26 -30 June 2010- No new bird news received but a few insects of note were reported by Parrish Colman including the first Large Skipper butterflies of the year (see below and Butterflies 2010) and a Ruddy Darter (see Dragonflies 2010). Also on the wing this week were the first Common Blue butterflies.
25 June 2010- After another week away working I managed to catch up with the park's wildlife and enjoyed a great evening walk. On the Canal Pond, the pair of Tufted Ducks were found. Also seen here was a single Grey Heron. On the Moat Pond, the female Mandarin was seen along with 12 fast growing ducklings. At least three of the 12 are slightly smaller than the others and it suggests to me that this female has taken over the brood from the second female- common amongst dominant female mandarins. Also on this pond were several Mallard Ducks in eclipse plumage and others were also noted elsewhere in the park too in a similar state of plumage. Out on the meadows, two green Woodpeckers were seen feeding and the pair of Pheasants were also seen in amongst the long grass near to the Orchard gate. No young were seen but it is likely that they have dispersed by now or are elsewhere within the park. In trees around the meadow a single Greater Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling and a Chiffchaff was singing strongly. Overhead, good numbers of gulls were seen with the majority being Herring Gulls, although several Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also noted. Whilst watching the gulls flying around, several Swifts came into view and watching them soon revealed some House Martins. Within the Walled Garden areas, a male Pied Wagtail was seen and a feeding party of nine Magpies were seen "anting" on the old Bowls Green. Heading back to the canal, I looked up in time to seen a Kestrel flying over and a pair of Grey Herons that were watched as they dropped into tree tops near to the rear of the Canal Pond.
22 June 2010- A Grey Heron was watched fishing for prey by Parrish Colman. Anticipating a catch of a small Roach or Rudd Parrish was able to capture the moment when the heron dropped onto the water surface and rose with it's quarry. However, as can be seen from the photo it was not the expected species of fish but a large Goldfish or Koi Carp!
11 June 2010- Returning home after a week away working saw me able to fit in an hour at the park. Despite, being away a few days little had changed, although, the pair of Tufted Ducks had re-appeared and were found on the Moat Pond asleep! The Canal Pond and Wilderness Pond were both quiet and the Paddling Pool area too. Walking through the flower meadow revealed good numbers of both Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies as well as a couple of Speckled Wood Butterflies. There was no sign of the Whitethroat from last weekend but the family of Pheasants were seen briefly along the edge of the allotment fence. Three chicks were seen but they were quickly herded into the long grass by mum. Both Chiffchaff and Blackcap were still singing throughout the park albeit without the enthusiasm seen in the early Spring. Numerous family parties of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits were seen along with several young Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Dunnocks. A family party of four Green Woodpeckers were seen on the field near to the Bishops Hill gate but were unfortunately flushed by a dog before a photograph was possible. On the Moat Pond with the Tufted Ducks, the female Mandarin was seen with 12 ducklings. However, it was noticed that three of the twelve were smaller than the others and it suggested that these perhaps belong to another brood and may indicate that this female has taken them over from the other female seen this year. This is quite common for a dominant and mature female to do and is seen frequently in the wood ducks. A negative feature about today's walk was the amount of Brown Rats seen. On a circular walk I saw 23 (including the one photographed below), unfortunately the real number is likely to be much higher.
However, finishing on a positive note three Sparrowhawks were seen flying over the Eastern Woods including a very scruffy juvenile!
06 June?- The Whitethroat (below) was found again this morning in the scrubby bushes which surround the Old Bat Roost. This bird was very mobile but sang and called frequently- listen for a scratchy warble or a buzzing rattle. The way it was behaving this morning strongly suggests that it is now holding territory which is great news.
The Little Egret was again on the Moat Pond by the overflow from Pond 3 and a drake Mandarin was also in trees around the Moat. Elsewhere, both Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing and a Song Thrush was in song by the Stable Block. Both Green and Greater Spotted Woodpecker were seen and heard calling. Butterflies seen were Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Orange-tip, Large White, Green Veined White and a male Brimstone. Overhead, a few Swifts were flying over the park along with a single Swallow.
04 June 2010- I made a visit to the park this evening in order to look and listen for the Whitethroats seen earlier in the week. Unfortunately, nothing was seen or heard to suggest that the two birds had remained. It is certainly worth keeping a look out for them however, especially in the next week or so as they are great skulkers and may be busy somewhere out of the way- especially given the amount of human traffic that has passed through the park due to the sun. A Little Egret was feeding around the Moat Pond and the mother Mandarin and 12 ducklings were mobile between here and the Paddling Pool. A Sparrowhawk showed well over the Conservation Area and a Grey Heron flew north.
03 June 2010- Parrish Colman caught up with a few more of the park residents today including an awesome portrait of a Coal Tit (top) and Dunnock (below).
02 June 2010- A quick visit was undertaken to the park this morning before heading off for work. It paid off as I came across two Whitethroats, one in the Orchard and a second near the Old Bat Roost. This latter bird was singing and calling vigorously but despite being mobile it did appear to be keen on one patch of brambles as it kept returning to the same spot. Hopefully, it will stick around and start to defend a territory and attract a mate- I'll certainly be keeping an ear and eye out for it and my fingers crossed. Elsewhere, there were two drake Mandarins on Pond 1, under the overhanging bushes, another drake on Pond 3 along with the female bird and her 12 ducklings. It's strange that the drakes have re-appeared and may suggest that they are all post-breeding birds.
PM update- Martin Reeve kindly sent me an email and attached some photographs of damselflies and a dragonfly. This got me thinking about this beautiful and fascinating group of insects, the Odonata. They are very visible at times within the park (normally May to September) and are a significant part of the park's fauna and ecosystems. As such, and to raise some interest and records I've added a page to this site. Please feel free to send me photos and details of any records of Odonata.
31 May 2010- A patrol of the park this morning took place under a grey and gloomy sky and with an annoying light drizzle for company. Despite the bleak weather, colour came in the form of a very fresh looking Grey Heron which was watched as it patrolled the rear of the Canal Pond. More colour was added with the Little Egret (below) that was feeding near the overflow pile at the top of the Moat Pond and again perched up in overhanging trees.
Also on this pond was a female Mandarin with three ducklings and a small flock of seven Greenfinches. On Pond 3, the second female Mandarin was present with 13 ducklings along with a Mallard pair with four ducklings. Other birds noted were Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush. A second Grey Heron was found on Pond 1 but this was soon chased off by several Carrion Crows and Magpies. Because of the low grey clouds, hirundines and Swifts were seen well and in good numbers. A gathering of House Martins was counted at 33 birds, a group of Swallows numbered 11 and up to 43 Swifts were seen, albeit, widely scattered over the park. Both Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were seen, however, both were in flight passing over the park.
Late afternoon- A Common Tern (68) was seen flying above the Canal and over the Canal Pond before flying slowly eastwards over the park. This is always a difficult bird to see in the park so my luck was in today, especially as I was only walking along the west side of the park on my way to Landseer Park!
Parrish Colman was in the park late afternoon and caught on camera some of the local birds enjoying the sun and also a few who were bathing, in order below: Blue Tit, Coal Tit, male Chaffinch, male Chaffinch (note the metal ring on it's left leg) and female Chaffinch.
30 May 2010- Parrish Colman was in the park this afternoon and was lucky enough to find a Kestrel hunting over the meadow near to Pond 5. With camera to hand, Parrish seized on this photographic opportunity and as can be seen below managed to catch the bird in a classic hovering position- an awesome image, made more special given the strong winds and difficult lighting!
28 May 2010- A change in work start times meant that I could visit the park this morning for an hour or so. The three Moorhen nests on the Canal were all occupied including the one seen previously with a rat sitting in it! Let's hope the rats leave the eggs and any youngsters alone. Of note several shoals of what I think are Roach were seen in the Canal and in one inlet some sticklebacks were also seen. On the Canal Pond only Mallards were seen. A single Terrapin, who had pulled himself up on the upright tyre at the rear of the pond, was soaking up the sun. Out on the meadows I checked the fast growing flower meadow for any signs of an early skipper butterfly but didn't find anything- perhaps still a bit early. That said, several Green Veined Whites, Large Whites and a single Speckled Wood were seen over the meadow and along the wooded edge. A few odd squawks and nasally whistles drew my attention to the long grass by the allotment fence line and after a few minutes a family of Pheasants were seen. At least two young birds were seen along with the hen and cock bird. Appearing for only a few seconds the hen and young soon disappeared but the cock bird strutted proudly in amongst the deep cover (see below).
On the Moat Pond, a female Mandarin was seen with five ducklings and on Pond 3 a second female Mandarin was seen with 11 ducklings. In the Eastern Woods, several Blackcaps were heard singing but the Chiffchaffs were rather quiet. An adult Song Thrush was seen feeding two youngsters and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was noted being harrassed by a very needy juvenile! No new species of butterflies were encountered but the reasonably high numbers of Speckled Woods were pleasing to see- seven were seen together on one lage clump of brambles. Over the park up to 30+ Swifts were seen at times, a small flock of 11 House Martins passed south, a Kestrel also south and a couple of high flying Grey Herons headed east.
27 May 2010- Of interest today, Martin Reeve saw one of the female Mandarins with 18 (!) Ducklings (see below) and it is unclear at the moment whether this is one single brood or whether it is a combination of the two current broods. Only one female was seen and to be honest I'm not sure if it is like Shelducks, where the adults share responsibility and effectively run a creche for all the ducklings-an occurence known as brood amalgamation!? Either way, the infant mortality is likely to be high so if it helps then so much the better. Certainly last year the two broods in the park were kept very seperate by their respective mothers, however, they were some weeks apart.
Of interest, the Mandarin like it's cousin the Wood Duck, is known to be an "intraspecific dump-nester", which is where one Mandarin will lay in another Mandarin's nest especially if it is a better nest-perhaps in a safer location or where appropriate nest holes are scarce. This would then lead to a large amount of eggs being incubated and if the female is an experienced mother, potentially a large number of ducklings being hatched. In addition, where there are a number of young, inexperienced first year nesting females the occurence of a "drop nest" may occur. This is where all the birds will lay in one specific nest and normally the eggs are left un-incubated. Of note, the average amount of eggs in a UK Mandarin nest is fourteen, whereas in the Far East it is normally ten or eleven.
22 May 2010- Blimey, what a scorcher! Despite the heat and my fair skin I had a walk around the park late morning. Several Common Swifts were screaming around and approximately 11 Swallows were seen passing south. In addition, a pair of House Martins and at least three Swallows were feeding over the Orchard and allotments. The only other migrants noted were the usual Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Checking the ponds revealed a pair of Canada Geese on the Canal Pond, a single female Mandarin on the Wilderness Pond and best of all a female Mandarin on Pond 3 along with nine ducklings (photograph below with five ducklings).
Whilst watching the Mandarin family I noticed a small Grass Snake swimming near by. This was also seen by the female Mandarin and what happened next was fascinating. The female Mandarin flew, then swam towards the snake, put her head under the water and then sufaced and at the same time lifted the snake out of the water and propelled it through the air several feet. The Mandarin then returned and gathered her brood in. The Grass Snake appeared unharmed and swam quickly away to the bank. Oddly, having seen one Grass Snake a second was seen along the margins on Pond 1 this time without a Mandarin bearing down on it! Other reptiles seen came in the form of a Red-eared Terrapin on Pond 1 and two more on the Canal pond. Butterflies seen today were Brimstone (M&F), Large White, Green Veined White, Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue, Comma and Speckled Wood.
NB. Of interest was a report, via BINS (see links page) at 1500hrs of a Great White Egret flying north over Alan Road, Ipswich. So near!
21 May 2010- An early visit to the park failed to find the Spotted Flycatcher and no new migrants were seen either. That said both Blackcap and Chiffchaff were in fine voice along with Song Thrush, Blackbird and Mistle Thrush. Other birds heard singing and calling were Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Starling, Magpie and Green Woodpecker. On the water, the pair of Tufted Ducks were on the Canal Pond and a pair of Canada Geese were mobile between the Canal and the Moat ponds. It was pleasing to see several adults of Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tits feeding young. However, not very pleasing at all was the sight of a huge (and I mean huge!) Brown Rat sitting in a very recently occupied Moorhen's nest on the canal! Elsewhere, a Sparrowhawk was seen over the Eastern Woods and a Kestrel was seen distantly flying over the park, perhaps heading towards Landseer Park.
18 May 2010- Good news was received today in the form of a Spotted Flycatcher. This bird was seen by Parrish Colman near to the Canal Pond and the Wilderness Pond. It appeared to be on its own and was very active which would suggest a restless migrant. Hopefully, it will stick around for the rest of us to enjoy! Parrish also managed to capture some wonderful images of a Long Tailed Tit family and these can be seen below.
A number of Red-eared Terrapins have been seen in the park in recent years and being reptiles are normally found perched up where they can benefit from full sun. Despite the recent bad winter this year is no different and unfortunately several have re-appeared around the Canal Pond. Parrish's photograph below has caught one out on a ledge making the most of the sun's warmth. Most of the Terrapin's in the wild are quite old (and large), having been bought and then abandoned as pets following the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze. That said a number are still being released into the wild and the problem continues.
17 May 2010- After the rain passed through this afternoon I had a quick tour of the quiet corners of the park in the hope of a new warbler or a skulking Nightingale! However, despite looking and listening hard, nothing new was found. Of interest, two Little Egrets were present in the park, one in the usual tree perch in the Moat Pond, the second bird patrolling the shallow margins of Pond 1. A few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing as I walked around although all were drowned out by the Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. The rain appeared to have set them off and the volume of their singing was incredible. A Green Woodpecker was found amongst the, now fast growing, flower meadow and a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers were seen flying over the Orchard. A fine male Pied Wagtail was seen along the edge of the Paddling Pool complete with a beak full of insects and another male Pied Wagtail was seen in flight as it flew over the Stable Block towards Cliff Lane. Watching the sky revealed good numbers of Common Swifts, several House Martins and Swallows and a lone Sparrowhawk. Several large gulls flew over too and these were found to be both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. With the sun appearing again after the rain, the temperature soon rose and a number of butterflies were quickly back on the wing. Species seen were: Green Veined White, Large White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Comma, Peacock, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.
Other- Of interest a Cuckoo was reported calling frequently on nearby Landseer Park today at around 10am (ex Yahoo Suffolk Natural History Newsgroup) but not after. Also reported were good numbers of Holly Blue butterflies.
14 May 2010- Parrish Colman was in the park today and managed a couple of lovely portraits of Blue Tit (above and Goldfinch (below).
12 May 2010- A quick walk around the park before work had me dodging showers but when the sun did come out it soon warmed the air up and a few butterflies appeared. Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Brimstone (male) and a splendid male Orange -Tip (see below) appeared from nowhere along Brimstone Alley.
Bird wise the park appeared very quiet. On the Canal Pond the pair of Canada Geese were found along with the Tufted Ducks although they were hard to see at the rear of the island. Overhead, a female Sparrowhawk was hunting and it seemed to be very interested in the Starlings that had come into the park to feed on the wet grass. Both Blackcap and Chiffchaff were in song throughout and a pair of Common Swifts were also seen as they flew circles high over the Stable Block. A Grey Heron flew over complete with Carrion Crow escort but there was no sign of the Little Egret. On the sledging slope, next to the Eastern Woods, a pair of Mistle Thrush were pulling worms out of the ground along with a single Song Thrush, three Blackbirds, a Green Woodpecker and a very mobile Greater Spotted Woodpecker. On the path between Ponds 1 and 2, a pair of Jays were pulling something apart before jumping back into cover- lets hope it was a rat! Within the allotments, the cock Pheasant and at least one hen Pheasant were present but no Red Legged Partridge today. Actually, it was quite good for birds!
09 May 2010-am- The rain continued and the park looked damp and miserable today albeit very green! Few birds were seen although interestingly seven Jackdaws passed over and were only my second record of this species this year! Blackcap and Chiffchaff could be heard singing throughout the park and both Song and Mistle Thrush were also in voice seemingly enjoying singing in the rain.
pm- What a contrast, the band of rain had passed through and the afternoon turned out to be sunny and warm with beautiful blue skies. An increase in temperature and sun meant that the butterflies re-appeared with the following species seen on the wing: Large White, Small White, Green Veined White (see below), Brimstone, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood.
Watching the sky proved rewarding with great views of hunting Common Swifts and best of all my first proper House Martin (67) sightings. About 20 birds were seen with the Swifts, perhaps they had been sitting on the back of the rain as it went through? It was great to see them back and, hopefully, a few will remain in the area to breed.
Also present in the park was the Little Egret. It was superbly photographed by Martin Reeve, as can be seen below.
08 May 2010- Early am- The park's Dawn Chorus event took place, with good views of both Blackcap and Treecreeper being obtained. Around 8am, a Peregrine was seen hunting over the nearby docks and was watched as it stooped into the pigeons near to the brewery. After it re-appeared several minutes later it was with clean talons and had therefore missed out on it's kill. It was last seen flying down river presumably to the Orwell Bridge site?
Mid morning- The pair of Tufted Ducks were back on the Canal Pond along with a female Mandarin Duck. On the Moat Pond a male Mandarin Duck was seen alone and a female Mallard was seen with 4 ducklings. On Pond 1, another male Mandarin Duck was found and a Grey Heron was also observed hunting in the margins. The Pheasant was calling from the allotments and a Red Legged Partridge was also seen in this area. Overhead, a Sparrowhawk braved the wind and rain and several Swallows and Swifts passed through. In the Eastern Woods both Chiffchaff and Blackcap were heard along with Goldcrest and Long Tailed Tits. Both Song and Mistle Thrush were seen feeding fledged youngsters and I hope that this wet weather doesn't cause the youngsters harm. Elsewhere in the park, a Treecreeper was calling from the Wilderness Pond trees, both Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers where seen several times along the western edges and six Greenfinches (perhaps the same six that were on my garden feeders this morning!?) were together in tree tops near to the Myrtle Road gate. On a negative point, I counted 11 Brown Rats on my walk, not good for the ground nesting birds and bad news for ducklings......
Early pm- A guided walk early evening saw the Tufted Ducks on the Canal (Big) Pond along with a pair of Mandarins. The Little Egret was seen again on the Moat (No. 4) Pond, continuing the trend for it to be present from afternoon through to the evening, rather than in the morning. Also seen was a Greater Spotted Woodpecker feeding on the pine tree by the entrance to the childrens play area.
05 May 2010- After a very long day of driving I set off for an early evening walk around the park in order to unwind and check for any new arrivals. After a while it became apparent that the birds were unwilling to show themselves and make it easy so I started listening hard for calls and songs. Within the Eastern Woods I heard both Blackcap and Chiffchaff and within the Holly bushes alongside Pond 1 a Garden Warbler gave a few seconds of it's bubbly, thrush like call. Waiting for it to appear proved fruitless and instead I was drawn to the repeated calls and whistles of a very loud Song Thrush. Also heard within the woods were Long Tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird. Several Stock Doves were noted and plenty of Woodpigeons were also present. A disagreement between severals Magpies and Jays created lots of noise enough in fact to attract a few Carrion Crows who in turn added their own scolding comments. Out on the water, a single drake Mandarin Duck was on Pond 3 and another was seen perched on a tree branch in the Wilderness Pond. The Mallard ducklings on Pond 3 were still present but worringly only five were counted compared to the eight seen previously. Overhead good numbers of both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen and a single Sparrowhawk was also present albeit distant. Of note was the flock of 30+ Common Swifts that were watched as they passed over the park tree tops heading in a south- easterly direction. Very high above them were several Swallows. Even higher above the Swallows were more hirundines, however, due to the distance I could not positively identify them but their flight certainly suggested House Martin.
03 May 2010- For a May bank holiday the weather was disappointing to say the least and the northerly winds have quietened the birds and butterflies. Braving the elements I had a quick walk around late this afternoon and the park was indeed quiet. Only Mallards and Moorhens were on the Canal and Pond. The pair of Canada Geese were found on the Moat Pond but didn't linger and were soon seen in flight heading for the river. On Pond 3, a pair of Mallards were seen with a brood of eight ducklings and a female Mandarin duck was perched in the island tree. The Eastern Woods provided some bird song in the form of Song Thrush, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. Other birds seen and heard calling were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon and Stock Dove. Several hunting Great Tits were also seen as well as numerous Long Tailed Tits foraging for food. On the bowling green lawn the male Pied Wagtail (see below) was seen again but it too was very mobile and appeared to be rather unnerved by the strong winds. Overhead, a male Kestrel was seen in flight heading towards the town centre complete with an unwanted escort of three Carrion Crows!
Parrish Colman also visited the park today and took a truly superb photo (see below) of a Long Tailed Tit enroute to it's nest.
30 April 2010- Over the last few days good numbers of migrant bird species have been arriving along the Suffolk coast including Wood Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Turtle Dove, Whinchat as well as Hobby, Garganey and various waders. I was hoping that on my early morning walk today a few of the above might be found especially given the rain yesterday and during the evening. Along the canal path both Blackcap and Chiffchaff were seen and heard but there was no sign of the recent Whitethroat. On the canal and pond only Mallard and Moorhen were seen. Walking out onto the meadow a pair of Shelduck were seen in flight over the park before doubling back and heading out towards the river. Whilst watching the Shelduck a small wagtail was seen in flight and I hoped that it would turn out to be a Yellow Wagtail. However, as it flew over my head I was able to identify it as a male Grey Wagtail, not what I had hoped for but still a welcome sight. Checking the Orchard and allotment areas thoroughly revealed several more Blackcaps, including a female taking food to a nest, Long tailed Tits, Song Thrush and the now resident Pheasant. Around the Walled Garden areas a handsome male Pied Wagtail was feeding on the bowling green lawn before being bullied off by a pair of Carrion Crows. The ponds were birdless apart from several Mallard and Moorhen. In the Eastern Woods, several more Blackcap and Chiffchaff were seen and more frequently heard. Walking back over the grass fields I disturbed a Green Woodpecker and then a Mistle Thrush with so many worms in it's beak it almost struggled to "scold" me as it flew. As I got to the Wilderness Pond a call overhead revealed a Greenshank passing through albeit very high. Watching it disappear in a north easterly direction I also managed to see a few Swifts moving behind it and a single Swallow. So, as I left I hadn't see all the migrants I had wished for but it was still a decent bird walk. Maybe next time......!
PM update- A quick walk around the park failed to reveal any migrants other than Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Swallow and Swift. However, a drake Mandarin was on the Moat Pond and a pair of Mandarins were on Pond 3. The Little Egret (see below) was seen in trees overlooking the Moat and then in flight as it flew towards the Wilderness Pond.
One thing I noticed again today was the good numbers of Song Thrush (see below) in the park. Counting them this afternoon gave me a minimum count of 11 birds!
28 April 2010- With a change in work plans I managed to get over early to the park and complete a couple of circuits. Along the Canal Path the Whitethroat could still be heard "churring" and giving the occasional "rattle" as it moved around in the scrubby areas. Despite this is wasn't heard to sing so it may be a new female bird or the male from Sunday being quiet! On the Canal Pond the pair of Tufted Ducks were seen and a Grey Heron was roosting in a tree overlooking the water. Out on the meadow the pair of Canada Geese were noted but of interest were the two Shelducks (65) that were feeding with them. These two birds are likely to have come from the Orwell Estuary but they both looked at home feeding with the geese. A familiar call overhead caused me to look up and three Common Swifts (66) were watched flying over at speed before doubling back and then circle over the tree tops. It's always great to see the Swifts back and listenuing to their excited calls is an absolute treat! Several pairs of Long tailed Tits were seen including one brave pair who saw off a Magpie that appeared to have found their nest. In the Eastern Woods near the Holly trees by Pond 1 a Coal Tit was heard singing and appeared to be in competition with the Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Song Thrush that were also present in the area. Leaving the park via the Canal path the Whitethroat couldn't be heard again but the male Phesant was heard calling from the allotment area.
25 April 2010- Gi Grieco was out and about in the park this morning and managed to find a Whitethroat (and the first reported for the year) in scrub in the corner of the meadow by the Orchard gates and Canal Path. Gi also had both Blackcap and Chiffchaff in good numbers as well as the usual park species.
I managed to get to the park early afternoon and soon found the Whitethroat (and my first of the year in the park-64 species) singing and calling near the corner of the Orchard and the Canal Path. Although very elusive it did show briefly before skulking off. On the Canal Pond the pairs of Canada Geese and Tufted Ducks were seen along with a Grey Heron. A count of nine Song Thrush whilst walking around the park was very pleasing and it is was great to see lots of common park species generally going about their business. Walking through the Walled Garden area led me to check the hedge running along the northside of the Holywells Bowls Club green and a second Whitethroat was heard and seen briefly here. Also on the green were two Pied Wagtails and several Robins. Overhead, several Swallows passed through and good numbers of both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen.
On the butterfly front, Brimstone Alley was the place to be with Large, Small and Green Veined Whites (see above) almost everywhere along with Speckled Wood, Brimstone (M&F), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock (see below) and Holly Blue also present.
Hot on my heals, Parrish Colman was in the park late afternoon and found a Little Egret (see above photo by Parrish) and a Treecreeper tending to a nest hole. A Little Egret, hasn't as far as I am aware been around for awhile so it's good news to hear that one is still around and visiting the park.
Above- Treecreeper, below, Wren both by Parrish Colman
23 April 2010- I managed a quick walk around the park late morning, making the most of the warm and feel good temperatures. Birdwise the park was relatively quiet with most species now engaged in nest building, feeding young and watching others doing the same. That said, there was still plenty of bird song and calls to listen to as well. Both Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were still present in good numbers although no new warbler song was heard today. With this weekend's southerly winds it may be that a few new birds will pass through and stick around. I'm still hopefull that we will see Wilow Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Nightingale soon, fingers crossed. Several Song Thrush were noted this morning including three together in the "Swamp" arean near to Myrtle Road corner. At least two Mistle Thrush were seen and heard and good numbers of Blackbirds were also noticed, with most carrying food in beaks or in one case being chased by a hungry youngster! Overhead, several Herring Gulls flew over, a Sparrowhawk was patrolling high up and a single Swallow was seen flying north-west. On the ponds, the Canada Geese pair were on the Moat Pond and a pair of Mandarin Ducks were found hidden under some tree roots on Pond 1. Along Brimstone Alley, butterflies species seen were Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock and Brimstone.
Senior Park Ranger Matt Berry was also out and about in the park today and managed to see an impressive number of butterflies. Along Brimstone Alley, 2 male Brimstone's were seen along with an egg laying female (see Matt's photo's below).
Above, Brimstone Eggs by Matt Berry.
Other species seen were Peacock, Holly Blue, Green Veined White, Comma Large White and a male Orange Tip.
In the New Orchard, Comma (see Matt's photo above), Small Tortoiseshell, male Brimtone and Speckled Wood were all seen along with the male Pheasant. On the meadows, both female Brimstone and Peacock were seen and along the Canal Path Holy Blue and Large Whites were noted. Also of note was a find of a Long Tailed Tits nest in brambles, see below.
22 April 2010- Another Common Buzzard was seen today flying over the park by Joe Underwood, Park Ranger. This species has been seen a good number of times in the park this year already and it appears that the increase in sightings is due to the fact that Common Buzzard are becoming more widespread in Suffolk and, more importantly, more people are looking up!
21 April 2010- Butterfly news was received from Matt Berry, Senior Park Ranger in the form of both Large and Small Whites along Brimstone Alley. Matt also found a Brimstone egg on one the Alder Buckthorns in this area. Have a look at Matt's and Parrish Colman's photo's on the Butterflies 2010 page.
20 April 2010- Nick Wilcox, Park Manager found a male Orange-tip Butterfly today in Brimstone Alley. This is the first park record for the year that I have heard reported and is a very welcome one too! Other local news per Yahoo Natural History Newsgroup was of four Brimstone butterflies reported in Landseer Park.
19 April 2010- I had a very quick walk around the park at dusk to listen out for any Nightingale calls or song but unfortunately nothing was heard. The Pheasants were very noisy and at least four Song Thrushes and two Mistle Thrushes were singing loud and proud. Interestingly, Matt Berry Senior Park Ranger heard his first local Nightingale calling in Orwell Country Park today so they are certainly about!
18 April 2010- I had intended to get into the park this morning at first light, however, having run my moth trap at home overnight I was a bit delayed but still made it for the late dawn chorus. Listening hard to the bird song revealed the following species singing: Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest and Treecreeper- not a bad choir! Elsewhere both Jays and Magpies were calling along with both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. One call standing out above everything else was the cock Pheasant.
Checking him out within the allotments area revealed the reason for his louder than usual calling as two hen birds (see naff photo above) were seen with him! Hopefully, this may lead to a breeding record soon and add to the park's list of breeding birds. It seems to suggest that in trying to find a mate then perserverance is the key as this chap has proved. Not quite singing but still rather vocal were the pair of Mandarins on the Canal Pond. Becoming restless with the brightening day this pair spent some flight time doing noisey circuits of the park before settling on Pond 3. There was no sign of either the Tufted Ducks or Canada Geese, however, these were either away feeding or hidden up in the fast thickening undergrowth on the Canal Pond island. On leaving the park via the Canal path a pair of very small Mallard ducklings (see below) were found on the water and a pleasant sight they were too!
16 April 2010- A mid-morning walk around the park found the pair of Tufted Ducks still present on the Canal Pond and a pair of Mandarin Ducks on the Moat Pond. Good numbers of both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls passed over head watched by the female Sparrowhawk. The Pheasant was seen and heard in the Old Orchard and at least two each of Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were present within the park. A pair of Treecreepers were feeding on the trees around the Wilderness Pond and a single Goldcrest was also found with them. Good numbers of both Blackcaps, at least 9 birds singing and Chiffchaffs were noted with the latter counted at at least 11 birds.
Above, Chiffchaff present along Canal Path.
Of interest was a Blackcap singing near to the Myrtle Road entrance. Listening to it singing revealed snippets of Subalpine Warbler song, especially as it started a new round of singing. This may suggest that it has been wintering with this species or been present with it on migration. Eitherway, it was interesting to note the different songs being sung. In the Eastern Woods, two Green Veined White butterflies were seen passing through the trees but at height. Also seen was a single Comma that also flew through very quickly. A single Mistle Thrush was present in trees between Pond 2 and the Stable Block and a number of Song Thrushes were heard singing from perches.
14 April 2010- Returning to the park over lunchtime, today was a very different day weatherwise to that of yesterday! With thick cloud and only the odd splash of sunshine it was altogether cooler and less spring-like. Hoping to see and hear the Garden Warbler from yesterday I was disappointed that I could not relocate it today- perhaps it was simply passing through or maybe it has moved to another corner of the park. However, both Blackcaps (see male Blackcap photo below) and Chiffchaffs were seen and heard in good numbers throughout the park so all was not lost!
Despite the gloom, a couple of butterflies were seen in the Eastern Woods, one being a Comma and the other a Green Veined White. Whilst waiting for the Garden Warbler the Pheasant was heard and seen briefly, again in the allotments near to the corner running alongside the Old Orchard. With several Blue Tit pairs nesting it was sad to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker raiding one of the boxes and pulling out a nestling. Similarly, a Jay was seen at close range with what also appeared to be a Blue Tit nestling in it's beak. How cruel nature can be! Good numbers of Stock Doves were noted and a Green Woodpecker, carrying food in it's beak, was seen in flight towards a nest hole. A very vocal Mistle Thrush was present in tree tops near to the Stable Block and a single Song Thrush was seen pulling worms out of the Walled Garden's beds. Overhead, several large gulls were noted in the form of Herring and Lesser Black-backed. A single Sparrowhawk flew high in the clouds. On the water, the pair of Tufted Ducks (see below) showed well on the Canal Pond and a pair of Mandarins were displaying (still!) on Pond 3.
13 April 2010- Following a week away abroad birding in Madeira (Zinos Petrel a new lifer!!!) I returned to the park for a lunchtime visit and found the park bathed in sunshine. Hoping for some new migrant birds and my first butterfly in the park this year I had only stepped a few feet through the Cliff Lane gate when a Comma butterfly flashed in front of me! Checking the tree trunks near to the gate I found one then two Commas (see below) bathing in the sunlight. Looking around a Peacock was also flying nearby and further down the path a Large White Butterfly flew high over my head. Turning back to birds for a while both Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in song along the Canal Path and the pair of Tufted Ducks were still on the Canal Pond. Out on the Meadows few birds were seen due to the amount of people about but high above the park a single Swallow (62) passed over. Checking the Old Orchard revealed two more Comma's and a single Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. Walking up and checking the Allotments led to a brief view of the Pheasant again before it moved off out of sight. Of interest, however, was the Garden Warbler (63) that was singing in the hedge between the Allotments and the Bowling Green. Hopefully, this bird will stick around and pair up for the summer. Checking the Eastern Woods revealed more Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a single green Woodpecker. A small tit flock was found which was made up mainly of Great Tits, however, a single Coal Tit was also found to be present. Several more Commas were encountered along with another Large White, a single Small White and a pair of Brimstone butterflies! Checking the sky again on leaving produced a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel both very high up above the park. With six species of butterfly and the warbling song of Garden Warbler ringing in my head it had proved a great return to the park.
Of interest, Joe Underwood, Ipswich Parks' Ranger reported the folowing from Bourne Park today: Cettis Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Common Buzzard and a probable Sedge Warbler singing- not a bad selection of birds!
12 April 2010- Of local interest, Ipswich Parks' Ranger Laura, heard a Cettis Warbler in the reed bed at Bourne Park today. This is a good Spring record and suggests that the often heard wintering birds are lingering into the Spring. Hopefully, one may make it over to Holywells in the future!
04 April 2010- Gi Grieco was in the park today and saw and heard: Two Blackcap, Chiffchaff, a Mistle Thrush in the walled garden and four Lesser Black-backed Gulls around Pond 3. Also on this pond was a pair of Mandarin.
03 April 2010- A quick check of the park, before heading north for the Kessingland Pallid Swift, revealed three Red Legged Partridges (61) in the Old Orchard area before they moved up and into (?) the allotments. A great addition to the year list and a very welcome sight! It's likely that, like the Pheasant, these birds have come in from local countryside. They may also have been encouraged in towards the park by the grain spillages on nearby roads brought about by the lorries collecting grain from ships on Cliff Quay.
PM update- Later, after successfully "twitching" the Pallid Swift I drove down Cliff Lane towards home. On looking up I noticed a large bird passing over the park. Pulling over and checking I soon identified it as a Common Buzzard. Looking again I saw two more birds above this one and soon I was watching a "flock" of three Common Buzzards! Bizarrely this is the second movement of three Common Buzzards in a few weeks and is another great record for the park. A rubbish photo (as below) was obtained, a. because of the rain and b. I forgot to change the ISO from earlier!
02 April 2010- A very early start meant that I managed to catch a lot of the dawn chorus before it was lost to the day. Walking from the sluice and up to the Canal Pond revealed two singing Blackcaps and three Chiffchaffs.
Above- Chiffchaff, Canal Path.
Accompanying them in song were; Robin Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove and Great Tit! Not a bad bunch of avian songsters! The pair of Canada Geese and the pair of Tufted Ducks (see below) were both found on the Canal Pond and a Grey Heron was also seen lurking at the rear of the pond.
Walking around the park revealed at least 9 Chiffchaffs singing and 5 Blackcaps in various locations. In an ivy covered tree near to the bridge by Pond 3, a Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Goldcrest were all within several inches of each other. On Pond 1 a pair of Mandarins were seen and two Coal Tits were calling. Overhead several large gulls were seen including Lesser Black-backed and Herring along with a reasonable movement east of Black-headed Gulls. Whilst watching the gulls go over a single Greylag Goose (60) was seen high in a westerly flight and it never looked like stopping. Despite being locally very common it is a rare species for the park and this was only my second record.
Above- Greylag Goose in flight, high over the park.
Other birds seen this morning was a single but vocal Mistle Thrush, at least two each of Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker and good numbers of both Woodpigeon and Stock Dove. Returning home I again looked skywards and was rewarded with very good views of the Sparrowhawk pair displaying over the conservation area.
01 April 2010- Dave Ladbrook found a pair of Tufted Ducks on the Canal Pond today and a welcome addition to the parks year list. These birds are likely to be the returning pair from last year who succesfully raised five ducklings. Hopefully, they will stick around and do the same again. Park Wildlife Ranger, Joe Underwood had an amazing encounter with a Peregrine Falcon today! The falcon was seen hunting and then in a stoop which resulted in the bird disappearing into the Horse Chestnut Trees near to the Cliff Lane entrance- awesome! This bird may be one of the pair that have been seen again on the Orwell Bridge in recent weeks. Lets hope they continue to frequent the park and the local area and add to the richness and variety of wildlife.
PM update- I managed to see the pair of Tufted Ducks (59) on the Canal Pond although it was getting too dark to photograph them. The birds were seen to copulate a couple of times and remain at the rear of the pond. My first proper singing Blackcap in the park this year was also heard from within the scrub in the Old Orchard. A Green Woodpecker was seen in flight and then feeding in a tree near to the Canal Pond. Twenty- three Magpies were seen together in pre-roost gathering and a Tawny Owl was heard calling but not seen.