Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guided Walk Sunday 24th February

It may have been grey and cold with an icy wind but I still had 5 takers for the guided walk and Ranger Jane joined us as well.

We started off along the main path, heading down to the dipping platform for a look at the Ferruginous Duck. Last month many of the group missed out on seeing this bird as it was very mobile. Since then it has become much easier to see and so it proved as we stood on the dipping platform watching it as it associated with a small group of Pochards just a few yards away.

Unfortunately the Black-necked Grebe that was also here for a few weeks departed recently so the group didn't get to see that and the Goldeneye that was here yesterday morning had also gone.

We moved on, checking the reeds along the edge of the main lake for Water Rail, seen earlier by DK, to no avail. I'd also had 6 Little Egrets at roost earlier and 26 Corn Buntings leaving the Crescent reed bed roost before the guided walk started.

A female Reed Bunting showed briefly along the edge of the main lake before we turned down the Spit. There are now a pair of Great Crested Grebes on Fingers and the female seems keen to mate, the male less so! As we reached the end of the Spit I spotted a Water Rail darting across the final fishing swim, a couple of the group saw its backside as it slipped into the cover. The normal view of a Water Rail!

Returning back along the Spit we cut around to the Navigation Channel and headed up to Kramer hide. Not much doing there although you could just make out a male Teal on the island directly in front of the hide, it was tucked in behind a tree making it very difficult to see.

Next stop was the STW bridge to look out over 100 Acre. The Barnacle Geese were showing although somewhat distant. There have been c90 in the area regularly over the past couple of weeks. Probably a break away group from the Willington flock.

Back into the park and we cut through the Woodland Walk where we spotted a small flock of Redwings (c15). Most flew when they spotted us but a couple stayed put and I managed to get the scope on one revealing the beauty of its markings. They finally flew off so we moved on.

I showed the group the location of the Little Egret roost, minus birds, around the back of Fingers and we continued along to Rough. We did a quick circuit of the Rough which was very quiet. A Great Spotted Woodpecker showed briefly at the top of the trees in the middle of the Rough but there was little else of note until we got back to the entrance where 2 pairs of Bullfinches were showing by the gate.

We exited the Rough, locking up behind us, and cut across the meadow. The final stop was the Visitor Centre to see if we could find anything else. Just before we got there I heard some more Bullfinch calling and located 3 females and 2 males in the hedge behind the VC. They showed really well and everyone got great views. They were joined by a group of Goldfinches, brilliant 2 of our most attractive birds right next to each other. We watched them for a while before cutting behind the VC. We flushed a group of House Sparrows from some brash by the yard, as many as I have seen here for a while.

That was it, not as good as last month but some good birds all the same. Join us for an Easter bird hunt on 31st March at 9am, meet outside the Visitor Centre.