Monday, July 08, 2013

Last week in the park

Had a report from Simon Ramm that "two otters were playing in the gap between the two fingers lakes between 12:45 and 13:30 and longer"  on Monday 1st July.

On Wednesday 3rd July I spent the day with the rangers carrying out a couple of tasks. As usual I arrived early and had a walk around the park. Of note were the hundreds of Froglets that were to be found around the Crescent and along the Spit. The overnight rain had left the grass wet and the tiny Frogs were taking advantage of the conditions. I also had 2 Oystercatchers on the grass by the Canoe Slalom. A Pied Wagtail on the flower meadow. Juv Song Thrush up by the Kissing Gate. 2 Grey Wagtails at the STW bridge and lots of feeding activity in the fallen Willow on the back river. At least 2 red head Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff along with Tits and Finches.

First task of the day was a trip out to the main lake island to check on the breeding success or not of the Common Terns. The plan was to go around the island and if there was no sign of any activity, land to search for nests. As expected there was no activity seen so we landed and fought our way around the island. It's quite amazing how much plant growth has occurred since my last visit for the Canada Goose egg oiling earlier this year. Still we managed to fight our way through and found 3 Tern nests. All of them looked to have been predated as the eggs were smashed rather than neatly opened. We should also have seen evidence of juveniles, if not on the island then at least when they fledged, had they hatched out successfully.

So good and bad news, evidence of breeding but no successful outcome this year. What this does suggest though is that with the correct management the island could become a nesting site for Common Terns. With this in mind the aim is to continue with the bashing back of the vegetation, possibly adding gravel to some areas to provide better nesting conditions for the Terns.

As far as I could see there was no sign of nesting by the Black-headed Gulls despite having seen them moving sticks about on the island. Again we would have seen signs of juvenile Gulls had they already hatched and fledged so they seem not to have been successful this year.

A wander around the park on Saturday morning produced the usual suspects although a bonus Kingfisher in the Crescent was nice as they have been few and far between of late. EG was ringing in the Rough but while we were there he was having a very slow day!

In the afternoon I returned and took a walk around 100 Acre. The good weather had attracted many visitors to the main park but I did not see another soul as I walked around 100 Acre. Of note were:

Redshank 1+
Oyc 2
Kingfisher 1
Sedge Warbler 2+
Common Whitethroat 3+
Common Buzzard 1
Lapwing ~30
Juv BHG 1
Two Pairs of GC Grebe with 2 young each (1pr on big lake and 1pr on Meadow Lane GP)
A few Canadas, 1 pair with 4 young and a pair of Greylags with what looked like a single, almost full grown, youngster
Green Sandpiper 1

I also found a female Emperor Dragonfly:

Emperor Dragonfly (f)
A Dunnock was perched on the STW fence as I made my way back to the car:

Sunday was the monthly Volunteer day and we cracked on with 2 tasks. One group started putting together a Tern raft for the main lake, hopefully an alternate place for the Terns to nest next year. The other group worked on repairs to some of the fishing swims around the main lake. It was extremely hot so thanks to all who came and participated, great job.

The hot weather attracted a lot of people to the park again on Sunday and having assisted Ranger Jane with the litter pick in the morning before the rest of the volunteers arrived I stayed to help with the afternoon round after the rest of the volunteers left. Having seen the good side of people on the volunteer task we now witnessed the bad as people left litter strewn all around. I really can't fathom the mentality of people who come to the park to enjoy the green space and then leave it looking like a landfill. Yes the rangers do pick up the litter but it's not a job that should need doing, we should all take responsibility for our own litter and either bin it or take it home and dispose of it. It's not that hard is it, after all you brought the stuff with you when the packets and bottles were full so taking them away empty should be easier.

Note also that barbecues and open fires are not allowed in the park. The rangers will be forced to extinguish any they find on the go so please don't do it. There is a danger of fire in the dry conditions and also damage to the plastic tables, as happened Saturday evening to the table by Cardington Lock. Yes those tables are recycled plastic and they melt when a hot barbecue is placed on top of them!