Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday 15th March

Seems like spring has sprung this week although the fog Wed-Fri put a bit of a dampener on proceedings. We seem to have had Chiffchaffs throughout the winter period this year, mostly just outside the park between the STW entrance and Meadow Lane. Now they are in the park in force and singing away, 5 this morning, a great sound. 

All the action was on the Finger Lakes this morning with the Mute Swans battling for supremacy. I thought when Orange 500 and her mate came back things would settle down and they would just get on and breed like normal. How wrong I was. There were up to 9 Swans on Fingers this morning and most of those seemed to be males battling for the hand of Orange 500. The male that was with her at first has a metal ring but no Darvic, so it looks like last years male has been deposed. Who knows what the final pairing will be! Who needs Eastenders!

Orange 500
The battle rages
A pair of Oystercatchers have been on the Main Lake island for over a week now and today a few Black-headed Gulls seemed to be eyeing up nest sites on the island so it could be busy over there this year. I'm hoping to get out to the island on Monday with the rangers to set up some nest sites for the Common Terns. After last years failed breeding we're hoping for success this year.

Rooks have also taken up the nests on the south side of the main lake again. There are 7 nests but we're not sure if they are all Rook nests as at least one pair of Carrion Crows are hanging around the nests. Will the Rooks be successful this year? We've seen no evidence of success in the last 2 years but they keep coming back.

100 Acre is still the place to be for variety of birds and this morning the Barnacle Geese were back with 100+ on the crop field. There were also a large number of Common Gulls in the field, >200, and another 50+ on the flood water nearby.
Barnacle Geese
There were 3 Redshanks and 2 Oystercatchers around the big lake. On Castle Mill pits there were 2 Shelducks, a Redshank and a Ringed Plover.

A Common Buzzard flew over 100 Acre being harassed by a Carrion Crow and a male Sparrowhawk was also seen. We also had a Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk around the Finger Lakes.

So plenty going on in and around the park and plenty still to come in the next few weeks as migration cranks up a notch or 2. Stay tuned.



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