Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Wollaton Park, 30th March

Although the weather has been awful and looks set to continue for a while, i decided to risk getting wet for the sake of not staying in all day before work! It was actually reasonably nice once i'd got out, apart from one or two showers.

In the trees at the end of the football fields (one of the best spots in the park), there was a hive of activity. Birds were singing all over the place, blue tits and great tits were in abundance, but the most noticeable call was the sound of calling Nuthatch which was heard throughout the park today, and a good number were seen, indicating that this species is doing very well here. A couple of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers were heard and i got great views of one drumming at the top of a tree. Also in the area were a good number of Goldfinch and Greenfinch, as well as some starlings and song thrush. My first confirmed Stock dove was seen, as two were seen roosting high in the treetops and my first Treecreeper of the area.

More nuthatch were heard singing while walking across the deer park to the conservation area woodland. I stayed to observe this area for a while after hearing a Green Woodpecker but after viewing for 15 minutes nothing was seen, although a Tawny Owl was heard calling from the trees, odd during the day! The woodpecker was heard again, along with more nuthatch, but still stayed elusive. A Mistle Thrush was seen feeding on the woodland floor with a small group of Woodpigeon. My first Buzzard of the area was seen here today, other than sparrowhawks, i've never seen raptors here, possibly due to the very urban location. He didnt stick round for long, gliding of south, possibly towards the trent.

The sun decided to come out after a while, producing a lovely rainbow, which looked nice set back on a sunny landscape.

I walked over to the other conservation area near the lake, where i saw a Coal Tit, feeding in the conifers, the first proper view of this bird i've had this year. As ever, there were even more nuthatch present. Near the lake were a group of Carrion Crows enjoying a bath in a large puddle.

There were less birds than usual on the lake today, with no gulls present at all, which is odd as there are usually hundreds, and only a few wintering wildfowl left, including 2 Northern Shoveler, 7 Gadwall, along with all the other usual waterfowl. Another Treecreeper was seen in the trees next to the lake.

In all a very good walk with some interesting species for the area, some of which i hadn't expected to see here. :)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Brackenhurst and Clifton, 26th march

To celebrate handing in my dissertation this morning i decided to go for a walk around brackenhurst in the morning, and then clifton later in the afternoon.

I was a bit dubious about going round brack, as i'd only walked round it last week, but it was a great walk nonetheless. The weather was reasonably good, fairly windy with sunny spells.
There were a lot of Goldfinch about today, i only see a couple here and there usually, but there were loads around the hall, and i saw plenty across the fields too. Walking across the sheepfields (1st +2nd park) was a very windy experience with little to see bird-wise, although a Sparrowhawk was heard calling from the copse in the SW corner. A Kestrel was seen feeding over Halloughton field, the first of 4 which would be seen today.

I altered my route a little, going down gypsy lane to eventually come out at the bottom of sheepwalks west, which was rewarded with a number of skylark being sighted. some were feeding at the end of the track in the field margins, and soon scattered as i approached, while a few were seen singing high in the sky. Walking towards sheepwalks, several more were seen flitting in and out of the grass, a lovely sight indeed.

As i entered sheepwalks, the first thing i noticed was 3 Brown Hare, boxing in the middle of the field, a sight i have not seen previously. walking round, a total of 5 hares was seen and i got to watch them for a while, which made a change from just seeing them run off as usual. got some pics but they were too far away for my 200mm lens! (must get a 500mm!!!) While watching the hares i was treated to the sound of singing Dunnocks, as well as my first singing Chiffchaff of the year! The hare's lives looked in danger for a short while, as two Buzzard flew overhead, but they lost interest and soon glided off northwards. the hares didn't seem to notice! Also notable was the number of wrens heard singing, showing that the population here is doing particularly well, i usually see one or two, but there seemed to be a good number about.

A Hare in the Distance


Two Tufted duck and a single male
were on sheepwalks pond, and a Coot was heard calling from the reeds. A Grey Heron was seen flying off and gliding round the fields too, possibly flying off its latest meal, as there was a lot of Common Frogs in the pond. My first Peacock Butterfly of the year was also seen, sunning itself on some reeds.

In the ringing area and the track which runs back to the campus, there were a lot of birds about as usual, as not only do they get supplementary feeding, but the fields around here are farmed sympathetically and there is lots of food around for them, as well as extensive and high quality hedgerows. There was mainly Yellowhammer, Chaffinch and Blue tit, but 4 female Bullfinch were sighted as well as my first Greater spotted woodpecker for the area.

On the way back i walked through the equestrian centre, where i saw 2 Pied Wagtail, along with about 400 Starling, feeding and resting at the tops of trees, with a small number of Redwing and Fieldfare remaining, though these can't be around for long!

So a good walk this morning, with 30 bird species, with c700 individuals counted. plenty of signs of spring, (chiffchaff, butterfly, frogs and flowers). now off to clifton to see if there are any migrants about!!!

I got back into town around 2pm, and the weather had turned cloudy and a lot windier. this didn't bode well for a walk around the fields, but i still got on the bus with my friend amy, optimistic as ever.

got to clifton around 3pm, and made our way down through the village, and the weather brightened up a little. There were plenty of birds singing in the gardens, mostly House Sparrows, Greenfinch and Blackbirds. Lots of flowers about too. In the car park at the top of the grove there were a couple of Nuthatch singing, and one was seen high up in a tree, a new species for me at this area.

There were loads of birds singing in the grove, mainly Tit species and Robins, although a Chiffchaff was singing loudly too. A Common Toad was nearly stepped on by amy, and was carried to safety by me, which was great as i have never seen one before, so it was pretty cool to have one in my hands! A GS Woodpecker was seen in the trees, drumming away, and while locating it, a Buzzard was seen flying above the trees.

Holme pit had a few birds on it, nothing special just the usual Mallards, swans, tufties, coots and a Cormorant. There was a 1st-winter Swan and two Canada geese feeding in the field to the north of the pit. Another Buzzard flew over, calling as it went, and there were plenty of corvids flying about, mainly Rooks and Crows, but a couple of Jackdaws were also seen (first for the area!) Amy counted 16 Frogs in the shallows near the landing stage on the pit.

After this i made my way to branshill wood, to look at the recently ploughed field in front of the pond to look for migrants, as some have been seen here of late, unfortunately, none were seen, and there was just one Heron feeding here. In between clifton wood and branshill wood, there were many Tit species about, a few Song thrush singing, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. 3 Greylag geese were feeding in the distance, and another heron was seen. On the way back 2 Mistle thrush were seen feeding in the field next to foxcovet lane and clifton wood.

I think more could have been seen today, but both me and amy were quite tired, and the weather wasn't great, so we headed back without venturing into the fields. 31 species were seen today, which is about average, but i feel more could have been seen with more time and energy!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Brackenhurst 18th March

I didnt get to go round brack in feb, although i suspect it was a reasonably quiet month (apart from the red kite sighted there a few weeks back). But now spring is beginning (just about) i ventuerd out on a reasonably nice day to see what i could see.

Brackenhurst has over 100 birds on its species list, but in all the time i've been walking round there, my list has only got to 29, but today i managed to push it up to 41 birds.

Saw my first kestrels and buzzards today. i first heard a kestrel calling from some trees and as i got closer it flew low over a field and landed in another tree. While attempting to get closer, it fle once again, and it as then that i sa 2 buzzards circling in the distance, hearing them call to each other. after watching for a while, 2 other buzzards were seen in another field.

I proceeded onto 'sheepwalks' fields, and the first thing i saw was a buzzard alighting on a fencepost in the far SW corner of the west field. I watched for a while, and he was on my route, but i didn't want to disturb him, so i had to alter it a bit. While watching him i had the best backing track available i think, a skylark singing high, right over my head. it was one of four i'd see today. On my altered route, down the path between the east and west fields, there were two more kestrels. i also saw my first butterfly of the year, not sure what it was, may have been a peacock.
A couple of Mallard and one coot were seen on sheepwalks pond, where i don't often see any waterfowl, and on the path behind it was a lot of dogs mercury coming into flower. There were a few bees beginning to wake up around the pond as well.

At the ringing site and in the surrounding fields were up to around 100 yellowhammer, the best views i'd got of these, as usually they just run and hide, but as i stayed quiet, thy gained confidence and i managed to get a couple of shots. There were also a lot of chaffinch, a couple of reed bunting and a group of tree sparrows around here too. In the field next to it i also spotted a brown hare sitting low in the middle of the field.

coming back i saw a pied wagtail at the equestrian centre, which was odd as i was just thinking how i'd expect to see one there. in the sheep fields near the uni i also managed to see around 600 starling, c100 fieldfare and c50 redwing all feeding and making quite a racket.

329 of the starlings, coloured in 50 bird groups

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Clifton 14th march

Visited clifton for the first time since january on sunday, it was a lovely sunny day and a good walk.

quantity wise there wasn't really much about, the wood seemed very quiet, with only a few tits and wrens heard, but not really anything to see. but just before getting to holme pit, an adult Buzzard flew overhead and glided above the trees for some time, calling as it went.

at holme pit there was also not much to see. a few Tufted Duck, Mallard and Coot.
However, looking to the sky for buzzards, i noticed a raptor flying very high overhead. Too small for a buzzard, not a kestrel, too large for a sparrowhawk, after viewing for a while i later confirmed it to be my 1st ever Peregrine Falcon.

A few other Buzzards were seen around the area, hunting and calling, 1st time i've heard them calling since late summer. in the alder plantation was another buzzard, which with further observation seemed to look a little strange. it is a possibility that it was the Red-tailed Hawk that has been resident at the site for 4 years, but not 100% so i'm not going to 'list' it. guess i'll have to keep my eyes peeled. a single Mistle Thrush was seen feeding in the field between the alder plantation and the rough wood.

saw 3 Jays making a racket in the rough wood, and one in the field opposite, and walking down davids lane, another was seen in the alder plantation. Green Woodpeckers were heard calling but wouldn't show themselves so no 1st sighting for fred, who was with me!

lastly, the weir field. it was very windy so i thought it was going to be very quiet, and a look for Snipe in the yellowgate pond was unsuccessful. however, a couple of Kestrel were seen hunting. There were a group of lapwing, i counted 25ish, though there may have been more, and these truly made my day as they were displaying and calling (what a strange beautiful noise they make!) There was also a HUGE number of fieldfare, 200-300 birds on the field, and several Skylark were heard singing, and one was spotted. Other birds of note were Song Thrush and a single Reed Bunting, my first for the area.

No good photos from today i'm afraid.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Garden Update

Had an influx of birds in the garden today, which came as a surprise. Previously only one dunnock has been seen in there, and usually just flies off. today i saw four seperate birds, feeding and staying in the hedge, a few were obviously males as they have been chasing each other about quite a lot, and i think one is a female as she is just hopping around nonchanantly. hopefully there will be some breeding going on and they'll nest in the hedge :)

Also seen were 2 blackbirds, a male and female, a woodpigeon, and my first great tit in my garden and for the area! brilliant!

no sign of the rat, though he was in the garden for a long time yesterday, not sure whether this is a good thing with nesting going on......

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bristol Trip

Went to see some old friends in bristol the over the weekend, had a great time but didn't get to check out many birds, though that would have been a little anti-social. I did however see my first ever Raven, seen flying high over the clifton suspension bridge. No photo unfortunately as it was very far away. Not really anything else of interest, though the bright sunny weather was making the birds sing loudly!

a trip around victoria park allowed me to get a couple of nice Black Headed Gull shots though, which were rather nice:)

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ticklist Update

Now its march and i'm getting on with my first ever bird list. February produced 16 new species, bringing the 2010 total to 79 bird species. I didn't have as many site visits this month as in january, but still managed to see plenty of good wildlife.

Highlights were -
Greater Spotted woodpeckers at Potteric Carr and Wollaton
1st Willow Tit and 1st Water Rail
Firecrest, Treecreeper and Nuthatch at Bestwood Country Park
Redwings at various locations
Snowdrops popping up everywhere.

Now we have March to look forward to, the weather is set to improve now, and the 1st true signs of spring will be showing well in the next few weeks. Uni dissertation is also in at the end of the month, so got that to look forward to!