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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.

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