Monday, May 07, 2012

Woodland Floor

Being home for the long May weekend means thats I am able to make a few visits to my number one favourite place, Mote Park.  Unfortunately the weather was mostly overcast and wet, but today the Sun was a welcome sight.  Saturday saw me up early to lead a Dawn Chorus Walk in the park.  10 people joined me in the newly revamped main car park and braved the cold and wet.  It rained constantly throughout the walk, but it didn't damped the birds' spirits.

Hirundines over the Lake

A second visit later in the day produced a singing Lesser Whitethroat by the Watersports Centre - a difficult bird to find in the park.  A Willow Warbler was singing by the Inlet, 1 Sedge Warbler was singing in the reed bed at the mouth of the Len (first of the year), 4 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, and a pair of Goldcrests were seen on Jenner's Bank.  It was wonderful to see large numbers of Swallows, Swifts and House Martins feeding over the Lake on both Saturday and Sunday.  On Sunday the first Reed Warbler of the year had replaced the Sedge Warbler in the large reed bed at the mouth of the Len, and there were a few other individuals singing from the pockets of reed bed around the Lake.  A pair of Grey Wagtails were spotted along the River Len, looking very handsome at the moment.

Fledgling Long-tailed Tit

Today the sun was shining, but that still didn't stop a few drops of rain from falling!  3 Treecreepers were noted, fledglings of both Long-tailed Tits and Song Thrushes were seen, and Stock Doves are busy setting up homes.  It was a joy to see a beautiful Fox at the foot of Jenner's Bank, laying in the sunshine amongst the rushes and Red Campion, and several Orange-tips and Green-veined Whites were also seen.


On the Lake, 4 pairs of Tufted Duck still remain, 2 pairs of Great Crested Grebes continue to display to each other, and 8 Mute Swans grace the water.  It has since been reported to me that a pair of Egyptian Geese were spotted by the Weir this morning.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

It has been a busy Easter weekend, with live small mammal trapping taking place in the park, plus an RSPB bird walk.

Bird-wise, the first Willow Warbler of the year was heard on Saturday, in the scrub between the Lake and the Volunteers Memorial - one of my favourite songsters! The Little Owl has been spotted frequently, 5 Mediterranean Gulls have been regulars on the Lake, and a Kestrel can be spotted hunting over the rough grassland areas. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs are singing throughout the park, both Grey and Pied Wagtails can be seen around the Lake edges, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers continue to drum.

It has been fantastic to get up close and personal with the park's small mammals, with 5 species being recorded so far over the weekend. These are Woodmice (often called Fieldmice), Yellow-necked Mice, Bank Voles, Field Voles, and Common Shrews. Over the many years that I have been visiting Mote Park, I have now recorded 22 different species of mammal.

Photos will follow...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another beautiful day to visit Mote Park!

Not long after I had entered the park, I was greeted with the lovely fluty notes of a Blackcap - first of the year, and the first of 2 birds today. It was great to also hear 6 Chiffchaffs too, up from 2 yesterday! 5 Stock Doves were noted, 1 Jay was seen, 3 Treecreepers were heard, 4 Goldcrests were singing, 1 Green Woodpecker yaffled, a Pheasant called from the marsh at the east end of the Lake, and a Sparrowhawk called near Jenner's Bank.

11 Mute Swans were gathered on the Lake, along with 3 Great Crested Grebes. The Black-headed Gull flock on the eastern section of the Lake held several Common Gulls, 9 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Herring Gulls, and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull. It was fantastic to hear a Kingfisher call as it flew west over the new bridge and along the Mote House side of the Lake - only the second record this year.

The New Bridge
(replacing the old flood-prone Weir bridge)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Highs of 22 degrees centigrade during my walk today, t-shirt weather! Sun equals lots of people, which although means a bit of disturbance, it is great to see people using the park.

3 Green Woodpeckers were seen, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers called, 3 Nuthatch were heard, 3 Treecreepers were also heard, and 4 Goldcrests were singing. 6 Stock Doves were noted, 2 Jays were seen, 1 Little Owl was spotted, and it was great to find 2 Chffchaffs singing. Highlight of my visit was watching a Common Buzzard soaring over Jenner's Bank - a first for the year!

Common Buzzard

6 Mute Swans were of note on the Lake along with 3 Great Crested Grebes. 2 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding on bread with the Black-headed Gulls along the Causeway and by the new bridge.

Horse Chestnut Bud

A Comma butterfly was seen on Jenner's Bank, plus it was great to see Lesser Celandine, Daffodils, and Early Dog Violet in flower.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On Saturday (17th), I had been asked to help oversee the de-silting of the Old Pond in Mote Park, the favourite feeding ground for Water Rails, Little Egret, and on some occasions Snipe, Jack Snipe, and Green Sandpiper. I couldn't miss this opportunity!

During what was a showery morning, the process went very smoothly, and the animals that call it home should be relatively unaffected. The park is certainly going through some exciting changes at the moment and more photos will be added over future posts.

I was in the park for the whole morning, and its was fantastic to hear the first singing Chiffchaffs of the year! Also noted was a Kingfisher by the Waterfall - a brilliant record - 4 Treecreepers, 2 Nuthatch, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Stock Doves, and 4 Goldcrests. Several Med Gulls were noted flying over throughout the morning.

For those interested, I have added 2 walks for the spring on my events page, more will follow in due course. All events are free but booking is essential.
Next Event - TBA