Monday, July 28, 2014

Recent goings on in the park

It's been a while so here's what's been going on in the park recently.

First up the volunteers were back in early in the month and put in a great shift clearing the path between thee the cycle track near Fish Ponds down to and along the river to the spillway. This was becoming overgrown in some areas and now the new bridge is in place over the Marina entrance people were wanting to use it again so it's been cleared. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped.

Please note that the August volunteer task has been cancelled but hopefully we'll be back to normal in September.

It's been pretty quiet in the park on the bird front, just the normal stuff and sometimes pretty hard to come by on the hot days. Plenty of Green Woodpeckers about so sometimes quiet is not quite the word to use. This weekend just gone we had some nice views of a Jay and the first Willow Warbler on it's way back south. Amazingly this was exactly the same date as we had the first returning Willow Warbler last year and only 2 days different from the year before (thanks DK).

On Friday evening I tagged along on the guided bat walk led by Danny Fellman. This was very well attended and we managed 4 species of bat although not the numbers we might have liked. Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Noctule and Daubentons were all caught on the detectors. The Pips and the Daubentons were seen with the Daubentons providing excellent views over the Finger Lakes. I also spotted a Hedgehog as it crossed the main path between the Beach and Fingers and heard a Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher, the later being between 22:30 and 23:00.

It was a busy weekend in the park with the Archaeological dig and display on both days and the Triathlon, Canoe Slalom and Guided Bird Walk all on Sunday. The Bird Walk was a bit of struggle with birds, butterflies and dragonflies all playing hard to find. Fortunately EG was ringing in the Rough and had a bumper haul just as I arrived with the group so we all got some close up views of the birds in the hand as they were processed. Here are a few pics kindly provided by Chris Smart:

Reed Warbler

Juvenile Robin

Robins wing

Juvenile Green Woodpecker

Juvenile Green Woodpecker


Blue Tit wing

Song Thrush

Song Thrush having its tummy tickled :-)

 A nice variety of birds there and we also had a few Blackcaps. Once again many thanks to EG for his time and patient explanation of the ringing process.

Gatekeeper Butterfly
There were quite a few butterflies on the flower meadow but these were mostly Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns with the odd White sp. just for variety.

100 Acre is not ideal for taking groups onto at the moment with head high nettles in abundance, so we headed out along the cycle track and down to the end of 100 Acre where it looks over to Castle Mill. There has been a lot of work here in recent weeks and the large earth mounds have gone, having been used to bring the gravel workings back up to level. There wasn't much to see here although there was a nice flock of 125 Lapwings on the earth works and quite a few Carrion Crows picking over the bare earth on the lookout for invertebrates to eat. The water level has dropped a lot on 100 Acre, unsurprisingly, but 8 Little Egrets were working the edges of the lake and family of Great Crested Grebes with 4 youngsters was great to see. As we turned to leave I spotted a Kestrel low over the earthworks and it perched for a while before flying off and giving us good views.

There was little else of note other than a small party of Goldfinches in the scrub opposite Meadow Lane GP, as we made our way back to the park.

The next guided bird walk is on Sunday 31st August at 8am, meet at the visitor centre.

The group checking out the Lapwing flock on Castle Mill earthworks
(Picture courtesy of Glen Bowen)