Monday, December 09, 2013

What's been happening in the park?

Last weekend we had the final Sunday volunteer task of the year. We continued with the work on the plantations near the overflow car park and opened up the paths between the meadows and the car park. This was followed by a bbq and thanks go to the rangers for providing the food and to volunteer Alan for the cakes and meat. It was a shame that some of the regulars were unable to make it but that meant all the more food for the rest of us :-) Thanks go out to all of the volunteers who have given up their time to help with tasks around the park this year and we look forward to seeing everyone again in the new year. The next task is on Sunday 5th January 2014, 9am - 3pm. As always if you can only make part of the day then please come along as any time you can give is most welcome.

On the birding front it's still surprisingly quiet in the park with low numbers of over wintering ducks, most likely due to the incredibly mild weather we are still experiencing for this time of year.

In the park early morning visits should get you Little Egrets roosting in the trees around the Finger Lakes. Recently they seem to favour the fingers at the north end of west Fingers. Another early morning species is the Corn Bunting which are roosting in Crescent reed bed and can be spotted leaving at around sun rise a little after the Little Egrets depart. And if you are getting up early don't miss the Corvid roost which, although still quite small, is always a great spectacle as they rise up to depart in a noisy group. They are usually the first to go while it's still quite dark.

The best place is 100 Acre where a small number of Wigeon remain along with most of the other duck species we expect to see at this time of year. A Common Buzzard and a Kestrel are regularly seen here and Snipe and Jack Snipe can also bee seen. On the crop fields by the bypass large flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwings are regulars along with Greylag and Canada Geese. There are also 3 Egyptian Geese here and occasionally other waders turn up on the standing water on the field. Redshank and Dunlin have both been seen in the past couple of weeks.

On Saturday along the cycle track where it passes by Meadow Lane GP we found a very grey looking Chiffchaff with a very bright white eye stripe. Shortly after we found a second Chiffchaff, a brown bird with a buff, less marked, eye stripe. Unfortunately neither bird was calling and both were very mobile and quickly lost to sight.

If you are of a mind to check out 100 Acre please try to keep to the well used trails in order to avoid disturbing birds like the Snipe where possible. The main trail runs along side the river all the way down to the ditch where you can turn right and follow the track back towards the crop fields. At the crop fields you can follow the edge of the field back towards the big lake and and then follow the edge of the lake back towards Meadow Lane.

The Starling roost at neighbouring Willington Gravel Pits is still going strong.

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