Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Spring update from Dave Kramer

Shelduck: 3 on 15/4, 1 on 16/5. A few Gadwalls are still hanging around, mainly males seen, but I'm waiting for the females to crawl out of the woodwork, preferably with young trailing behind them. Two male Shovelers on 7th May were a bit out of season.  The male Ring-necked Duck was present almost daily to 16th April and then spent a lot of time on Longholme, visiting Priory (sometimes for only a short time) on 26th, 27th April,  May 3rd, 4th, 9th, 12th, 13th, and 16th.(None since.) Herons: Fifteen nests built but only ten currently active. Some of the early nests were built by enthusiastic immatures but they were not enthusiastic enough (or capable) of laying eggs and raising young. Total young at the moment is about 17 and several have left their nests. Two Black-necked Grebes on10th May were very nice. There have been more sightings of Red Kites in May than in previous months. A pair of Oystercatchers nested in the sailing club compound and hatched 2 young - which were predated within three days of hatching. A Black-tailed Godwit flew over on 22nd April(JB). One Arctic Tern was present on the morning of the 22nd April with a further six later in the day. Little Gulls : 2 on 6th April (JB), 1 on 7th, 1 on 13th and 14th (JB), 1 on 24th April and one on 23rd May. There are many Black-headed Gulls on the island - which I put at about 80 until a Heron flew over and about 120 flew up. So it will be interesting to see how many pairs have bred. (Although the Lesser Black-backed Gulls circle over the island like vultures looking for young gulls, Mallards or goslings - and finding them!) The first Cuckoo was on 17th April with birds almost daily to 22 May, occasionally with a female present. Peregrine over on 20th April, Hobby over on 30th April. Very few hirundines over mainly due to the good weather giving them no good reason to pause on their journeys. The only larger numbers were seen on dull or drizzly days. Willow Warblers were only present on passage (1 to 3) between 5th and 16th April. An incredible change in status for this once common species (highest - 29 territorial males) in the park. Excellent numbers of Blackcaps this spring with often between 20 and 25 singing males but Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats have been a bit thin on the ground. A Bullfinch today, seen by Tony Ploszajski was the first since 29th March!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Guided bird walks CANCELLED until further notice

Given the latest advice from the government regarding the coronavirus I am cancelling my guided walks at Priory CP until further notice.

Please check back here or contact the ranger for further information as the situation changes.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Why barbed hooks are not allowed when lure fishing.

A couple of weeks ago we had a report of a duck caught on a fishing lure that was caught in a tree on the edge of the main lake. Fortunately between the ranger, myself and the tree surgeon, who happened to be working nearby, we were able to free the duck and recover the lure. In doing so we found that the lure had barbed trebles on it which are not allowed in the park. It was also tied direct to nylon line rather than utilising a wire trace as per the park rules.

I understand that sometimes tackle can be lost when fishing but adhering to the park rules will help to mitigate any issues should this happen. Using some common sense when casting may also help to limit the amount of tackle lost in trees.

As well as potentialy deadly for any animal/bird caught in the line or hooks it is also distressing for park visitors who witness the same. When fishing in the park please make yourself familiar with the rules (see the link above) and locations where fishing is allowed.

The following pictures (kindly provided by Andy Howe who found and reported the issue) may be distressing to some but I include them here in the hope that they will encourage anglers to take more care when fishing in the park and anywhere else for that matter.