Wildlife April 2013

28 April 2013

Sarah Kilshaw was in the park today for the “holi” festival today. Whilst present she found a Green-veined White butterfly (see below) in Kissing Gate Meadow and a Holly Blue along Kissing Gate Lane. In other areas of the park she saw a Peacock butterfly along with a Small Tortoiseshell, Large and possible Small White butterflies and several Commas. Along the Canal Pond Sarah recorded a male Kingfisher fishing, a single Canada Goose, a pair of Tufted Ducks and two families of very agressive Coots.

25 April 2013
A walk back through the park after work proved rewarding with a good movement of Swallows and House Martins seen passing over head. Several Common Swifts were also seen and were my first of the Summer. A nice flyover flock of nine Shelducks was also a great sight especialy as they lingered for several minutes as if trying to find their bearings before heading south-west.
24 April 2013

Helen Saunders had a cracking morning with the park’s butterflies and reported seeing Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Green- veined White, Holly Blue, and both male and female Brimstone. Helen also recorded Orange-tip (both male and female).

Early afternoon- Joe Underwood, Park Ranger saw two Common Buzzards flying over the park in a northerly direction. Joe has also asked me to mention the Holywells Park Dawn Chorus walk planned for the 4th May. Details are below:

Dawn Chorus

At Holywells park

On Saturday the 4th of May

Starting at 04:30-06:00

�5 per adult and �3 per child.

Join the Rangers in Holywells Park for an early morning walk.

A wide range of birds will be seen and heard in the many

habitats this park has to offer. A cooked breakfast will be

available as part of the cost of the event.

To book onto this event please call 01473 433998

21 April 2013

Good numbers of butterflies on the wing this afternoon with Comma (5), Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Peacock all being seen. New species for the year also seen were Speckled Wood (1)and Green-veined White (2).

Sarah Kilshaw reported a Large White Butterfly see below and the distressing news of six abondoned Guinea Pigs along Brimstone Alley. Sarah along with her mum, two members of Park Patrol and Jayne Roberts from Suffolk Animal Rescue managed to rescue five of the Guinea Pigs but unfortunately one evaded capture. Why would someone do this? The Guinea Pigs would have no chance of survival so releasing them in this way is simply barbaric and cruel.

20 April 2013

Highlights from a relatively quiet walk this morning were at least two singing Willow Warblers, heard from within the Conservation area along the Cliff Lane boundary. Another Willow Warbler (or one of the same birds) was also heard sloe to the Landseer Park gate on Cliff Lane. The high numbers of Chiffchaffs through Holywells Park was also notable with perhaps 20+ seen and heard.

Sarah Kilshaw reported that she saw five Tufted Ducks (3m, 2f) on the Moat Pond today which is a very unusual event. Of the five birds, there were two distinct pairs and a single male. Other birds recorded were Chiffchaffs and both male and female Blackcaps. Sarah, also saw a Holly Blue butterfly along Brimstone Alley together with several bee-flies (Bombyliidae sp).
18 April 2013

Matt Garnham reported two pairs of Tufted Ducks on the Moat Pond today as seen in his photograph below. In addition, a female Mallard was seen with 16 ducklings and a Little Egret was feeding around Pond 1.

16 April 2013
I had a quick walk through the park this morning before work and recorded both Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing. A pair of Kestrels were sparring over the Conservation area and provided a good show. A Pied Wagtail was also seen flying over the Orchard area. Skywatching produced a Sparrowhawk and a small flock of geese. Closer scrutiny of the geese led to me identifying them as six GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE flying in a SE direction. I was amazed as these birds should be well north of the UK by now and not flying over the centre of Ipswich! This sighting constitutes another first for the park and is a really welcome tick!
15 April 2013

Today was a good day to be in the park. Helen Saunders reported the following butterflies: 3 Brimstone, 6 Comma, 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Helen also saw 3 Common Lizards on Kissing Gate Lane Meadow and a pair of Toads along the Canal Path.

Parrish Colman was also able to spend some time in the park and reported a Kestrel from Kissing Gate Lane Meadow, Kingfisher, two pairs of Canada Geese and both Chiffchaff (see above) and Blackcap.

Parish also noted that one of the pairs of Coots on the Canal Pond have bred sucesssfully and have at least four chicks (see above). Good numbers of Common Frogs were also seen and a Slow Worm was also recorded (see below).

14 April 2013

Migrant birds seen this afternoon in Holywells were Swallow and House Martin. Parrish Colman saw a Whitethroat in Landseer Park.

Sarah Kilshaw recorded a nice mix of butterflies in Holywells with Peacock (see below), Comma, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell all seen. In addition, Sarah also saw a Little Egret, two singing Blackcaps and good numbers of singing Chiffchaff.

13 April 2013

Following up from yesterday’s visit I was welcomed into the park this morning by an incredible chorus of bird song. Songs of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Goldcrest were all identified before I had passed through the Cliff Lane gate! However, by the time I had got to the Kissing Gate Lane I had also heard both Chiffchaff and Blackcap which was fantastic. Looking and listening specifically for these migrants as I walked around the park, I managed to count seven singing Chiffchaffs and four singing Blackcaps (including the one below) in total.

Something else significant about this morning was the large movement of Redwings noted. In a period of about 40 mins, I counted over 750 flying over the park in a North-West direction. Also mixed in with them were 50+ Fieldfares. Perhaps another 30+ Redwings were seen in the park itself but all appeared restless and very vocal, suggesting that they too would be on the move soon. Other birds of interest seen were a Mistle Thrush, 30+ Goldfinches and 20 + Siskins along with 11 Mandarins (6m, 5f). Whilst watching Redwings overhead, I also saw a Cormorant, Sparrowhawk and two Canada Geese.

It was too early for a chance of butterflies but it was great to see a large amount of insects flying in the sun and in particular around emerging Willow blossom.
12 April 2013
With reports of migrants on the coast today I thought it would worth having a quick look around Holywells Park after work. A check of the migrant friendly places revealed at least 10 Chiffchaffs including five together in the Old Bat Roost enclosure and one singing bird. Other birds seen were a Little Egret on the Moat, Mistle Thrush and two Green Woodpeckers on the meadows. Also of interest was a small bat that was seen flying close to the Wilderness Pond trees- size, shape and flight pattern would suggest a pipistrelle species.
10 April 2013

With the sun out and temperatures increasing it was no surprise to receive reports of butterflies being seen in the park. Helen Saunders reported two male Brimstones and three Commas. Sarah Kilshaw reported three Brimstones (see photo above) and up to three Small Tortoiseshells in the Orchard area. A male Kestrel was also seen in the Kissing Gate Lane meadow (see below).

07 April 2013

A bird ringing session with Brian Thompson and David Coxon was undertaken this morning in and around the Orchard area. A total of 18 birds were caught: 8 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 2 Blackbirds (see below), 2 Wrens and a Robin. Of interest, one of the Great Tits had been ringed previously on 29 January 2012 in the Orchard and another on the 25 February 2012.

Other birds recorded whilst ringing were four fly over Greylag Geese, a calling Common Buzzard and a Cormorant.

Other news- Parrish Colman saw two Common Buzzards soaring high over Landseer Park, he also recorded Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (see below). In Holywells Park, a Comma butterfly was seen along with Common Lizard.

06 April 2013

Another sunny morning but still very cold with the biting north-easterly wind. A search for Chiffchaff, Blackcap and indeed any Spring / Summer migrant proved fruitless. Bizarrely, there were still Winter migrants still to be found with three Redwings and a single Fieldfare seen in trees along the canal path. A pair of Canada Geese were on the Canal Pond and a pair of Kingfishers were seen flying through the Wilderness Pond trees. The Tufted Duck pair remain on the Moat Pond and 32 Black-headed Gulls were present on and around Pond 3. The two large finch flocks from yesterday were not relocated but there were several small flocks of Siskin (20 near the Wilderness Pond), Goldfinch (15 in the Bat Roost enclosure) and Chaffinch (30 + Canal Path). A Mistle Thrush was still singing well, this time from a tree on the grassy slope near the Bishops Hill gate. A trio of Jays were present in the Conservation area and Sparrowhawk was seen circling high over this area before flying north.

Stop Press: Blackcap singing in the Conservation area along Cliff Lane!

Sarah Kilshaw saw two Comma butterflies this afternoon, one in the Kissing Gate Meadow, the other along Brimstone Alley and shown in the photograph below.

05 April 2013
I had a mid morning walk through the park today. The sun was out but the easterly winds were keeping temperatures below 7 degrees. On the Canal Pond two pairs of Canada Geese were present (with one pair later relocating to Pond 3). A pair of Manadrins were seen on the Canal. Out on the meadows several Magpies were seen foraging in the damp grass, a Green Woodpecker was also seen feeding alongside them. A male Mistle Thrush was seen on top of a tree singing out across the park. This song is one of my favourites and so I spent a few minutes appreciating the power, melody and tone. A good mix of finches were present in the Bat Roost enclosure with 20 Goldfinch, 10 Greenfinch, 15 Siskin and 20 Chaffinch all seen and heard. Walking through the Eastern Woods failed to provide either Blackcap or Chiffchaff but a hunting Sparrowhawk flying low and fast after a tit flock was an impressive sight. In the area around the Moat viewing platform I watched and listened to another large mixed flock of finches. Counting carefully gave me totals of 50+ Siskin, 30 Chaffinch and 30 Goldfinch. In order to avoid duplication I checked and found that the finch flock in the Bat Roost area was still present. Therefore combined totals were: 50 +Goldfinch, 65+ Siskin, 10 Greenfinch and 50+ Chaffinch. Two Redwings were also present in the Moat ditch to the north of the Play Area along with a Song Thrush and several Blackbirds. Overhead, several Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were seen.
02 April 2013

Sarah Kilshaw was in the park again today and recorded both Grey Heron and Little Egret around the Canal Pond. Checking out the sunny spots in the Kissing Gate Meadow proved rewarding for Sarah with a basking Common Lizard being found (see below).

01 April 2013

A walk around the park at midday took place in sunshine but the strong easterly wind kept temperatures down to about 5 degrees. Given the temperature I had little hope of seeing a butterfly but I checked lots of sun- traps and places out of the wind just in case. Needless to say no butterfly could be found. Looking for migrant birds proved fruitless too, with no warblers seen or heard. Sky watching provided only gulls and a single male Sparrowhawk. On the ponds and water courses, nine Mandarins (6m, 3f) were found along with the pair of Tufted Ducks, three pairs of Coots and two pairs of Canada Geese. On Pond 3, 46 Black-headed Gulls were seen no doubt attracted by the amount of bread being fed to the ducks by visitors to the park. A few small tit flocks were found but it was noticeable that a lot of the tits had split into pairs and were now busy with their breeding attempts. Finch numbers in the park have dropped considerably over the last few weeks but there were still about 30 Siskins present above Pond 1. A flock of nine Greenfinches was seen in the top of trees within the bat roost enclosure and another similar sized flock were in the Orchard.

Late news: Sarah Kilshaw saw five Redwings in the stream area above Pond 1. Sarah also recorded good numbers of Chaffinches in this location along with a pair of Robins.

Steven Bird

Bird Watcher at Holywells Birds
Investigating our natural environment, and how the impacts of nesting can inhibit and benefit the local ecosystem.

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