Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday 13/04/2013

Another dawn start but no Otter again. It was a beautiful start to the day though. An Oystercatcher was on the New Meadow when I arrived but flew as I walked along the main path.

Sunrise over the New Meadow
I set up along the Spit again and the light was great early on. I'd already seen a Water Rail in the Crescent and a party of 8 Redwings dropped into the tops of the Willows over by the Dead Seat, before departing towards the main lake.

4 Little Grebes were showing across the far side of west Fingers and a couple of them came a little closer allowing this shot of the 2 together.

Little Grebes
Up to 5 Gadwalls were on west Fingers although not particularly close this male looked good in the light.
Male Gadwall
A couple of Grey Herons flew past and I managed to capture one of them.

Grey Heron
DK and JA arrived and with DK's reports of new arrivals all week I was hoping for a bumper birding morning as we set off around the park. I'd already had 4 Chiffchaffs and we bagged a few more on our circuit. Blackcaps were a bit slow in coming but we found at least 3 in the Long Hedge by the Woodland Walk. A Willow Warbler was heard further along and we found 3 further along by the Kissing Gate.

On to 100 Acre and a quiet start with a couple of Teal on the small lake but we did a circuit hoping for a few waders and DK told us he had been seeing Red Kites over there during the past week. A couple of Lapwings were first up displaying over the big lake and they were joined by a couple more and a couple of Redshanks. There were a few Wigeons, Tufted Ducks, Little Grebes and a couple of Great Crested Grebes on there also.
Plenty of Skylarks are around so it would be good if dog walkers would stick to the well used trails and keep there dogs under close control as these and other birds are likely to be nesting on the ground soon. A couple more Redshanks were found and a Little Egret was spotted flying towards Willington Gravel Pits. We flushed a Snipe and an Oystercatcher gave us a nice fly past. A Kingfisher flew across the cycle track as we passed the STW.

Back in the park we had four Common Buzzards on a thermal over Kings Mead drifting north west. More Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were seen and heard. Along the south side of the main lake we came across a male Blackcap and then another which turned into a group of 6, males and females. A Common Tern was passing up and down the south side of the main lake and another was over the Marina.

As we walked up the west side of the lake 3 Sand Martins came in from the west, the only Hirundines we had all morning. A Greenfinch was singing in the north west corner.

So I managed to bag a few migrants that I hadn't seen yet but there are still plenty more. 100 Acre is looking really good and hopefully I'll take the guided walk over there in a couple of weeks time.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Priory Volunteers 07/04/2013

I made another early start in the park today in the hope of seeing the Otter again. Someone else had the same idea and beat me to my favoured spot so I set up half way along the Spit. It was much colder this morning than yesterday, -2°C and still dropping.

A single Lesser Redpoll showed well along the main lake reed bed by the Steps. There were at least 6 Little Egrets in the Roost this morning on west Fingers and a Water Rail in the Crescent. 10 Fieldfares passed over, west.

Less cloud meant better light as the sun came up, not just a five minute gap like yesterday. Unfortunately the Otter didn't show and the Great Crested Grebe kept its distance. A pair of Gadwalls were the only things to keep me interested.

Great Crested Grebe

Male Gadwall
This male Gadwall can easily be overlooked but look closely and you see some exquisite plumage and the golden light this morning helps as well!

The female Sparrowhawk was near the nest at Kramer hide. I think this will be a project for me throughout the year assuming the nesting goes well. At the moment both birds are staying over the back towards the nest and there are a lot of small branches in the way for photography. Hopefully we'll see them on the more open perches as time goes on.
Female Sparrowhawk
After the early morning rounds I joined the volunteer group to open up the fence around the Rough ready for it to be fixed/replaced. Another great turnout of volunteers so we managed to complete the entire task in record time. Great work everyone, see you next month.