A Little Grebe was seen on the 8th and then a pair on the 12th but they didn’t stay..
Ducks: Mallards were resident, but remarkably no ducklings were seen. Tufted Ducks were in the park all month with an average of 6 seen daily & a maximum of 12. Male Mandarins were present on 5 occasions in the first half of the month and a pair was seen on the19th.
Swans: A pair of Mute Swans was resident all month.
Geese: Canada Geese were resident in numbers and one pair produced a single gosling that had grown to Mallard size by month’s end. There were only three sightings of Egyptian Geese, one on the19th and the others on the last two days of the month. A Greylag was present on the 3rd and the 6th.
Gulls: Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were seen just once and no other gulls visited.
Coots were busy raising young and by month’s end 11 were present.
With April we look forward to summer migrants arriving and the first glimpse of young birds.
Migrants did arrive, a Chiffchaff was heard on the 4th, and a Willow Warbler on the 5th. .
I remained hopeful that Little Grebes would return for a third year and to my surprise one was on the small lake on the 23rd until the month's end.
Ducks: Mallards are resident, but Shovelers that winter in the park had gone by the 14th. That left Tufted Ducks with an average of 10 seen daily & a maximum of 18, which matches the most recorded here. An occasional visitor, a male Mandarin, was in the park on the 23rd and 24th.
Swans: A pair of Mute Swans visited now & again early in the month, but were resident after the 14th.
Geese: Canada Geese were resident in numbers, but our regular pair of Egyptian Geese were only seen until the 11th and then on the 30th.
Gulls: Only predatory Lesser Black-Backed Gulls have been seen most days probably keeping an eye open for ducklings or young Coots.
A Grey Wagtail was seen briefly on the 30th on the edge of the lake below the boating pond.
There is little to report with just our regular birds present in the park.
There were regular sightings of resident birds such as Mallards, a pair of Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Coots and Moorhens.
Black-Headed Gull numbers increased from about 70 birds to 100 at the month's end. Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were noted on three occasions.
The only surprise was a female Shoveler in the park between the 16th & the 18th.
On 28th August a bird landed on my shoulder as I sat on a seat by the top lake. I thought it was a pigeon, but no it was a Moorhen that then proceeded to sit with me and take food from my hand!
Other than that there is little of interest to report. The most regular sightings were of resident birds such as Mallards and a pair of Mute Swans. Tufted Ducks were present on most days and three young were seen daily in mid-month. Two young Coots were present all month and a young Moorhen was seen on the 20th.
Apart from this a Mandarin was present on the 4th and the 22nd. Black-Headed Gulls were seen daily with a peak count of around 80 birds, but Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were only noted on three occasions.
Resident birds included Mallards, Canada Geese, Tufted Ducks and a pair of Mute Swans.
Otherwise it is good to report that many young Mallards and Coots have survived the dangers of early life and grown to maturity.
The highlights of the month were on the 27th when a Little Egret (a first for the park) was seen on the island with a Grey Heron. On the same date the Egyptian Goose whose partner had been killed made a reappearance.
Black-Headed Gulls continued to appear in greater numbers with a daily count of around 70, but few Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were seen.
Last month I reported few young birds and this month I report that now you see them, now you don’t. Numbers of young Coots have fluctuated, but several have grown towards adulthood. Three Mallard ducklings, first seen last month, have survived and now are nearly as large as their parents: additionally the heroic pale Mallard duck that has brought several broods to maturity over the years has recently produced three ducklings to which she gave her usual close attention. On the 15th a Tufted Duck was seen with four tiny young and for a week they were thriving, actively diving and growing bigger quickly. However, a week later there was no sign. Also, the one Canada Geese gosling which was growing up fast was not seen since early in the month. By contrast at least six Coot chicks have survived the month and stand good chances of making adulthood despite irregular visits by Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and a Heron, which take young birds.
Our remaining regular Egyptian Goose is now rarely seen. It was in the park each day to the 7th, but not seen since. Up to seven Tufted Ducks have been seen and two Mute Swans have been in the park daily. We were visited by a male Mandarin duck on the 1st and 2nd of the month, from the 28th a young Shoveler was present and since the 27th Black-Headed Gulls have started to reappear in small numbers.
This report is incomplete as I was in the Outer Hebrides for a week watching some of our rarest birds including Golden and White-Tailed Eagles, Corncrake, Hen Harrier and all four species Skuas.
Usually we see many young birds in this month, but there are fewer young birds about and as noted last month parent birds have to be wary of predators. I have noted just one Canada Geese gosling, six Coot chicks and three Mallard ducklings. Lesser Black-Backed Gulls continue to visit as does a Heron, which I believe are the are the principal predators.
Following the loss of one of our regular Egyptian Geese last month another pair have regularly visited the park, although I haven’t seen them often. Also, there was a single bird on the 28th.
Tufted Ducks have been seen regularly with up to 8 present and Mute Swans have been in the park on most days, too. We have also been graced with the attendance of a male Mandarin duck that has been seen on several occasions.
Unlike previous reports this one is really quite a sad one.
Whereas I report the birds coming and going with the seasons the highlights this month are of loss.
For some years a pair of Egyptian Geese have regularly visited the park, two inseparable birds who would seek me out to take food from hand. Then, mid-month one was found injured. Taken into care it was found to have been attacked by a dog and died from its injuries. What do I think of that? Well I think it was very sad at what happened and I would like to see more prominent notices asking dog owners take more responsibility by keeping their pets on a lead when in the area of the ponds.
The second incident was nature's own. On the 15th seven tiny Mallard ducklings were seen on the small lake, but were gone, presumably predated, by the 18th. Since when there have been no other ducklings on the lakes, but the two main predator species, a Grey Heron and several Lesser Black-Backed Gulls have been visiting.
Thirdly, the Little Grebes that took up residence and gave all the signs of breeding disappeared mid-month.
Otherwise, Tufted Ducks have been with us all month with a high of 12 birds and an average of 8. Shovelers, winter visitors to the park, were present until the 12th, much later than in previous years. Mute Swans have been in the park, too, on most days. We had a few migrants, as well: Chiffchaffs have been present from the 1st April and Blackcaps have been singing at month's end. Black-Headed Gulls have been absent, but for a few non-breeding birds on the bandstand lake.
DUCKS, SWANS & GEESE
DUCKS, SWANS & GEESE
SUMMARY: Arguably we had a visit from the rarest bird since I have been keeping an eye on the park's birds. This was a SMEW. And after a period when our birds were desperate for food in the ice there are the first signs that the birds realise that Spring is not far off as gull numbers decline and Redwings appear.
DUCKS, SWANS & GEESE
The count on the 26th showed that 18 Coots and 7 Moorhens were on the lakes. 2 Redwings were seen on the 22nd and 3 on the 29th feeding in the wooded area by the Boating Lake and we also had a visit from a Heron on the 24th and the 30th.
The numbers of wintering birds built up in throughout the month. Black-Headed Gull numbers increased to over 400, and Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were regularly seen in small numbers.
Record numbers of Shovelers were in the park: the highest number recorded in a day had stood at 12 for some years, but this was surpassed on 1st December (13) and on nearly every day that followed with the most (16) on the 7th. In the second half of the month numbers fluctuated, but there was still an average of 8 present daily.
Two Mute Swans , very eager for food, were present early in the month, but our regular pair of Egyptian Geese were absent all month.
A few Tufted Ducks have been noted: they were not regular visitors early in the month, but numbers increased towards the month's end. One surprise has been that numbers of Canada Geese have remained low with a maximum of 31 on the 2nd.
The main feature of the month was the build-up in the numbers of wintering birds at the end of the month. The numbers of Black-Headed Gulls increased from 200 to 300, the first two Common Gulls were seen on the 26th, and Shoveler numbers had risen to eleven by the month's end.
Otherwise the highlights were the return of two Mute Swans for the first half of the month, visits from Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on five occasions, the return of a few Tufted Ducks towards the end of the month, a couple of visits from our regular pair of Egyptian Geese and a single visit from a Heron on the 16th.
It should also be noted that that the numbers of Canada Geese were well down with just 15 counted at the month's end.
There is little to report this month.
Resident Mallards, Coots and Moorhens have held their numbers and were joined towards the end of the month by three female Tufted Ducks, five Shovelers, and two Mute Swans.
Our two Egyptian Geese have only visited intermittently, but numbers of Black-Headed Gulls rose from around 60 at the beginning of the month to some 200 by the end. Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were noted on three occasions and Canada Geese numbers have reduced to around 30.
Herons were seen on the 7th, 11th and 25th.
On the 1st September the three remaining young Little Grebes were practising their flying so it was no surprise that they had gone the next day. However, by the 12th up to 3 birds had taken up residence and stayed to the month's end. Numbers of Mallards, which had enjoyed a good breeding season held up and a mid-month count revealed 50 in residence. Good numbers of Coots and Moorhens, were also noted with 16 Coots and 14 Moorhens seen.
The two Egyptian Geese have continued to visit daily and numbers of Black Headed Gulls continue to rise with around 80 present mid-month. Lesser Black-Backed Gulls have made occasional visits and were seen on three occasions. Canada Geese numbers have not yet reached the high of 83 in August, but good numbers are still present with 69 present at the month's end. Single Herons were seen on 9th, 12th and 14th. Tufted Ducks were back with three seen on the 12th and a single on the 15th.
One welcome visitor, probably from Grovelands Park, was a male Mandarin Duck present for three days early in the month. From mid-month a noisy flock of Ring-Necked Parakeets have been coming to the park: Although relatively common generally, previous sightings in the park have been infrequent so maybe they have finally decided that our park might suit them.
At the start of the month we had two adult Little Grebes and five chicks: By the end of the month we were left with just two of the young birds. By mid-month the adults had stopped feeding their young and were away. Three young remained, but at month's end we were down to just two. Why is not clear as there were few predator visits with Herons and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls both only seen on two days in the month. Mallards flourished and their youngsters were always keen to greet visitors willing to feed them. The same was true of Coots and Moorhens, which also did well.
Our two Egyptian Geese have visited most days and continue to take food from the hand. Other birds have been returning in greater numbers. Around 50 Black Headed Gulls are regularly in the park. Also, a count of 83 Canada Geese on the 27th was a surprise given the time of year: At this rate the record of 130 Canada Geese could be beaten come winter.
In July there were few predator visits: Just two Heron visits and one a couple from Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. So, young birds flourished. Mallards continued to bring on their young and to produce new broods of tiny fluffy ducklings. The same was true of Coots and Moorhens. However, the big surprise was to find five Little Grebe young being fed by their parents. Although Little Grebes have been seen occasionally over the years this is the first time they have bred in the years I have been keeping our birds under close watch.
Another welcome surprise was to see the return of our two Egyptian Geese, missing since April.
Otherwise all has been quiet. Tufted Ducks have been resident for most of the month, but other birds have started to move as witnessed by the return of up to 40 Black Headed Gulls.
The highlight in June was to see how well the breeding season progressed.
The pale coloured Mallard duck has reared 12 ducklings from 13 that hatched and a second duck 5 of 6. Coots have done well too with around 14 young growing to maturity. Also, Little Grebes are suspected of having had young, but they have remained secretive. Blackbirds have been seen with young and it has been noticeable that parties of Starlings have included a number of young birds. The two proud Canada Geese parents have ensured that their gosling has grown and survived.
Of course we have been fortunate that few predatory Lesser Black-Backed Gulls or Grey Herons have been seen in the month to take any of the young birds.
Other birds noted:
In these two months our birds concentrated on bringing the next generation into the world and our birds were busy.
Mallards have successfully reared two families and eight ducklings. Three Coot families are rearing seven chicks, a family of Pied Wagtails was seen feeding two youngsters and several Blackbirds have been seen with young. Also, there have been two proud Canada Geese parents keeping a close eye on their own gosling. No doubt other young birds are about so keep your eyes open.
Most other birds that winter in the park dispersed. Luckily no Lesser Black-Backed Gulls or Herons have been regularly seen so the young birds have not suffered the predation of former years.
There have been a few other birds to note. The last sighting of Shovelers was on 5th April and just a single Black-Headed Gull has been seen (2nd May). Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and Herons have not been seen since mid-April. Two species resident throughout the period have been our two Egyptian Geese and Tufted Ducks (between 2 and 8). The Little Grebes that were present in March left in mid-April, but one was heard calling on May 27th. Also, two Mute Swans took up residence in May.
With the arrival of Spring our Winter visitors left. There were around 300 Black-Headed Gulls present at the start if the month, but only five at the end. The last Common Gulls were seen on the 5th and the final pair of Shovelers had gone by the 28th.
However, the first migrants arriving were a Chiffchaff on the 13th and a Willow Warbler on the 19th.
The greatest surprise was that Little Grebes took up residence from the 7th with up to three present throughout the month.
A Cormorant made an appearance on the 7th and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull was in the park on the 17th.
Canada Geese were present daily, as were Tufted Ducks (up to eight were seen), our two regular Egyptian Geese were around most days and two Mute Swans were present regularly. In addition there was a Greylag Goose present on the 21st.
The end of summer saw numbers of birds that winter in the park increase:
A count in mid-November revealed 7 Moorhens, 12 Coots, 13 Mallards and a Little Grebe which stayed three days. Otherwise, there, have been occasional visits by Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, a Grey Heron and Tufted Ducks.
September saw the start of seasonal change with a build-up of Black-Headed Gulls (84 seen on the 30th) and an increase in numbers of Canada Geese (86 counted on the 28th).
The rest were mostly resident birds with up to seven Egyptian Geese present daily, and many Mallards, Coots and Moorhens. More occasional visitors included Ring-Necked Parakeets (on two occasions), Lesser Black-Backed Gull ( on two occasions), a Tufted Duck (just once), and two Greylag Geese on 27th).
Of course you may have seen other birds while I was in Scotland where I saw 95 species in a week including Golden Eagle, White-Tailed Eagle, Osprey, Storm Petrel, Leach's Petrel, Sabine's Gull, Arctic and Great Skuas, Manx Shearwater, Ptarmigan, Red & Black Grouse, and Capercallie).
August was another quiet month, but the arrival of five Egyptian Geese to make it seven in total was pretty exciting.
Otherwise it was interesting to see how many of the young Mallards and Coots would survive. Well, they did well. The young Coot on the bandstand lake is now near maturity and no more young mallards have been lost. The fact that Lesser Black Backed Gulls have been scarce tells its own story.
There has been a build-up of Canada Geese and at month-end counts revealed up to 50 birds, which is high for the time of year.
Black-Headed Gulls, which returned in July now number around 45.
I leave you all to keep your eyes open as I go to North-west Scotland in the hope of seeing Eagles, Skuas, and Divers: wish me luck!
July was a quiet month, but since Midsummer some birds have started moving back to the park, especially Black-Headed Gulls, whose numbers have steadily increased since the first arrived early in the month. By month's end their numbers were up to 57 birds.
The main interest was in seeing the appearance of young birds. The pale Mallard has kept her four remaining ducklings safe until they are nearly full grown. Additionally two other broods appeared: One was of four ducklings, now reduced to one, the other of three ducklings that have survived to date. One Coot has brought her five youngsters to maturity and another was seen with a single chick at the end of the month.
Our resident pair of Egyptian Geese that had disappeared at the beginning of June returned at the end of July, but just one Tufted Duck was seen all month.
Single Herons were noted on four occasions and two on the 17th. Although it is always a pleasure to see them one is always conscious that they are the main predators of young ducklings and coots along with Lesser Black-Backed Gulls (seen irregularly in the park).
The main interest was in seeing young birds and in monitoring their survival.
Our successful pale light brown Mallard successfully saw all nine of her first brood into adulthood and they dispersed by mid-month. She then had a second brood of nine that were gradually reduced to four at the month-end by predating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. One Coot family has continued to prosper and all five young birds are approaching full size so should be safe from predators. Other coots are still sitting on nests so we should see many young in July. Jemima Puddleduck, our single white duck, was joined by two others at month-end.
Our resident pair of Egyptian Geese were in the park early in the month, but appear to have moved on as there have been no sightings since the 9th. Tufted Ducks have been in residence all month with numbers fluctuating between two and six.
A Heron was noted on two occasions keeping a close watch on ducklings and young coots. Then on the 30th we had a visit from a Cormorant.
The cold weather had a noticeable effect on the birds in the park.
Wintering Shovelers remained into April along with around 250 Black-headed Gulls and even 5 Common Gulls. Keeping them company were 5 Teal on April 2nd (the first recorded in 5 years). Along with the resident Mallards we had up to 8 Tufted Ducks present all month.
Our resident Coots and Mallards were late in nesting, but by 25th April one proud Mallard duck was shepherding 10 baby ducklings round the upper lake under the watchful gaze of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull looking for a snack.
Our inseparable pair of Egyptian Geese was reduced to one bird in mid-month and searches have not revealed where the missing bird went. Of course we lost one of our Mute Swans last month and d its partner had gone, but, good news, it returned at the end of April.
Our first migrants were Willow Warblers, first seen on the 16th.
In March one would expect to see the departure of birds that have wintered here, the arrival of migrants, and others sorting out nests. With the cold weather this year it has been different: no nests have appeared and birds did not move.
That meant that Gull numbers were high with a greater number recorded than in mid-winter. The highest count was of 355 Black-Headed Gulls on 17th March, but 340 still remained at the month's end. Also, up to 11 Common Gulls were noted among the gull flock along with the odd Lesser Black-Backed Gull.
Although most Shovelers left during the month two still remained at month's end along with several Tufted Ducks.
The two regular Egyptian Geese were present each day, but the two regular Mute Swans are gone after one was found dead on March 23rd.
We had around 250 Black-headed Gulls in the park by early November, a number that has held into December. Common Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were noted with these flocks on several occasions. Shovelers were in the park with between 4 and 8 seen, daily. Other regulars were up to 4 Tufted Ducks and two Egyptian Geese. By contrast it was very unusual to find a male Pochard in the park between 24th and 26th of December and a surprise to see my first Redwing of the winter on 22nd December.
A Grey Heron was in the park on September 7th ,October 10th, October 29th and 30th.
Tufted Ducks: Noted on 14 occasions with a maximum of 4.
Mallard : Present in good numbers (54 present on 10th September).
Mandarin Duck: Just one seen, on September 1st.
A few Shovelers over winter in the park, but the first this year was sighted on the early date of September 5th since when up to 7 birds have been present daily.
Mute Swan: Present on and off since October 7th with a maximum of five on the 23rd October.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls: Singles seen intermittently, but daily since mid-October.
Black Headed Gulls: Having first returned in August numbers have gradually increased from 36 on September 8th to over 100 since mid- October.
The first Common Gull of the winter was noted on October 27th.
Egyptian Geese: Present on most days in September with a record 9 on September 3rd. They were missing for the first half of October, but returned in mid-month and up to 4 have been noted on and off since.
Canada Geese: Present all the time with a maximum of 96 counted on 8th September.
Single Ring-Necked Parakeets were in the park on 14th and 30th October.
A Grey Heron was in the park on July 16th and 30th August.
Tufted Ducks: 4 on July 20th.
More young Coots were seen in August and the parent birds were being careful to keep them hidden from hungry gulls.
Mallard: a new brood of 9 baby ducklings appeared on 22nd July of which 7 survived to the end of August. A further brood of two appeared in August and were growing apace at the end of the month.
Mandarin Duck: 2 birds have been sighted at times during August.
Mute Swan: Two were present at the beginning of July, but none have been seen since.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls: up to 3 birds have been regular visitors and continued to be the main threat to young Mallards and Coots.
Black Headed Gulls: The first to return were 15 seen on August 5th. Since then numbers have increased and up to about 100 have been noted.
Egyptian Goose: Up to 4 birds were present throughout July and 6 in August including a gosling, but a record 7 were seen on 31st August.
Canada Geese: The 2 young that hatched have now fledged. Overall numbers of birds have fluctuated from around 20 up to 96 in late August.
A Pied Wagtail was present on 18th July.
Grey Heron: seen on May 10th and June 10th
Tufted Ducks: Between 1 and 4 on most days
Mallard: 5 of the original 14 ducklings survived and there were up to 5 new young ducklings present in June.
Mute Swan: Up to 4 were present in both May and June.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 2 birds have been regular visitors in both months and have been the main threat to young birds.
Egyptian Goose: In May 1 was seen on 10th and 12th, 2 on 15th and 1 on 18th : In June 2 were seen on 21st, 26th and 27th.
Canada Goose: 2 goslings have been present since May 8th, probably the first to have hatched in the park in the past 5 years.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker: 2 seen in flight on 29th June
House Sparrow: Seen regularly by the Broomfield Lane entrance and adjacent the conservatory.
Grey Wagtail (In March seen on the drained boating lake)
Grey Heron (seen on 1st and 2nd of April)
Shovelers (Throughout March and until April 10th)
Tufted Ducks (up to 6 present both months)
Mallard (14 ducklings in mid-April, down to 6 at the end of the month)
Mute Swan (up to 6 present in March and April)
Little Grebes (2 present throughout March and until mid-April)
Black Headed Gulls (just odd birds)
Lesser Black-backed Gulls (2 birds have been irregular visitors in both months )
Egyptian Goose (1 on 19th March and on 16th April)
Jay (2 on March 20th)
Chiffchaff (1 seen on 20th March, but others were present and singing around that date)
Willow Warbler (Singing birds in April, 1 seen by Conservatory on 29th April)
Green Woodpecker (calling most days in March)