I visited the park this morning and did my usual route covering both sides of the River Len and the Lake. The weather was sunny with some scattered cloud and there was a calm southerly wind blowing. With leaves changing colours, the earthy smells and lots of edible fruits on offer, autumn was my Grandad’s favourite time of year.
At least 11 Chiff Chaffs were seen during my visit – mainly in mixed feeding flocks – a Treecreeper called from the tallest Wellingtonia along Laurel Walk, 2 Goldcrest were heard, 3 Nuthatch were heard, 4 Blackcap were noted, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers called from the Len Valley, 6 young Green Woodpeckers were spotted, 3 Jay were heard, and a young Sparrowhawk called from the wood at the bottom of Jenner’s Bank.
16 Canada Geese were on the Lake, along with 5 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Mute Swans and 2 Cormorants. 2 Grey Herons were perched on the Golf Course side of the Lake, a Kingfisher was spotted flying low over the Lake towards the Waterfall, and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and 4 winter-plumage Common Gulls had joined the 15+ Black-headed Gulls on the Lake. The most noticeable birds around the Lake, however, were the hirundines. The majority of the birds were martins, with House Martins numbering over 60 and Sand Martins in their 20s. Whilst scanning through all of these, the Goldfinch-like twittering of Swallows made me look up just in time to see 3 Swallows shoot over my head and join the martins feeding over the Lake. I followed the eastern Lake edge along to the point opposite the old boating ramps and just as I reached the bench on the point, I noticed a lone Swift scything its way through the martin flock - ALL 4 SPECIES that spend the summer in Britain, with Sand Martins being a first for the year!
5 Speckled Woods were the only butterflies seen, a Common Shrew darted across the path by the pond, several Rabbits were noted, and quite a few blackberries were eaten...YUM YUM.