I joined the bat walk on Friday evening along with 20+ others hopeful of seeing a few of the parks bats in action. We weren't disappointed as 6 different species were detected and/or seen. Excellent viewing was had along the south side of the main lake where Pips and Serotines could be seen against the darkening sky. There were also excellent views of Daubenton's bats from the fishing swims along the east side of the main lake. Nicky leading, assisted by Danny, provided great information from basic information about using our detectors through to just about anything you could want to know about bats. All in all a great evening out in the park. The six species we found were:
And so to the Dawn Chorus walk. I was joined by 15 people for a 4am start. Sadly the weather forecast was not looking good and for once they got it right! It started to rain lightly as we headed off down the main path. We hung out down in the Crescent where Reed Warblers were burbling away Blackbirds and Robins were already singing strongly joined occasionally by the loud bursts of song from the resident Cetti's Warbler. Reed Buntings joined the chorus singing much stronger than we have been experiencing at our usual start times. Blackcap, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blue and Great Tits all gradually joined the chorus. A backing track of raucous calls from the roosting Crows and Jackdaws grew louder as the rain grew heavier. The consensus of those who were present at last years dawn chorus walk was that this year was a bit subdued by comparison, unsurprising given the weather conditions this year. With the chorus easing down we started a wander around the Finger Lakes but were forced to take cover in Kramer Hide as the rain intensified.
Nesting Moorhen and Canada Goose were visible from the hide and a Little Grebe put in an appearance but the rain continued and a few of the group decided to call it a day and headed off leaving the rest of us to enjoy a cake kindly provided by Charlotte Tenneson. (Glen you have some serious competition!)
Finally the rain eased off so we took the opportunity to head back to the visitor centre, bagging a few more species on the way.
So after a fantastic bat walk the dawn chorus was a bit of damp squib and we didn't get out to 100 Acre as I had planned. Still there is always next year!
With all of the Hirundines in the park and the Swifts too I am often asked to identify which is which. It's not always easy with these fast, acrobatic little birds but here are a few pictures to help you out.
Firstly the Swallow, slightly larger than the 2 Martins with an all dark head and back with a white breast. the colours cannot always be identified easily when they are zipping about in a bright sky so I'm going to skip those for the most part. The long tail streamers are also diagnostic.
|Swallow (here with on a single tail streamer, must have lost one somewhere!)|
|House Martin (note the white chin)|
|House Martin (Note the white rump)|
|Sand Martin (Note the partial white collar)|
|Sand Martin (Note the chin strap)|
EG was ringing in the Rough on the 9th and caught and ringed this little beauty.
|Great Crested Grebe swallowing a Tench|