Wildlife March 2013

31 March 2013

Parrish Colman was able to catch up with some Goldcrests today in Holywells Park, as seen in the images below. Sadly, still no Chiffchaffs or Blackcaps seen or heard.

30 March 2013

Sarah Kilshaw went for a walk in the park this afternoon and saw some large clumps of frogspawn in the stream near the wilderness area and also in the stream near Brimstone Alley. There were no signs of any frogs. Frogspawn is always a nice sign of Spring so fingers crossed the low temperatures do not harm the growing tadpoles.
29 March 2013

I did an early visit to the park today in order to listen to the bird song and I was hoping to hear both Chiffchaff and Blackap. Sadly neither species wereencountered and this isin itself a sign of how messed up the Spring is. It makes you wonder when the Summer migrants will start to appear! That said, a total of 17 species were heard singing including Siskin, Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Greenfinch.

Other birds recorded were a pair of Canada Geeseon the Canal Pond and the pair of Tufted Ducks on the Moat Pond. (see male above in Parrish Colman’s photo).A trioof drake Mandarins were seen in flight several times andat least three pairs of Coot are on territories and attempting to breed, (as seen in Parrish Colman’s photo below). Good numbers of Blackbirdsremain and I was also pleased to see two lateRedwings in trees near the Walled Garden.

Good numbers of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were seen passing overhead and a pair of Sparrowhawks were seen in display flight over the Eastern Woodlands.
24 March 2013

I had a late afternoon walk in the park today in order to check the Magpie Roost. I wasn’t sure what impact the recent cold weather would have on numbers so I thought it would be worth a look. Counting the birds carefully gave me a roost count of 55; however, another 15 Magpies were seen in trees away from the main roost site. So, a minimum count of 70 but well down on the high counts of 100+ at the end of February 2013. Whilst watching the Magpies I also saw a male Sparrowhawk which was following a small flock of Long-tailed Tits and some Chaffinches. A small flock of 12 Greenfinches was seen in restless flight before settling and possibly going to roost in the bamboo clump on the Moat. Mistle Thrush and Green Woodpecker were seen in flight and a nice movement of 40+ Carrion Crows was seen to move in a North-Easterly direction over the park. The pair of Tufted Ducks was on the Moat Pond and two pairs of Mandarins were on the Wilderness Pond. As I returned home a Grey Heron was seen in flight over Cliff Lane heading north over the park.

NB- I was looking through my park bird records and if it’s the same pair of Tufted Ducks as seen in previous years then this will be the fifth year in a row that they have return to breed in the park….!
23 March 2013
The park was grim this morning with sleet and bitterly cold east winds driving down across the meadows. Along the canal a single drake Mandarin was seen in amongst the usual mixture of Mallards and hybrids. On the Canal Pond only a few Mallards and a pair of Coot were seen. Several Blackbirds were feeding around the margins of the Wilderness Pond but there were no finches present. The Paddling Pool was full of water, more so than I can recall seeing and there were no birds seen. On the Moat Pond the pair of Tufted Ducks were present but looked very unhappy with the weather conditions! On Pond 3, 28 Black-headed Gulls were found with several noted to be in breeding plumage. Checking legs for rings failed to reveal any new birds and there were no Common Gulls seen at all. Around Pond 2 a small tit flock (Blue and Great Tits) was found and a singing Goldcrest was heard amongst them. Also seen with the tit flock were a few Chaffinches and a single Greenfinch. A nice Siskin flock of about 40 birds was present in trees high above Pond 1. Despite the conditions they were very vocal with several males singing and displaying. The meadows were incredibly quiet probably due to the very unpleasant wind and the noise coming from a rather enthusiastic bunch of military fitness fans……!
22 March 2013

Parrish Colman was present in the park today and managed to capture a photograph of a Muntjac Deer. These deer are normally very wary and will stay in cover venturing out to feed in they are comfortable with their surroundings. As such, photographic opportunities are rare.

19 March 2013
A singing Chiffchaff was heard by Park ranger, Joe Underwood today. Hopefully, we will see and hear a few more migrants soon although the weather is looking dire again. Joe also saw a pair of Marsh Harriers over Orwell Country Park later on. This is a really good sighting and it makes you wonder if they were a local pair of perhaps early migrants?
18 March 2013
My wife saw a male Brimstone butterfly sunning itself in our garden this morning! Typically, I wasn’t there to see it and despite me being a butternut this is about the third year in a row that she has seen a butterfly before me! However,it’s a nice reminder that when the sun does come out it will often encourage hibernating butterflies to show themselves albeit briefly. Hopefully, we will see more of these stunning butterflies but not for a week or so given the grim weather that is forecast!
17 March 2013

Parrish Colman worked his magic today in the park and found a male Firecrest along Brimstone Alley. It was then seen off and on as the bird moved through the trees between Pond 1 and the park edge along Elmhurst Drive. It’s possible that this was an over-wintering bird but it could also be a migrant heading up to Northern Europe and Scandinavia to breed? Parish also recorded 11Mandarins (7m, 4f). The pair of Tufted Ducks (see male below) were still present on the Moat Pond and two pairs of Canada Geese were also seen.

Several Goldcrest were noted along with a few Long-tailed Tits (see below).

16 March 2013

I had awalk around a very damp Holywells Park this morning. Along the Canal two pairs of Mandarins were found and only three Coot were seen on the Canal Pond. Out on the flooded meadows four Mandarins (3m, 1f) were seen feeding in some of the pools and a check though the 38 Black-headed Gulls revealed two adult Common Gulls. Around the Wilderness Poll, a dozen or so Siskins were present andanother two pairs of Mandarins were counted.On the Moat Pond the pair of Tufted Ducks were seen along with a trio of Coots. A pair of Kingfishers (m + f) were seen chasing each other and a third Kingfisher (m) was seen to fly in from Pond 3. With three Kingfishers present lets hope we get a pairing and a breeding attempt! A Treecreeper was feeding on trees between the Moat Pond and Pond 3 and a small Long-tailed Tit flock passed through. Around Pond 1 and 2 a large gathering of birds was noticed. On the ground were good numbers of Blackbirds and at least three Song Thrushes. Above was a large mixed tit flock including five Coal Tits. High in the tree tops was a mixed and vocal finch flock comprising 30+ Siskins, 25+ Chaffinches, 15+ Goldfinches and 10+ Greenfinches. Given the recent cold temperatures and heavy rain it wasn’t surprising that I didn’t see or hear either Chiffchaff or Blackcap. Let’s hope Spring starts soon!
12 March 2013

Sarah Kilshaw visited the park today and provided the following observations. A Kestrel was seen in a tree near the gate into the Wilderness area. She alsosaw two Kingfishers quite close to each other on the Moat Pond and the pair of Tufted Ducks were also seen (see below). Sarah also saw a Muntjac Deer in the stream near Brimstone Alley.

I’m not quite sure what has happened but I appear to have lost about three days worth of updates.
05 March 2013

Matt Berry made the most of todays sun and warm temperatures and found three species of butterflies in the park: Comma (5 inc’ individual below), Peacock (1) and Small Tortoiseshell (1).

04 March 2013

The first butterfly of the year, a Commawas seen today in the park by Park Ranger, Joe Underwood.

Parrish Colman was also in the park today and reported good numbers of Siskins around the park. Three pairs of Mandarins were also recorded including the stunning drake below.

02 March 2013

It was officially the first day of Spring yesterday so, I hoped for some seasonal wildlife during a visit to the park this morning. Along the canal a small flock of Siskins (20+)was feeding in the tree tops and a small tit flock moved through below. A single male Mandarin was found on the Canal Pond. In the trees above the Wilderness Pond a large flock of Siskins was present and confidently estimated at 70+ birds. Again numerous Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits were feeding with them and both Coal Tit and Goldcrest were also seen and heard. Whilst watching the Siskins it was pleasing to hear several males in full song singing from high branches. More Siskins were noted along the Moat and totalled over 50. Again several males were heard in song. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were seen in flight over the meadows and a trio of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in the Eastern Woods. On Pond 3, five Mandarins were seen (3m, 2f) and a Green Woodpecker was calling from the Stable Yard area. On leaving the park a Grey Heron was seen in flight.

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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