Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guided Walk and other bits and bobs from the weekend

This morning was the first of the 8am starts for the guided bird walks but we still had a great turnout. First up was a visit to the Rough where EG was on his 6th CES ringing visit of the year. Unfotunately this session was proving to be very quiet and all Ed could offer the group was a single juvenile Wren. As usual he gave a great demo and expalantion of the ringing process before showing the group the nets. He came back with another capture, another juvenile Wren! To make things worse he had already ringed this one earlier so it was quickly released.

We moved on to the Spit where we had good views of the remaining Mute Swan cygnet and the single remaining Great Crested Grebe chick. Predation has been the word of the spring this year with very few wildfowl chicks making it to adulthood so far. We also spotted the pair of Tufted ducks with 2 young fluff balls.

We stopped at the freshly re-painted Kramer hide and I challenged the group to spot the nesting Little Grebe. Admittedly it is a tough one to spot, even when I had setup the scope on the nest. The other adult Little Grebe was out front of the hide but playing equally hard to spot under a Willow.

We moved on again stopping to listen to 2 singing Blackcaps in the Long Hedge. A Treecreeper called a couple of times from nearby but didn't show itself.

At the Sewage Works bridge we stopped in hope of an Otter sighting but as usual we were a day late. DK and myself had great views of at least one Otter at the bridge on Saturday morning.

A Grey Heron was in the usual spot in the reeds on the corner of Riverside. The resident Cetti's Warbler sang loudly, as they do. It could still be heard when we were half way across 100 Acre. A stop on 100 Acre produced a nesting Great Crested Grebe, several Little Grebes, Oystercatcher and at least 3 broods of Tufted Duck youngsters. One of the Tufted Duck broods was at least 13, hard to know how the female could incubate that number of eggs successfully. A little further on and we had a Little Egret on the island. A Sedge Warbler was heard and gave brief views as it flitted from one lot of thick cover to another. A small pink flower was identified as Grass Vetchling.   

Back on the cycle track we came across another singing Blackcap, there were many about today, which showed out the clear for a few seconds before it disappeared back into the heavy cover across the other side of the track.

Further along the track we found several Bee orchids which had survived the mower. Lin had found them a few weeks back but it was good to show the group. 

Bee Orchid

A male Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly showed briefly before departing across the wheat crop. A female was more obliging, perching on a wheat stem and allowing me to get the scope on it so that everyone had great views. Yellow Wagtails were calling from the crops and showed briefly while a Skylark perched up on a head of Hemlock and gave great views as he sang.

At the Castle Mill end of 100 Acre we had good views of Little Egret and distant views of Green Sandpiper, Sand Martin and Swallow also showed well and Linnet and Goldfinch were in the are. Not sure where the juvenile Black-headed Gull has come from but presumably a pair have nested nearby.

On the way back we found a Marbled White butterfly in the same area as the Bee Orchids.
Marbled White butterfly
Back at the Sewage Works bridge I spotted a Common Tern carrying a fish and watched to see where it might be nesting. It headed towards the island on 100 Acre but disappeared from view before I could see if it dropped in there or not.

So another good morning out around the park and surrounding area. The next guided bird walk is Sunday July 31st, meet outside the visitor centre (maybe a cafe by then!) at 8am.

Juvenile Pied Wagtail on the Priory wall (Saturday)