Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wednesday 6th January

Firstly HAPPY NEW YEAR to all those who read my blog.

It must be said that I didn't get to visit the park as often as I wished in 2009, and this year may well be the same as my studies at University continue. I finished the year with 96 species - 1 bird up from the 2008 total - but I managed to find not just new species for myself but a few new ones for the Park records as well. I wonder what this year will hold?!!

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The Long Valley
(Viewed from the east, on the edge of the Old Cattle Area)

A grand house, known as "The Mote", was sited in the base of this valley from the thirteenth century until 1799 when it was demolished and the new (and current) house was built to the east of the Lake. "The Mote" was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, Henry VIII's grandmother.

The Doric Column Pavilion in the left of the photo was constructed as a memorial to the volunteers of Kent during the Napoleonic War. The grand opening of this monument included a huge banquet feeding 5,228 soldiers and royalty, including King George III.

Just over an inch of snow fell during the night, so the park was a wonderful winter white for my first visit of the New Year. The sky was dominated by snow clouds and it was continually snowing throughout my walk. The Lake was almost completely covered with ice and only the far eastern section was open for the wildfowl to feed.

Snowy Jenner's Bank

During my visit today I managed a respectable 41 species to begin my patch bird list for 2010. Small birds were very active with the cold weather driving them to focus almost exclusively on feeding. A few birds spared the time to proclaim territories however, with a few Blue and Great Tits heard singing and a Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard drumming from the large Oaks just inside the Willington Street boundary wall. The woodpecker’s drumming is a sound I look forward to each year so much. It is such an atmospheric sound and this bird’s drum seemed to resonate quite a distance through the snowy silence shrouding the Park.


4 Goldcrests were noted, a Coal Tit sang briefly from a Yew by the Old Walled Garden, a flock of at least 19 Siskin were seen moving around the park, almost every piece of hedgerow contained a Bullfinch this morning – with at least 10 birds being counted – at least 12 Redwing passed through the park, a Grey Heron was perched in an Oak in the Old Cattle Area (the large area of rough grassland), a Nuthatch called from the trees near to the Carriage Bridge, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were noted, a Green Woodpecker was seen, a Linnet was heard flying north and a Meadow Pipit flew east.

A Grey Wagtail called as it flew from the river bank by the Carriage Bridge and 2 Little Grebes were feeding a little further down river by the footbridge. A Cormorant flew over the Lake and a Grey Heron could be seen standing on the Lake’s western edge. On the tiny area of Lake's ice-free water was 1 Great Crested Grebe, at least 24 Pochards and 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan, and 3 Canada Geese. The Coot numbers have notably increased and the gull flock consisted of at least 67 Black-headed Gulls and 21 Common Gulls.

Drake Pochard


Warren Baker said...

More birds in mote park than on my patch at the moment Simon. I see you have plenty of Bullfinch's, they seem to be doing well here also.

Greenie said...

Simon ,
You seem to have got off lightly with the snow , we had 3 inches overnight .
As you say , a very respectable 41 for the day .
Like the Bullfinch shot .

Next Event - TBA