Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday 12th August

Grey skies greeted me for my walk this morning. It wasn’t until mid-morning when the sun began to peep through and the temperature became rather humid.

Goldcrests were very evident today with 7 birds being seen, mostly along Laurel Walk. Also along Laurel Walk were 2 Coal Tits. The whole length of the Len Valley was alive with birds this morning, with lots of mixed feeding flocks noted passing through. Birds spotted amongst the tit species were 7 Nuthatch, several Chiff Chaff, 2 Treecreeper, a few Blackcap and 4 Willow Warbler. A flock by the old carriage bridge attracted the attention of a female Sparrowhawk!! 3 young Sparrowhawk could be heard calling from various places in the Park, 5 Green Woodpeckers were noted, a flock of 6 Swallows flew north-east over the grassland, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker were spotted, 3 Spotted Flycatchers were by the large Beech tree in the area west of Mote House, at least 13 House Martins were feeding over the Lake, and at least 8 Bullfinch were seen.

Bullfinch - shame about the light!

Part of my usual walk incorporates the Georgian steps at the top of the grass bank south of the River Len. For anyone not familiar with the park, the grass bank is fairly steep and when you are standing at the top of these steps, good views of the Len Valley can be achieved. I try to always come by this way and when I do I always stop and scan the Len Valley and look for any birds flying over. I have never picked up anything particularly special, with my usual tally being gulls and corvids, with maybe the odd Sparrowhawk or Grey Heron. Today, however, at last my perseverance to stop at this spot has paid off!!! This morning, after 5 minutes of scanning I picked up the calls of angry Herring Gulls to the south of me, and within seconds I had spotted some shapes drifting high over the old church (Cobtree Hall). I could clearly see 1 bird was a bird of prey, buzzard-shape, but I just couldn’t be certain what it was. As they drifted ever closer, and eventually almost overhead, I could confirm that the bird of prey was in fact a HONEY BUZZARD!!! WOW!!! Unbelievable!!! A first for me in the Park. Below are some shots - I've had to crop them quite a bit!


A Kingfisher was seen flying along the eastern edge of the Lake, a Grey Heron was perched on the dead tree on the Golf course side of the Lake, and 1 Reed Warbler was singing from the marsh area. On the Lake were at least 7 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Mute Swans, 10 Canada Geese, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Herring Gull, and at least 14 Black-headed Gulls were noted.

Butterflies were not very active at all, with just 5 Meadow Browns, 5 Gatekeepers, 3 Small Whites, 3 Painted Ladies, 1 Comma and 1 Speckled Woods being seen, and 2 Banded Demoiselles were seen along the River Len.

Gatekeeper on thistle

At 8.45 this evening I returned to the park to carry out a bat survey. Bat surveys are always a good excuse to listen out for owls too and tonight 4 Tawny Owls were heard - mainly around the yew wood and Old Walled Garden east of Mote House. 7 species were seen in total, including Noctule, Serotine, Natterer's, Daubenton's, and Common and Soprano Pipistrelles. The 7th species recorded were 2 NATHUSIUS' PIPISTRELLE down by the Weir - the first ever recorded in the Park!!! What a day - 2 new species!!!

Nathusius' Pipistrelle have only been recorded in Britain since the 1940s and were long believed to be a migrant from the continent. In 1997, however, they were confirmed breeding and are now classed as an all-year-round resident. They have a scattered distribution but appear to be increasing fast.


Greenie said...

Simon ,
Even without the Honey Buzzard , that was a really good visit .
The HB just put the icing on the cake , and will probably wind up another blogger , not too far away from you !

Warren Baker said...

Sod off greenie!

Wow indeed Simon! perseverance always pays off in the end! I'm VERY VERY envious, I still havn't seen one yet!

Charlie P said...

Just saw your Honey Buzzard on Birdguides - fantastic patch tick, I'm still waiting for mine here in Firle (though a neighbour managed to see one over my house in June, curse him).

It seems we have a Honey or two wandering Sussex at the moment - several records in the Brighton area over recent weeks. Given the distances they can cover, I guess it's possible this might have accounted for your bird too.

Greenie said...

Simon ,
Well , you had the icing , then you got a Cherry on top too .
Great Bat species list .
Well done .

Adam said...

Fantistic record Simon - good to see some pics and getting a new bat species!!!



Breamcatcher said...

Just out of interest, how on earth can you manage to tell the bats apart? I see the bats whenever I go fishing in the park at dawn, but they're so quick and it's too dark to make anything out!

Nice blog.

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