Wildlife February 2013

23 February 2013

I had a late afternoon visit to the park today in the hope of witnessing some roosting behaviour and to monitor any movements of corvids over the park. Quickly checking all of the ponds revealed 12 Mandarins (8m, 4f) but little else with no herons or egrets seen. Two Mistle Thrush were seen on top of trees within the old bat roost enclosure and a flock of 15+ Long-tailed Tits were followed to a roost site amongst an Ivy clad Oak tree. Sall movements of Blackbirds were seen but there was no large finch gathering noted. Standing out on the meadow looking back towards the Orchard and allotments I was able to monitor the Magpie roost. Here, until near dusk I counted a minimum of 120 birds around the roost site. I was really pleased with this high count as recently only 50-60 birds have been present. Disappointingly, there were no large corvid movements with perhaps only 30+ Carrion Crows and 25+ Jackdaws seen. Walking home from work the other night I thought I heard some Rooks calling but none were seen tonight.
22 February 2013

A really cold and grey today. As I walked around the park early afternoon several snow flurries reminded me that Winter was still here and the Spring still several weeks away. I did a count of Mandarin Ducks and was pleased to reach a total of 18 spread around the ponds. This was made up of 12 males and 6 females. Importantly, this is the best female count in recent weeks. A Little Egret was feeding around the Canal Pond and the overflow stream before flying to the Wilderness Pond. On Pond 3, 42 Black-headed Gulls were counted including 2 adults with full breeding hoods. Around the woods at least two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen and a Green Woodpecker was calling from the tree tops. A nice gathering of 22 Magpies was noted as they fed amongst the long grass near the Orchard fence line. A trio of Jays were also seen in the Orchard along with another Green Woodpecker. Over the meadow, a male Kestrel was seen as it hovered looking for prey. Finches were seen but in lower numbers than usual- Greenfinches 22, Goldfinches- 40 and Siskin 28. As I returned home a pair of Oystercatchers were seen flying over the park before heading towards the Wet Dock. These are likely to be one of the pairs of Oystercatchers that nest on top of the Anglo-Nordern wood sheds alongside the dock.

Of note, I had three Blackcaps in my garden this morning- two males and a female.
17 February 2013

I had a quick walk in the park this morning and recorded good numbers of Siskins and Goldfinches along the canal and Wilderness Pond. Of note were 2-3 Bramblings in amongst the finch flocks, given away by their distinctive nasal wheeze calls.

Parrish Colman then went into the park as I left and he managed to capture some superb shots of the Siskins (above) along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker (below). Parrish also saw a pair of Sparrowhawks over the park and 6 Mandarins (4m, 2f).

14 February 2013

Park regular, Mike Morley saw a male Blackcap today in the Orchard Hedge. This is the 50th bird species to be seen this year in the park!
09 February 2013

A Grey Wagtail (female) was photographed by Parrish Colman today on Pond 1 (see below). Good numbers of Siskins and Goldfinches were seen throughout the park, however, yesterday’s Brambling was not located.

On the water, Parrish saw four Canada Geese and four Mandarins (2m, 2f) on the Canal Pond.

08 February 2013
Parrish Colman did the rounds this morning around the park and came up with two new year ticks. A Grey Wagtail was seen on Pond 3 and a Brambling was feeding with Goldfinches and Siskins in the area above Pond 1. These two species bring the total of bird species seen so far this year to 49. What will be number 50?
02 February 2013

I managed to fit in an hour’s walk around Holywells Park before work this morning. On the Canal six Mandarins (4m, 2f) were seen with the various Mallards and farm yard fowl. On the Canal Pond I witnessed a pair of Coot copulating, so if successful we should have our first Coot chicks mid- March. Another four Mandarins (2m, 2f) were on the Wilderness Pond and in tress overhead was a large mixed finch flock. Watching the finches closely revealed 60+ Siskins and 30+ Goldfinches along with 15 Chaffinches. A small mixed tit flock was also present so the area was alive with birds. Walking out onto the sodden meadows revealed two pairs of Mistle Thrushes and a Green Woodpecker. Along the moat, five Redwings were present and a trio of Treecreepers were nice to see. On the moat itself were a pair of Canada Geese, perhaps the returning breeding pair? A dozen Black-headed Gulls were on Pond 3 and another small flock of 15 Redwings flew over the Play Area. Both Pond 1 and 2 were quiet and the Dell Pond

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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