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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

29th January

Peregrine Falcon: Two same sex birds circled above area 24, before one flew south-east and the other headed off west at 8.25am.
Siskin: A flock of about twenty birds fed in area 26, before flying off towards area 24.
Tawny Owl: One roosted in an ivy covered ash tree in area 29, it was located due to a mixed flock ot birds that were mobbing it.
Pied Wagtail: A pair were by the childrens boating lake.

Monday, January 28, 2008

28th January

Work is currently going on to extend and deepen the wetland area. To hopefully prevent it from leaking it is being lined with puddled clay. The existing area was not lined and has a slow leak. It also evaporates very quickly because of its shallow depth. Two Kingfisher banks have had new fronts put on them. The extension will allow members of the public to view some of the water from the gate by area 25. In the four years it has been there it has attracted Green Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe and Woodcock.

Kingfisher: A bird was seen flying across the lake and perching in a tree by the Holme.
Siskin: Possibly up to 6 birds present in area 24 and 26.
Redwing: Several birds were heard flying over in the early morning mist.
Ring-necked Parakeet: Two birds were seen around the park.
Great spotted Woodpecker: pairs were seen chasing each other in areas 1, 24 and 29, drumming was also heard and seen.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

24th January

Kingfisher: A female was present in area 1 this afternoon.
Ring-necked Parakeet: 2 were feeding on the peanut feeder in area 29.
Black-headed Gull: Numbers have increased to around 300 birds. From now on it is worth checking them for our almost annual Mediterranean Gull, before they depart by mid March.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

23rd January

I could not miss another visit to the Salthouse Snow Buntings, the also had a couple of Lapland Buntings with them.
White-crowned Sparrow; it was good to enjoy this bird with a very small group of birders.

Black Brant by Holkham Drive, note the large white neck collar.
Hawfinch Lynford Arboretum, this was one of up to six present this afternoon.

Just popped up to Norfolk for two days,to visit a friend who has difficulty getting to the coast as he dosen't drive. Acccording to the weather forecast there was to be a break in the bad weather. It is so much more enjoyable to spend time here during the week rather than with the hordes of other bird watchers at the weekends.
I visited Salthouse, Cley Village, Wells Harbour, Titchwell, Holkham Drive Warham Greens stopping off at Lynford Aboretum on the way home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

16th January

Little Owl: With the days warm sunshine we managed to track down the pair. It might be more difficult to find their offspring.
Sparrowhawk: The male was displaying above the Nature Centre, todays weather is the ideal time to see this species in the park. They should keep this up until April at least.
Long-tailed Tit: Pairs are now prospecting for nest sites.
Egyptian Goose: 18 birds are still present all around the lake, and have been displaying and selecting territories.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

13th January

Snow Buntings at Salthouse, several Lapland Buntings were amongst them.

I would not class myself as a serious twithcher, if I were then my British list would be well into the 400's rather than just approaching 400. My criteria for going to see a rarity, is that it has has to be within apporoximately an hour of where ever I am based when the news breaks. I have just returned from a weekend visiting my in laws in Norfolk, it has been on the cards for some time. While there I took the chance to pop along to Cley to see a White-crowned Sparrow, a very rare vagrant from North America (2nd British record). The bird had been present for over a week. A large number of people would have seen the bird throughout the week, but I was expecting large numbers to be present over the weekend. The bird had been coming to seed kindly left on a drive by the owner, this was done to allow birders the chance to see the sparrow.The drive had high walls on either side, so being in the right spot was essential. I arrived on site at 6.55am and there was already a crowd of over 50 already there. I took my place behind the group in a position that I had been told offered the best chance of seeing the sparrow. Even though I could see the drive clearly I had taken the opportunity of packing my mother in laws small step ladder, so I returned to the car to collect it. I had asked another birder to mind my scope and spot, as I returned several other birders said " that's good thinking". The bird seemed to have a routine of turning up to feed around 8.30am. As that time came and went the crowd had swelled to over 300 people. If and when the bird showed a lot of birders were going to be unable to see the bird as the walls denied them any chance. They would have to wait their turn. By now my feet and hands were beginning to get very cold as the temperature was touching freezing point. Then at 8.50 a whisper went out "there it is", the raising of binoculars was like soldiers sloping arms. The sparrow began to feed on the drive, its black and white striped head very obvious. Cries of get back began to fill the air, as those who could not see tried to crowd the gateway. At first they backed off. I allowed several birders to use my steps as the bird showed for approaching two minutes. The bird then stood proudly on the drive looking quite magnificent before disappearing out of site in to the garden. When I looked up either side of the gateway was packed with selfish inconsiderate pratts who have know brains.
I thought that is it I am off, by the time I had pushed my way around the back of the masses the pratts were now sitting in a semi-circle in the road like little children. I then headed off to do some birding at Salthouse.

Over the weekend other goodies were Divers, auks, 10.000 plus Pink feet, 2 Tundra Bean Geese, Hen Harriers, lots of Marsh Harriers, Barn Owls, waders and a stop off on the way home for Hawfinch.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

6th January

Sunrise from the top of Primrose Hill

A favourite loafing spot in area 5.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Common/Mew Gull
Black-headed Gull

Waterfowl numbers have increased slightly, as well as gull numbers. Do they know something that we don't know.

Great crested Grebe:
3 birds almost in summer plumage.
Common Teal:
3 drakes by the island in area 5.
15 birds area 5.
Northern Shoveler:
11 in area 5.
Mandarin Duck: 14 birds under bushes by islands on the main lake.
Ruddy Duck: 8 birds in their favourite location, on the north side of area 5.
Red crested Pochard: 28 birds on the main lake.
Egyptian Goose: 24 birds moving between the main lake and area 26.
Siskin: 1 in area 25.
Redwing: 1 flew over area 29.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

3rd January

Dont worry you haven't missed this Mediterranean Gull. It is crrently wintering on the round pond in Kensington Gardens. It was ringed in Germany and is quiet showy,so worth a look if your passing.

This goose has been identified as a White-fronted Goose juvenile. Definately not of wild origin and in my view its parentage could be questioned. Its bill, size and colouration do not quite match typical Eurasian White-fronts.

We are trying to break the parks species seen in a year record. If any birders that visit the park regularly and would like to contact me by phone or email, if they find a quality bird could leave their email address in the comments section or by reaching me via the Londonbirders forum. There are a several species that we have never seen that surely must pass through, so the more eyes the better.

First day back at work after the festive season, Though I did have a couple of walks around the park with my family.

1st January:
Northern Pintail: 2 drakes and a duck flew in very high from the NW and settled by area 5 and out of site at 2.00pm.
Yellow-legged Gull: An adult was on a post in the lake at 2.30pm.
Siskin: 4 birds were in area 25.
Sparrowhawk: 2 males were chasing each other around area 1. Hopefully a good sign as there was no proof of breeding in this area last year.

3rd January:
Redwing: 2 birds were feeding on the canal slopes area 32.
Siskin: 4 birds by the bandstand at 8.00am.
Egyptian Goose: 22 birds were grazing on the bank of the lake in area 26 this afternoon.