Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guilded Walk 30/11/2014

It was guided walk time again today and another good turn out for the final walk before Christmas! With the unrelenting mild weather we are still short on migratory ducks with no Pochards again today although there have been a few around this week. We were lucky to have a couple of Goldeneye on the main lake this morning, the second weekend running that this species has turned up, after a singleton last Saturday. I initially found one this morning and we all had good views before we set off around the main lake. We met DK on the South side who was on the Goldeneye, but now there were 2, a juvenile and an adult female. There were also good numbers of Gadwalls, Tufteds and Wigeons. The latter males looking very fine in their winter breeding plumage.

We had a couple of Kingfishers on the south side with one confiding individual giving good views as it remained perched in a tree close by while we watched the ducks.

A couple of Little Grebes and a few Great Crested Grebes were also seen along with a large gathering of Black-headed Gulls and a handful of Common Gulls. Coot numbers remain reasonably high as does the number of Mute Swans which is in excess of 60.

Cormorant numbers are relatively low but the south side roost is now a regular site during the day with 10 birds there today.

We moved on to the Finger Lakes and from the east side managed to spy a single female Shoveler and at least 3 Little Grebes around the gaps between the lakes.

There was little else of note until we reached 100 Acre. We had several Teal sightings on the large lake. The males are looking very fine now. There were large numbers of Canada Geese and Greylags all grazing along with good numbers of Wigeon. The white Greylag was present again. Unlike yesterday there were no Barnacle Geese. We moved on to the Castle Mill view point where Skylarks were plentiful, taking to the air and even singing in the autumn sunshine. Meadow Pipits were also numerous along with Pied Wagtails. Across towards Castle Mill there were good numbers of Lapwings with a few Golden Plovers interspersed. Gulls were also plentiful with plenty of Black-headeds, a few Common Gulls and the odd Lesser Black-backed and a Herring Gull. A good sized flock of Starlings were also moving across the site feeding. I am unsure where they are roosting now as a visit to the Willington GP roost, the previous evening, found just 27 birds visiting, a long way short of the 4000-5000 of a few weeks ago.

On the way back we had a female Kestrel over Meadow Lane GP and when we got back to the park we cut through the Finger Lakes and had limited views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. A Common Buzzard was heard as we searched for the Great Spot and then we finished with excellent views of a male Green Woodpecker on the New Meadow.

Thanks to all who came out today, why not join us on the next walk on Sunday the 28th of December. Meet at 9am outside the Visitor Centre and walk off some of the Christmas excess!

Also of note we had a couple of Otters on the Finger Lakes yesterday morning and a Muntjac in the Rough this morning.