Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Guided Walk 28/02/2016

The guided walk was very well attended again this month and the weather was much more agreeable than last month. With Spring on the way I chose to focus on some of the bird songs and calls for this walk. It's a good time to start learning a few bird songs as many species are starting to sing as the breeding season begins. In fact with this mild Winter there have been reports of some species breeding already. After an initial scan of the main lake we headed across the meadow to the Finger Lakes and stood outside the Rough identifying the various songs and calls that could be heard, the best being Bullfinch calls and even a bit of "Trumpeting".

A circuit of the Finger Lakes returned good views of Heron, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebe. There were no Siskins to be found in the Alders around the Crescent reed bed but one did fly over calling as we cut through to the Spit. A good size flock of Barnacle Geese flew over, seen briefly between the trees. There was little of note on west fingers just the remaining members of the Mute Swan family, down to 3 cygnets now. The adults are getting quite feisty so I suspect those 3 will be out of there pretty soon.

We finished the walk with a circuit of the main lake and were rewarded with views of a pair of Kingfishers chasing along the Leat in the south east corner. A detour along the riverside path to check out Fenlake Meadows bagged us a couple of Snipe which flushed from Fenlake and flew over the river and us, heading north into the park. The hoped for Stonechat was not to be found. From the south west corner of the main lake I picked out a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Common Gulls within the mixed flock loafing on the lake. Black-headed Gulls in all states of plumage from Winter to Summer can be found on the lake at the moment too.

We couldn't find the Egyptian Geese which are regular visitors to the island but I suspect they might breed on the island this year.

There was little else of note on the remainder of the walk and we finished back at the visitor centre having put together a reasonable list in a couple of hours.

In recent weeks a few more waders have turned up with the Redshanks on 100 Acre and Oystercatcher on the main lake island in the park. The Golden Plovers and Lapwings were still showing well over on 100 Acre up until at least Saturday the 20th February, the Golden Plovers numbering ~2500.

A family party of Otters has been showing well with the mother and 3 cubs regularly at the Sewage Works Bridge and sometimes on the main lake. A fifth Otter joined the party on Monday 22nd. I guess this would have been a male checking out the female to see if she is ready to breed but I didn't see them myself. The cubs should be dispersing soon as they are fully grown now. Hopefully they will remain close to home for a while so we continue getting regular sightings.

The next guided bird walk is on Sunday 27th March. Meet outside the visitor centre at 9am.