Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday 8th January

I had another unexpected free morning today, so I made good use of the time by visiting the Park. The day started sunny and crisp, but by quarter to ten the conditions started to deteriorate as a dense freezing fog began to cover the Park.

At least 3 Goldcrests were noted, 2 Bullfinch were seen by the old steps to the old gardens, a Nuthatch was heard calling from a Beech, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were noted, a Green Woodpecker was heard, and a flock of 10+ Siskins were seen along the River Len.

3 Kingfishers could be seen hunting and chasing each other along the River Len, 2 Grey Herons were seen, and in the Alder Carr along the River Len were 3 Water Rail, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Grey Wagtail, and 1 drake Teal.


By the time I had reached the Lake the fog was at its thickest. The Lake was still frozen over with just a small section clear at the eastern end. Birds of particular note were 3 Mute Swan, 32 Canada Geese, 15 Pochard, and 4 Tufted Ducks. The gull flock produced at least 92 Black-headed Gulls, 25 Common Gulls, and 1 adult Herring Gull.

As I stood on the track by the Weir I heard what I believed to be a faint bugling sound. A had a quick look around me but came to the conclusion that must have been hearing things and subsequently carried on scanning the edges of the Lake. But then, just a few minutes later, the distinctive throbbing sound of a swan’s wingbeats drew my attention to a swan shaped bird flying overhead, coming down out of the fog, and landing on the ice with faultless expertise. Thankfully no dogwalkers were around at the time and after about 20minutes the now identified WHOOPER SWAN folded its left leg up and appeared to be relaxed. With the wings appearing to be undamaged and there being no rings on its legs, could this be a wild bird brought down by the thick fog? Whenever a walker crossed the Weir the swan instantly lifted it's head, with its neck outstretched, to keep an eye on the passer-by, not taking its eyes of the subject.


A Whooper Swan is a first for me in the Park, and it is a first for the Park records too, I couldn't believe my eyes and to say I was elated would be putting it lightly!

I visited the Park again just as it was getting dark. The Little Owl could be seen sitting in the Old Oak and the Little Egret was seen flying into the wood at the bottom of Jenner's Bank. The Whooper Swan was in the same place as it was this morning but had the company of a flock of 56 Canada Geese. The Park was very quiet and by sneaking up to the edge of the Lake I managed to grab 1 decent shot before it noticed me and moved further out on the lake after hearing my camera's shutter.


It appeared alot more cautious than earlier, and when walkers came along the track it would often take to the water and move a little way towards the middle of the Lake, despite having the company of the other waterfowl.


Greenie said...

Simon ,
That's the first time of fog assisting birdwatching .
What a great sighting .
Well done .

Warren Baker said...

Whooper Swan, Unbelievable! Well done Simon. Funny how these things happen, when you only went out because of an enexpected frre morning. Good sighting Mate!

Ken said...

Nice sighting of a Whooper Swan Simon. Is that a first for the park? Good pictures of W/Swan and what looks like a female Kingfisher.

Simon said...

Ken-yes, Whooper Swan is a first for the Park.

Marcus Lawson said...

Cracking record Simon, no reason to doubt it's a wild bird. Let's hope the hordes at the weekend don't spook it.

Adam said...

Hi Simon

Great photos - it's great when you get something new on the patch!


Next Event - TBA