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Saturday, January 31, 2009

31st January

Sun up this morning. The old saying, "Red sky in the morning shepherds warning", normally means that it is going to rain. Well that didn't happen, maybe it's a warning that snow is on the way.

The Water Rails have taken to their new feeding station. In the last few days B H Gulls and Woodpigeons had been hoovering up all the food scattered in the ditch.

Water Rail: Both still present and at time can be heard calling.
Siskin: Ten birds or more in area 24 and 25.
Goldfinch: The flock seems to be increasing slightly. If you stand with your back to the gate to the wetland pen, area 25. The finches are constantly coming down to drink in amongst the Elm suckers.

Friday, January 30, 2009

30th January

Here are the answers to the quiz birds teaser for those who didn't manage to identify them.

Melodious Warbler.

Nothing new to report, the birds are the same as yesterdays.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

29th January

Great crested Grebe: The pair have now started to build a nest by the side of the island in area 5. Lets hope this next cold snap dosen't freeze the waters around the nest.
Little Grebe: One was feeding under the bridge by the entrance nearest to Baker Street.
Water Rail:
Still two birds present in area 2, though they are being a little more secretive during the day. The mornings and late afternoons are probably best.
Common Gull: Numbers on the lake were up today to above 25 birds. This species never seems to get above much above thirty birds.
Blackcap: A male was in area 24 this morning before flying to the island in area 26.
Siskin: Five birds were still in area 24 on and off throughout the day.
Goldfinch: The flock of fourteen birds were feeding at the feeding station in area 24. They would come down to drink amongst the Elm suckers in the southern corner, as they off them safety from attack by the local Sparrowhawks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

27th January

Birds already have a hard time at this time of year but irresponsible behavior by certain members of the public can have fatal consequences, as this drake Mallard found out.

At least on of the rails was very vocal today. Though not the best, the photo below shows the difference in size between a Water Rail and aMoorhen.

The sun comes out and these returning grebes have sex on their minds.

The Little Owl though a fair distance away and is very wary.

Great crested Grebe: The first birds of the year turned up and happened to be a pair. They immediately started courting. Had they wintered together or met on route back to the park?
Grey Heron: 25 males have now claimed nest sites.
Hen Harrier: One possible very high flying male bird glided north at 11.50am.
Water Rail: Two birds still present in area 2.
Little Owl:
One showed well in the nest box in the Willow tree in area 25.
Great spotted Woodpecker:
Four males drumming.
Grey Wagtail: One flew over London Zoo.
House Sparrow: The males from the colony in the zoo have now began to move out of the cages they had been using since last autumn and are now taking up territories.
Siskin: Five in area 24, 25 and 26.
Goldfinch: Fourteen landed in the zoo.

Friday, January 23, 2009

23rd January

Quiz Birds
Does knobody know these birds identity? they were meant to be a little tricky but not to hard.

Things are still fairly quiet in the park, this weather dose not help.

Water Rail:
The two birds are still present in area 2. They have been a little shy of late, due to the fact that we have had some lake cleaning done alongside the reed bed.
Tawny Owl: Two males were calling this morning from area 1 and 14.
Little Owl: One was calling from area 21 this evening.
Stock Dove: 18 birds were feeding in the garden by St Marks Bridge, area 34 this afternoon.
Goldfinch: 14 were feeding in area 29 and a flock of 8 were in area 34.
Siskin: The flock of ten birds were feeding by Long Bridge, area 26 this morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20th January

Little Grebe: One bird in area 26, has been present since September last year.
Grey Heron: 18 nests have birds staking claim to them.
Water Rail: Still two birds in area 2.
Siskin: A handful feeding in area 26 with Chaffinches and Goldfinches.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

17th January

As things are a little slack in the park at the moment, I thought some of you less experienced birders might like to work out these birds identities.

It's has been a very quiet week, with the same species of birds present. There has been a slight exodus of waterfowl now that the cold snap is over. The Little Owl was very vocal by the north end of the Broadwalk on Wednesday evening.

A female was soaring above the lake at 11.00am.
Water Rail: The two birds are still present in area 2.
Goldcrest: Numbers are considerably down on what they were before the cold snap. Birds can still be seen in areas 2, 12 and 24.
Siskin: The flock in area 24 now numbers 8 birds, they are also much more mobile.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11th January

Murder in garden by St Marks Bridge

Water Rail: Two birds still present in area 2.
Little Owl: One roosting in nest box in goose grazing pen, area 25.
Siskin: Around twenty birds in area 24.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

7th January

Not the best place to try a spot of fishing.

Lapwing: 13 birds flew NE at 11.25am.
Redwing: One flew west at 7.50am.
Siskin: 14 still feeding in area 24.
Little Grebe: One in area 26.
Egyptian Goose: 19 of the pests present.
Mandarin Duck: 40 present.
Shoveler: 29 present.
Gadwall: 19 present.
Pintail: 1 drake present in area 5.
Teal: 3 birds present(2 males).
Red crested Pochard: 42 birds present in area 5.

Monday, January 05, 2009

5th January

Lapwing: Three birds flew in from the north at 11.40am, they circled above the open spaces before heading off to the north-east. This was my first record of this species in the park since 2006.
Water Rail: Only one bird was seen today, but not much time was spent looking.
Common Teal: A pair was on the main lake this afternoon.
Siskin: The small flock was again in area 24.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

3rd January

Two Water Rails in the "rail ditch" in area 2.

Not quite skating on thin ice.

Water Rail: Two bird are in the rail ditch, area 2. They have shown well all day long.
Siskin: Fourteen birds moving between area 1 and areas 24.
Goldfinch: At least twenty birds at the feeding stations in areas 24, 29 and 34.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another year over and a new one just began, where have I heard those words before? The total number of birds recorded in 2008 was a very respectable 122. In that there was a first for the park in the shape of two Meally Redpolls, there had been one accepted record of a bird flying over, it didn't even call. God knows how that got through the records committee. I think it's a case of who you know, not what you know. The overall weather patterns during the year were not the best for drift migrants, and the wet spring caused many species, particularly insectivorous ones to fail. We had eight male Reed Warblers holding territory, and it wasn't until summer that the first young were seen. It was good to see birds making use of the new wildlife enclosure in the grounds of the old golf and tennis school. Birds such as Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Greater Whitethroat were able to spend several days there without being disturbed by the public. Well here is hoping for favourable winds and good birds in 2009.
On a sad, note last year was the first year since I started working in the park(1977) that Lapwing was not recorded. How sad is that? We used to have a passage of birds in early summer and again if the weather took a turn for the worse on the continent, these could number in the hundreds.

Below are some of the highlights that I managed to capture on camera.
Lesser Redpoll
Mediterranean Gull, visiting from Kensington Gardens

Tawny Owls rear three owlets in Queen Mary's first record for over thirty years.

Whinchat male on Primrose Hill

Meally Redpoll(first park record)

Reed Warbler, numbers increase annually with our reed bed creation schemes.

Little Owls rear three young for the second year.

Kestrels rear broods of four and five.

Common Terns bring young from nearby Brent Resevoir to feed on the abundant fish fry in the lake.

Common Sandpiper: this is our only regular wader and can be found on the banks of the islands during spring and autumn.

Common Redstart and Tree Pipit, these birds were present in the grounds of the old golf and tennis school.

A very rare sight was this Skylark found on the ground early one morning. There is normally to much disturbance. This bird must have had a high tolerance level.

This Pied Flycatcher showed well in area 25 for a couple of days.

Siskins were present from October until the years end. They used to be a bird that turned up on there way north in late winter.

Water Rail; at least two birds turned up in November, though only one was ever seen.

31st December

Having come down with that pesky cold bug, I have been unable to do to much.
I did manage to pop up to Eccles on Sea, Norfolk for three days. The birds were much as you would expect for this part of Norfolk at this time of year.
At Hickling Broad raptor watchpoint 56 Marsh Harriers, 4 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlins, 22 Common Cranes, 4 Barn Owls. On the grazing marshes nearby 10's of thousands Pink-footed Geese. On the sea 140 Red-throated Divers, Eiders, Scoters and common shorebirds.

Barn Owl: this species is plentiful in this region of Norfolk, weather permitting.

This small flock of Snow Buntings were on the beach at Caister. Unfortunately some have been ringed, therefore the flock can be a bit flighty. The views are still

This is part of a huge flock of Pink-footed Geese numbering over 10,000 birds. Careful scrutiny revealed an obvious Ross's Snow Goose, Barnacle Goose, White-fronted Goose and Tundra Bean Goose. Peregrine Falcons could be seen perched or scaring the flocks of waders and ducks.

Red-throated Divers on the sea at Eccles.

Turnstone are one of our most approachable waders at some coastal patches.