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Saturday, January 30, 2010

30th January

After a clear skies early in the night, I was surprised to awake to a light dusting of snow.

the female was still present in area 26.
Teal: fourteen were scattered around the edge of area 5.
Shoveler: sixty two were by on or close to area 5.
Mandarin: sixty four were on area 5.
Red crested Pochard: sixty eight were present.
Gadwall: twenty six were present.
Water Rail: two still present in the rail ditch.
Redwing: thirty six were around the park.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

28th January

The wild bird is at the top of the picture and is slightly paler, than the collection females.

Smew: Still present in area 26.
Little Grebe:
three birds on the lake, two males trilling.
two similar sized flocks of around 30 birds feeding in areas 21 and 33.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

26th January

The female Smew is still present, mixing in with collection birds. One of the best places to see her is by standing by the gate to the Wetland Scrape, area 25. Then look along the edge of the island to where the red circle is.

Monday, January 25, 2010

25th January

Everything in the park is much as it has been.

the female is still present in area 26, normally hanging out with the other Smew by the island furthest from the bridge.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24th January

Not an awful lot to report, other than good numbers of waterfowl.

The female was in the Long Bridge Sanctuary, area 26 this morning. She was mixed in with the collection birds, behaving aggressively towards the two females.
Common Teal: thirteen birds (a new record) were on the lake, on the eastern side of area 5.
Mandarin Duck: a minimum fifty six were on the lake, counting these is slightly harder than the other waterfowl as they tend to tuck themselves in amongst the low branches of trees and shrubs.
Gadwall: twenty eight birds were present.
Shoveler: fifty two were on the lake.
Red crested Pochard: sixty six present.
Green Woodpecker: singles were seen in area 1, 7, 25 and 29.
Great spotted Woodpecker: three males drumming.

Part of the largest flock of Common Teal recorded in the park

Nineteen Herons nest were being guarded by adults. As soon as the snow began to melt birds rushed to stake a claim on a nest site.

Female Blackbird visiting the rail feeding station.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

23rd January

Female Smew on area 5, could it be last years bird (bottom picture).

A dull dat that only got duller, with the exception of two bright moments

Brent Goose:
a tight flock of six birds flew south south east at 10.55am.
Smew: a female was on the side of area 5, is she last years returning bird? We will have to see if she stays and start consorting with our males again.
Redwing: numbers seem to have dropped significantly, either that or they were hiding from me.
: seven birds were seen, with a couple of males singing strongly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20th January

Little Egret: one was mobbed as it flew low north at 6.55am, it may have roosted with the parks Herons.
Common Teal: eight birds were around area 5.
Mandarin Duck: still good numbers present.
Peregrine Falcon: two sightings probably involving a bird flying west at 8.45am and then flying east at 12.50pm.
Water Rail: only one seen, but time wasn't spent looking at the site.
Redwing: Still plenty of birds dotted around the park. They seem to be be very nomadic, in that they are always on the move.

Monday, January 18, 2010

18th January

The thaw continues with only a very thin sheet of ice remaining on half of the lake.

Common Teal:
a flock of nine 4m 5f were on area 5 at noon. This is the largest flock ever recorded in the park.
Wodcock: a bird was flushed from the Leaf Yard Wood in almost the same spot as Friday's bird.
Water Rail: the two birds are still present.
Redwing: one hundred and twenty were scattered around the park.
Goldcrest: four birds were feeding amongst the roses in Queen Mary's Gardens, area 12.

Friday, January 15, 2010

15th Janaury

The snow and ice has now gone from all but the most sheltered spots on land, though the lake is still badly frozen.

European Wigeon:
a female was on the edge of area 5 at 8.20am, but had soon departed.
Common Teal: six birds were on the edge of area 5 this afternoon.
Gadwall: twenty four were on the open water.
Northern Shoveler: forty four were also on the lake.
Water Rail: two were feeding in area 2.
Woodcock: one was seen flying around the Leaf Yard Wood, area 29 this afternoon.
Skylark: one flew over at 11.00am.
Redwing: one hundred and fifty were feeding around the park, with large groups in area 15 & 20, another large flock was alongside the canal in area 32.
Firecrest: a female was in a Holme Oak on the edge of the Leaf Yard Wood, area 29.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12th January

The snow and ice at last is slowly disappearing and not a moment to soon. At last the ground feeding birds have somewhere to forage. Two casualties of the snow were Herons that were possible caught by foxes. During the cold spells of years ago this species would move of to the Thames and beyond in search of food. Unfortunately today they have come used to handouts from unthinking members of the public. This may have tied the birds to the site as there were birds often seen standing on the frozen grass around the lake waiting for their daily snacks. These are by no means large enough to sustain them.

Below are some photos of the more unusual waterfowl species present at the moment. Sorry about the quality, really gloomy conditions and the fact the birds were a fair way off didn't help.

Mandarin Duck: When counting them this afternoon I had managed to get to sixty five. Something then caused the waterfowl and gulls to take flight. There were still some that I hadn't yet got too, some I am sure there were more than Sundays count of seventy two.
Common Teal: Three drakes and two ducks were present by area 5.
Red crested Pochard: sixty two were present today.
Gadwall: twenty two were on the lake.
Redwing: ninety two were present in small flocks.
Fieldfare: five flew through.
three were birds were in area 24 this afternoon. Though frustratingly elusive after they were flushed from scattered bird seed in the Elm scrub.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10th January

Much the same as yesterday, though the temperature was above freezing throughout the day.

Little Grebe:
two in area 5.
Mandarin Duck: an astonishing seventy six birds were present around area 5 this morning.
Red crested Pochard: sixty six in area 5.
Water Rail: one seen in area 2.
Fieldfare: thirty four flew through, with a ten feeding on the ground by the zoo car park, area 34.
Redwing: sixty plus were present in small flocks around the park.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

9th January

Common Teal: seven birds were present, mainly around the edge of area 5.
Northern Shoveler: fifty eight were also by area 5, though some were commuting between there and area 1.
Gadwall: sixteen in area 5.
Mandarin: at least thirty present, but they are hard to count as they hide deep in shrubs on area 5.
Red crested Pochard: thirty eight in area 5.
Tufted Duck: three hundred and twenty present.
Pochard: two hundred and seventy present.
Redwing: thirty plus very mobile birds.
six flew through.

Friday, January 08, 2010

8th January

Strange plumaged Black-headed Gull present on the lake from mid morning.

Egyptian Goose: forty eight present in area 26.
Common Teal: 2 females first seen in area 26, before moving to area 1.
Northern Shoveler: twenty four birds commuting between the open patch of water on the main lake and area 1.
Mandarin Duck: at least thirty eight birds present.
Red crested Pochard: fifty two present.
Redwing: thirty two birds feeding around the park.
Fieldfare: four single birds flew through.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

7th January

Feeding the waterfowl on the ice helps to create a larger area of water. This is due to their combined weight braking large chunks off. This then thaws out due to the amount of disturbance they cause whilst feeding.

The rail ditch is almost completely frozen over, but one bird can just about be made out using the feeding station.

The cold weather finally saw a few birds moving over the park. This weather is really going to affect those species where insects and other invertebrates form a a large part of their diets if not all. Though fresh water wading birds will also be affected.

Water Rail:
only one bird was seen in the rail ditch, area 2 this morning.
a flock of eight flew south-east at 11.40am and then a single bird flew west at 12.20pm.
Skylark: one flew east at 8.ooam.
Hawfinch: the back end of two flew east at 8.10am.
Fieldfare: thirty-six flew though in small flocks.
Redwing: sixty-eight were seen, some passing over and others looking for food.
Chiffchaff: one was in area 10 this morning.

Monday, January 04, 2010

4th January

The wetland scrape is frozen solid, if there was a wintering rail here then it has surely moved to warmer pastures.

Feeding time in area 26, and the number of wild waterfowl joining the collection birds is increasing.

Water Rail: one was seen briefly in area 2.
Redwing: forty-six were present in small flocks.
Fieldfare: eleven landed in area 1 at 9.50am.
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