Monday, February 10, 2014

Changing of the guard?

It looks like there might be a changing of the guard as far as the Finger Lakes Mute Swans are concerned. After years holding this territory Orange 500 and family moved out in the last couple of weeks. Having had 5 young last year one had disappeared in recent weeks and then another was killed by a dog leaving 3 still with the adults. They moved over to Cardington Lock for reasons unknown leaving the Finger Lakes free and this week a new pair seem to have moved in, Orange 180 and an unringed bird. They are constantly on patrol around their new territory but time will tell if they can hold on to it. Will Orange 500 come back and stake a claim or maybe another pair will try their luck. Something to watch over the coming weeks.

Last week the volunteers were in again on Sunday, working at the east end of the main lake coppicing the sections between the fishing swims and the plantation behind them. The sections between the fishing swims were hard going with lots of tangled rose and rotten standing wood to get cleared out. The volunteers did a great job clearing three of the sections and finishing off the plantation by the end of the day. Much of the brash was used for dead hedging in the plantation but the Willow was cut and stacked for use as binders for a future hedge laying task.

Birding remains quiet in the park. 100 Acre is still the star area with ~1200 Golden Plovers and ~1000 Lapwings up near the bypass recorded on Sunday 9th of February. 76 Barnacle Geese was a nice surprise here also on Sunday.

Barnacle Geese
Lift off - Golden Plovers
Golden Plovers above Lapwings below
Here are the numbers for 100 Acre: 09/02 (courtesy of DK):

Mute Swan (1), Canada Goose (3), Barnacle Goose (76), Wigeon (80), Gadwall (3), Teal (2), Mallard (2), Pochard (5), Tufted Duck (11), Pheasant (2), Cormorant (1), Little Grebe (5), Great Crested Grebe (1), Buzzard (1), Kestrel (1), Coot (9), Golden Plover (1200), Lapwing (1000), Black-headed Gull (90), Common Gull (1), Stock Dove (5), Magpie (4), Jackdaw (3), Rook (7), Carrion Crow (36), Blue Tit (2), Skylark (2), Chiffchaff (1), Starling (33), Blackbird (4), Fieldfare (1), Song Thrush (1), Robin (6), Dunnock (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) (1), Chaffinch (1)

And here are the numbers for the park: 09/02 (courtesy of DK):

Mute Swan (10), Greylag Goose (1), Canada Goose (27), Gadwall (18), Teal (2), Mallard (60), Shoveler (5), Pochard (40), Tufted Duck (44), Cormorant (17), Little Grebe (1), Great Crested Grebe (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Moorhen (3), Coot (60), Black-headed Gull (80), Common Gull (1), Stock Dove (2), Woodpigeon (7), Collared Dove (3), Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Magpie (8), Carrion Crow (17), Blue Tit (8), Great Tit (7), Long-tailed Tit (3), Wren (2), Blackbird (21), Song Thrush (7), Redwing (2), Robin (6), Dunnock (1), House Sparrow (3), Chaffinch (8), Greenfinch (3), Goldfinch (14), Reed Bunting (2)

I spent the afternoons in Kramer hide at the weekend but failed to get a Kingfisher on the perch. In fact I only saw a Kingfisher once all weekend so I think the high winds must have put them off. Following are a few record shots I took while waiting.

Little Grebe starting to show summer plumage
Juvenile Grey Heron
Male Teal
Treecreeper
The water levels came up yesterday in the park flooding the path between the navigation channel and the Finger lakes. This all happened between my visit in the morning and returning in the afternoon and when I left at 5pm the levels were still rising with water pouring into the Finger Lakes and Kingsmead flooded.

I've seen some very strange choices in footwear for visiting the park recently. Yesterday a women in very nice suede boots won the prize. I doubt she got much further than Beach. For anyone coming down you really need wellies or at least waterproof walking boots. Although there is a gravel path around the main lake the south side has had standing water on some sections when it is not flooded completely. Off the path the trails are very muddy with standing water in many areas. On 100 Acre there is quite a bit of standing water and the end of Meadow Lane, by the cycle track, is flooded deep enough to challenge even those in wellies.  
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