Sunday, February 05, 2012
My first post for 2012, so I therefore wish a belated best wishes for the new year to all my blog readers who are still keeping an eye on my activities in Mote Park! I managed to visit a few times in January but just haven't had the time to update my blog. During last month I managed to catch up with Little Egret, Teal, and one of the resident Little Owls.
Today Mote Park had been iced with 5 inches of snow, creating an even more beautiful landscape to walk through - I do treasure a stroll in the snow!! Upon getting ready to venture over into the park, I noticed I had an unread text on my mobile from a local birder stating: "Two male Goosanders mote park..." - I think I broke my own quickest record for getting out the front door!!!
The park's birdlife overall was unsurprisingly pretty quiet - all too busy filling their bellies, and I don't blame them! The thin calls of Redwings could be heard from overhead throughout the visit, a Jay called from within the wood at the foot of Jenner's Bank, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 3 Treecreepers were heard calling, 3 Siskin were seen, and a Great Tit could be heard singing from a yew close to the Gatehouse Lodges behind Mote House. I checked the Old Pond, where quite a bit of renovation work has been carried out nearby, but there wasn't even a Moorhen! The Old Pond is definitely THE place to check this week, with all this cold weather!
As I approached the Lake from the east, a Meadow Pipit flew speedily over my head, heading northwards. I made no delay in trying to locate the alerted to Goosanders, and to my relief the pair of drake individuals were cruising across the centre of the Lake, and what handsome birds they are.
I always get the sense of power and authority, but also grace, from these members of the sawbill family. Every so often one of them would slip under the surface of the water, presumably to hunt the plentiful fish supply, leaving the other alone on the surface.
Goosander is a first for my Mote Park bird list, despite the habitat appearing suitable for a winter records. The last known record, to me, of Goosander in Mote Park was a drake back in the winter of 2006, and unfortunately I missed that particular bird.
Also of note on the lake were 38 Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 8 Mute Swans and 1 Little Grebe. There were plenty of Black-headed Gulls, with many Common Gulls among them.