Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday 29th December - Guided Walk

It was the final guided bird walk of the year this morning and what a great turnout we had despite the cold. The 3 Black Swans which had been spotted briefly the previous morning were back on the main lake. The early birds got a good view of them before they went behind the island. The later arrivals had to make do with more distant views as they headed towards the east end of the lake. I had hoped to catch up with them at that end of the lake but was we set off along the main path I spotted them, out of the corner of my eye, as they flew over the trees at the south west corner.

We cut across the meadow and over to the north side of the Finger lakes on the lookout for Bullfinches. They didn't let me down with one calling from the Rough and then more calls from the Sheep Pen and finally reasonable views of a female high in the Poplars in the Sheep Pen.

We continued on over to 100 Acre getting great views of a couple of Long-tailed Tits in the trees along side the cycle track. On 100 Acre we cut down the east side of the big lake getting good views of Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon and Little Grebe, amongst the many wild fowl on and around the big lake. A Common Buzzard also flew across the lake and a couple of Snipe flew over the island.

We followed the trail as it turned towards the crop fields and were just in time to see a large flock of Lapwings put up by a dog and owner. We also had a couple of small flocks of Golden Plover fly over and they looked spectacular as they turned and the sun glinted off them, resembling glitter falling in the sky.

Another Snipe was put up from the rough ground at the north side of the crop fields and many of the Lapwings had set down in the crop field. There seemed to be no Golden Plovers here though, one of the few times in recent weeks when there haven't been any to see here.

One of the group found a couple of Fieldfares feeding with a mixed flock of Starlings and Skylarks and everyone managed to get good views through the scopes.

We gathered together overlooking the Castle Mill workings and scanned the small area of standing water for interesting birds. A couple of Redshanks were the highlight here. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was also on the water and a large flock of Linnets was roving about feeding in the area. A Green Woodpecker flew to the tree in this section and we managed to get reasonable views before it flew off towards the bypass.

Heading back to the park we stopped briefly at the end of Meadow Lane and had a quick chat about the Chiffchaffs which have been present here in recent days. Unfortunately we didn't see any today but it's well worth wandering along Meadow Lane as there are often mixed flocks of Tits and Finches with the odd Goldcrest in the mix, as well as the Chiffchaffs, if they stick around.

We headed back into the park cutting across the meadows and back to the car park and the end of the walk. Quite a successful morning with plenty of species seen and we managed to avoid the flood water around the park. The worst of the flooding has receded for the moment but with more rain forecast this week don't put your wellies away just yet.

The next guided bird walk is Sunday 26th January at 9am, meet outside of the visitor centre as normal.  
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