre and found some Gadwalls, Mallards and Teals in the bay at the south end of the big lake. Further on we found a larger number of Teals tucked in close to the bank of the island and Wigeon could be heard calling on the far side of the island. A Common Buzzard made a low pass over us and out over the lake giving excellent views to all. One of the group spotted a large number of birds in the air behind us, towards the bridge over the bypass. These were Golden Plovers and Lapwings which have been loafing on the crop fields next to the bypass. I had been hoping to catch them on the ground but we stood and watched them all in the air, swirling about, almost as good a Starling murmuration.      

Past the island there were more Teal in the bay and a nice party of Goldfinch in the trees along the edge of the bay. We approached the crop fields taking care not to spook any remaining birds but as expected most of the Lapwings and all of the Golden Plovers had departed. A few of the Golden Plovers were still overhead and continued to circle but most had dropped onto the fields across the bypass. A handful of Lapwings remained with a group of Black-headed and Common Gulls and large flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese. 3 Egyptian Geese also showed well. A few Snipe flushed from the wet gravel area at the north side of the field along with a single Jack Snipe. Saturday we had 19 Snipe and 4 Jack Snipe in the same area.

One of the group spotted a green woodpecker in a tree over towards Castle Mill which we managed to scope before it moved on. We also flushed a couple of Redshank in the area.

On the way back to the park we stopped at the big lake to look for the Wigeon which we located on the far side of the island allowing limited views through the scope.

Once back in the park we headed to the Rough where the ringers were working. Unfortunately by this time we had missed the best birds but we had a demo of the process with 2 Great Tits and a Blue Tit. As usual it was great to see these birds in the hand.

The final stop of the day was for a quick scan of the main lake where DK had seen a Goosander earlier. We were unable to locate it and the sailing had started so it is likely that the Goosander had left although it may have been hidden from view behind the island.

It was great to get out to 100 Acre again as we always get a few different species and the spectacular flocks of Golden Plovers and Lapwings was a real treat. Thanks to all who came.

The next guided bird walk is on December 29th at 9am, meet outside the visitor centre. Why not join me and walk off the Christmas excess?
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