Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saturday 09/08/2014

It's been pretty quiet on the bird front, not unusual at this time of year when some of the migratory species are already on their way back to their wintering grounds and many others become more elusive as they go through their moult. Many of the small passerines are coming together in roaming flocks so if you come across one of these it's like hitting the jackpot. They are usually given away by the constant and distinctive calls of the Long-tailed Tits which usually make up a significant proportion of the flock. There are usually one or more family groups of Long-tailed Tits in these flocks but also look out for other Tits, Finches, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.

This week we had a few Willow Warblers around the park as they make progress south on their way back to Africa for the winter. There were also at least 8 Gadwalls on the Finger Lakes early on. These are quite tricky to distinguish from the Mallards as they all go through their moults but if you happen to see them side by side it becomes easier as they are slightly smaller and the head shape is more rounded.

The ringers were in the Rough again and had a couple of reasonable hauls while we were there. Plenty of juvenile Blackcaps were caught and it was interesting to see to difference in appearance as they were at various stages of post juvenile moult.

Now that a path has been cleared on 100 Acre we are able to get over there again and were rewarded with a Cuckoo. This is quite a late record for this species, many of the BTO tracked Cuckoos are already in Africa with others in central or southern Europe (Tracking Cuckoos to Africa... and back again).

There are a lot of new fences going up on 100 Acre and new paths will follow, for the time being the path along the river is blocked in several places.

4 Little Egrets were present on the large lake and we had 2 Kestrels hunting between the large lake and the Sewage Works Pool. A Common Buzzard was heard by the river down towards Castle Mill and a couple of Swallows were seen in the same area. At the end of our wander around 100 Acre we flushed 5 Green Sandpipers on the Sewage Works Pool.

Back in the park there were a few Sand Martins over the Main lake in the south west corner, a small number of Swifts were also present.

The 2 Tufted Duck families remain and 4 well developed youngsters were also present on Saturday having flown in from elsewhere.

In the afternoon I went back to 100 Acre hoping to photograph the Great Crested Grebes which have 2 chicks. The photography wasn't great but I did see a Snipe and a Sedge Warbler so a pretty good afternoon.

Those were the highlights for this weekend.

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