Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Attenborough, 23rd feb

A cold and windy walk was had yesterday around atteborough nature reserve. i always forget how bloody COLD it gets here, very windy. There was plenty of birds about though.

enjoying the free food around the visitor centre was all the usual wildfowl, including the resident Ruddy Shelduck and a surprise for me, a White-cheeked Pintail, a lifer for me!

On the scrapes on tween pond were loads of gulls, as well as 10 Lapwing, a couple of Shelduck and a Grey Heron.

Spent some time watching the feeders from the Kingfisher hide, which were being frequented by large numbers of Great Tits, Dunnocks, Robins and a couple of Chaffinches. The best bit though were the group of around 10 Tree Sparrows, a locally and nationally rare species, and seeing all the birds scatter as a male Sparrowhawk raced out of the bushes to launch a failed attack.

Other birds seen on the way round the reserve were a lot of winter wildfowl - Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon and Pochard. The ever-tranquil Delta hide held many of these birds, as well as a Little Grebe.

On the cricket pitch just outside the reserve were a flock of around 50 Goldfinch, making a racket in the hedgerows, and around 30 Redwing and a single Mistle Thrush. There were also a large number of G0osander in various locations across the reserve.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

This weekend...

Had a trip to wollaton on saturday, was going to go birding on my own to attenborough, but ended up going for a short walk at wollaton with a group of friends. didn't see too much, as i didn't get chance to stop much, but there were still lots of birds on the lake, including some lesser black backed gulls and some gadwall. Saw one very shy jay flitting between the woodland in the conservation area too. The woodland near the football fields was bustling too, but again i couldn' stop for long so didn't see much, other than some nuthatch and a large flock of song thrush.

On sunday i went back to my parents house in Sleaford, where i went for a little walk across some farmland and to a large lake by the railway. Had a nice walk after some heavy snow this morning, which ended up being a lovely sunny wintry day. There were plenty of birds to be seen, including a flock of Reed Bunting feeding in a field of cabbage and staying away from me in the safety of a hedgerow. A large flock of small brown birds failed to get ID'd but i can only imagine they were linnet or corn bunting- too small and quick!

Some scrubby wet woodland near the lake held large numbers of Goldfinch and other passerines, and the lake had a good number of waterbirds on it. Tufted duck, Pochard, Mallard and Coot were present, along with around 150 Greylags (plus another c100 over), c100 Black Headed Gulls, with a couple of Common Gulls and 1 Lesser Black Backed gull. A strange looking greylag was there too, with odd plumage looking like a hybrid with a canada goose.

Finally there were c200 Fieldfare feeding in a field with some Blackbirds, and while watching c25 Lapwing flew overhead, and a Kestrel was seen hunting.

Good day watching some farmland birds, probably my favourite habitat for wildlife watching, as you never really know what you're going to get :)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

More from the garden

There's about 5 blackbirds that visit my garden to my knowledge. There's 2 males, 1 male with some white plumage on its face and a couple of females. today i was looking in my garden from the lounge and one of the males was out there eating some seed and an apple core that i'd tossed out there just 10 mins earlier. then the pesky little rat came back and started terrorizing the blackbird, stealing all the food! The blackbird sat on the fence for quite some time before getting bored and flying off, but not before i could get some photos of him. they're actually pretty good despite the light being terrible and shooting from inside a dark kitchen.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Bestwood CP

I visited bestwood CP a few times last year, but hadn't been here since november so thought it was time for another visit, so hopped on a tram with fred to check it out.

Its a big old place with lots to see, there's the woodland and meadows at leen pastures, woods and water at mill lakes, the HUGE expanse of old mining land at the pit tip, and then a massive patch of ancient woodland, dominated by oak and birch, the southernmost tip of sherwood forest. Taking in all of this, it took around 4 hours to wander the whole thing.

Started off not really seeing much of interest, apart from a flock of house sparrows near the tram bridge along with plenty of passerines about and lots of birds on the lakes. A peek through my bins towards some alder on an island in the lake produced a sighting of about 1oo Lesser redpoll, a good year tick, which were spooked by something and flocked about for a while which was nice to see.

About 20 Goldfinch were seen on the path to the pit tip, there's a very good population of these charming birds at the park. A Green Woodpecker was spotted flying over the pit tip, and a further 2 were heard calling. A single Kestrel was seen hunting though it was very far away.

Ended up in the woods, not expecting to see much, but it ended up being a little bit surprising really. Within the space of a few minutes, i saw a Treecreeper, a Nuthatch and best of all, 2 Firecrest! Thought they were goldcrest to begin with, but after watching them for a while all the 'jizz' matched up to confirm that these were 2 firecrests, locally and nationally rare birds! Talk about woodland specialists!!! An owl was heard 'whining' from low in the undergrowth and managed to get very close, but without actually seeing it so i'm not sure what species it was. might have to go back!

good day in all, mostly down to a good walk, but the birds were good too, and i managed a few year ticks :)

It wasn't a great day for photography unfortunately but i managed a couple of shots, including a couple of views from the pit tip of the wood, and a canada goose getting AGGY with its friend.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

As the sun was shining this morning, i decided to go to wollaton park for what was meant to be a short walk, so i could come back and do some uni work. it didn't turn out to be, as i usually have someone with me when i go (stopping me from stopping every 20 metres to look at something), but unattended, i ended up staying for about 4 and a half hours.

I wasn't expecting a lot, as it can be quite hit and miss there, but the park was bustling with wildlife today. The first thing i saw was a flock of around 200 Redwing feeding on the sports fields. I then walked down to a wooded area at the end of the fields, where i've seen Nuthatch on previous trips, and lo and behold i got to see one, which alerted me to its presence by tweeting away and flittering around on a tree. In the same area i saw 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, birds i'm seeing more and more these days (never used to see any!), they were drumming and chasing each other, springs on its way! I would have stayed longer as there were a few birds i could hear and not see which i wasn't sure on, but i lost one of my eyepieces for my bins in the leaf litter, so got annoyed and walked off.

Continuing on towards the lake i took time to photograph the red deer stags, which were quite happy for me to snap them, unlike the Fallow deer, which ran away soon after seeing me.

On the lake was a very large number of wildfowl and gulls, more than usual and all making quite a din. Species of note were Gadwall, Pochard, Wigeon, Common Gull and a Grey Heron.
Some more red deer were in the woods next to the lake, which was lovely to see.

Walking away from the lake i saw a very loud Jay, and later near the gardens i spotted several more, feeding under a yew tree, along with more Nuthatch. Also in the gardens were a large number of passerines, and some Snowdrops. I also got some cracking shots of a couple of Carrion Crows, which i usually find impossible to photograph.

all in all a great day, with 31 species of bird seen :)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

My garden

Living on Alfreton Road, a very busy road on the way out of nottingham, i always thought it'd be pretty devoid of wildlife in comparison to where i lived previously, up in mapperley park. Up there there were nice tree lined streets, big gardens and it was generally quiet. Here in Radford, it is very busy, small gardens, not much habitat and so i thought it'd be dead. living here for 5 months though, i have ended up seeing a fair bit, albeit not in any abundance, of wildlife surviving in this urban jungle. so far i've seen 12 bird species, which isn't too bad.

My garden is pretty horrible (needs a good tidy), but i installed a makeshift bird table (just a bit of wood attatched to a fence by some shelf brackets) and regularly put out seed for the birds. i get some regulars, a pair of blackbirds, a dunnock and now and again i get a wren and a woodpigeon. Every so often a pair of town pigeons come and hoover everything up, which can be annoying.
I've also put in a composter, which hadsn't composted very well as yet, though i'm guessing this is partly due to the cold weather. however, the other day i was putting stuff in when somethoing caught my eye, a BROWN RAT was sitting inside chomping on an old corn on the cob. before i realised properly what it was, it crawled out of a hole it had dug in the side and scarpered out the garden, skidding as he went. very funny! anyway, he and a female blackbird were fighting over an apple core this morning, chasing each other about. i managed to get a picture of the rat, which is rubbish due to the terrible light and taking it through the window.

oh and there's a picture of my oak, grown from an acorn about 5 years ago now!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Potteric Carr, 3rd february

Although its not in Nottinghamshire, i'm going to write a report of my latest trip out, which was to Potteric Carr near Doncaster.
i'd been recommended to go here, and from looking at the site this reserve looked like a must. it took a good while to get there (90 mins on train, 30mins walk from doncaster train station!) but was worth it in the end.
first hide i went in (of 14 available) and there didn't seem much about, but eventually i was treated to the sight of a green woodpecker in the distance. it was very far away but i saw it numerous times as it flitted between the trees and a reedbed. there were a lot of small passerines about, especially blue tits (which were singing everywhere). Saw a couple of Bullfinch walking down towards st catherines copse.

There are two hides near the visitors centre, willow pool hide and beeston hide. Both held some nice sightings for me. the willow pool hide was bonkers as there were literally birds EVERYWHERE. landing all over the place, jumping about, i didnt know where to look. there were a lot of Reed Buntings, which was good as i haven't got views of them as good as this before (the females were lovely), countless tits and chaffinches. I noticed a couple of siskin in the trees behind the hide, but the highlights were a Great spotted woodpecker that popped down and fed a couple of times from the table, and a willow tit (1st i've seen) which landed briefly in a small tree.
Beeston hide produced sightings of 2 water rails (lifers for me) and a good sighting of a bittern, slowly flying across the large reedbeds which grow there.

I made my way to huxter well marsh and visited a few hides down there before heading back, there were huge numbers of wildfowl on the marsh, often flying up and landing again, creating quite a spectacle. most were gadwall, teal and mallard, but there were a few pochard, goldeneye, shelduck and shoveler about too, among others.

As it was getting darker i decided to walk back, stopping off at the decoy marsh hide to see a couple of mute swan, struggling in the ice, along with around 15 shoveler, a beautiful bird with striking plumage. Then i walked back to the train station, with aching feet, just as it was beggining to snow.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Year list

I'm keeping record of both wildflower and birds in the form of 'tick lists' this year. not going to do it for fungi, cos they're so tricky to confidently ID. I'll update each month with the latest numbers on the lists.

this month its a measly 4 species on my wildflower list, whereas on the birds, i've managed to reach 63 species of bird so far. not really got a target this year, though 150 would be nice.

January 2010

As its february now, i thought i'd just wrap up what happened in january in one big post, as there's too much to go back on and do single entries for each day.

January turned out to be a good month for birding and i managed to get out about twice a week, which was nice. The weather has been very cold and there's been a lot of snow and ice, though in the later stages of the month, this gave way to grey and dull weather with lots of rain. lovely.

On the 4th i ventured out for a walk with my dad in sleaford, down the river slea heading out towards evedon. we had a good walk with some excellent views of some Kingfishers which shone beautifully in the sun. also saw a flock of around 5o Greenfinch, some Lapwing, plenty of Fieldfares and Redwings and a brief glimpse of a Common Buzzard.

Went back to nottingham on tuesday the 5th and had a wander around Attenborough NR. It was very cold and the lakes had all frozen over, apart from little areas where waterfowl were congregating. Despite the cold weather there was still lots of wildlife about, including many gulls, including greater and lesser black backed, common and one sighting of a mediterranean gull on the works pond. Managed to get some cracking shots of a robin which was coming within inches of me down the path to the delta wood. There wasn't anything to see at the delta hide, but on the trent there were some waterfowl including 5 goosander, 2 teal and 12 common pochard. A Bittern was observed from the tower hide in the reed bed on clifton pond, showing well on the ice for a few minutes. A red fox was seen running over the ice on clifton pond, chasing the wildfowl.

Visited Arnot Hill Park in Arnold on the 8th, and enjoyed looking at the wildfowl collection there, including black swans and red crested pochards. I took some seed which was well received by the birds, especially some feral pigeons which literally ate out of my hand. Fed some to some redwings and blackbirds back in town on mansfield road too.

Went to Brackenhurst on the 13th, another very cold an bleak day with much snow underfoot. Didn't expect much, but ended up having a good day, seeing the 1st ever Bittern recorded at the site, loads of yellowhammer, a fox and a hare, along with many other birds. 18 species in total with c225 birds :)

Made my first visit to Clifton Grove this year on the 18th. Saw all my usual birds for this area, including two of the many Common Buzzards that reside there. also saw 7 Kestrel, all seperate birds, which is quite a good tally for such a small area. A female sparrowhawk has seen briefly on the fence near holme pit, and 2 others were heard calling. A short eared owl was also heard. other species of note were a single female Goosander on holme pit, 3 greater spotted woodpeckers heard drumming around the grove and 6 Jays, making a racket as they flew through the trees in clifton wood. I also found a dead fox slung under a fence with its head split open, very nasty, though i did see one alive and well, hopefully it won't meet the same end.

Visited Arnot Hill again on a hungover saturday afternoon (23rd), and there were many song thrushes singing from the treetops, staking their territories for spring. The usual wildfowl were there too and i also saw a nice pair of female blackbirds, and my first House Sparrows of the year, which i don't often see around nottingham.

My last trip of january took me to Colwick Park on the 28th, which i hadn't visited since september. It was a great day, and i saw 40 different bird species, along with my first flowers of the year and a bit of fungi. Bird highlights were a group of shovelers on the loop lake, a flock of around 40 lapwing, around 45 Wigeon and a very vocal Greater spotted woodpecker, shouting from the treetops near the loop. Found some 'Split gill' fungi (Schizophyllum commune) growing on a log, which i haven't seen before, which was very nice to see. Saw my first ever Mandarin Duck as well as the first greenfinch i've seen in nottingham since last summer. Also of note were a lot of gulls, 5 species being recorded, and i found a dead Canada Goose, which seemed to have drowned, perhaps getting its head stuck under some weeds.

And thats your lot for January, a good productive month with plenty of birds and mammals seen. The fungi are still about and i'm now just beginning to see wildflowers popping up, spring is just round the corner :)