Summary of birds and wildlife recorded in the park during February 2012
If you wish to report any bird or wildlife sightings then I would love to hear from you please email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
29 February 2012- Laragh Smyth sent a great photograph of what appears to be a pair of mating Common Frogs which were seen around the Moat area this afternoon see below. However, closer closer scrutiny reveals this pairing to be in fact a male Common Frog on top of a female Common Toad. This type of observation is always a sign that Spring is just around the corner.
I had a quick walk around late afternoon and found the park to be reasonably quiet. A Little Egret was on pond 2 and a Kingfisher was on Pond 1. A Chiffchaff was seen with tits along Brimstone Alley but alas no butterflies. On Pond 3, 30 Black-headed Gulls were found and two birds were seen to have rings on their legs. Another individual was noted to have a very long and deformed bill but it still seemed to be able to scavenge bread. Several Song Thrush were seen including two males singing from tree tops declaring their territories. A Jay was watched as it searched through grass and allowed on this occasion itself to be photographed (see below). On the Canal Pond the Coots were fighting and at one point it was getting very nasty with one Coot showing blood on it's bill! Clearly the testosterone is running high!
26 February 2012- An early morning visit today found the park to be fairly quiet. On the Canal three Coots, five Mandarins and five Canada Geese were found and another Coot was on the Moat Pond. A pair of Mistle Thrush were seen around Pond 3 and a pair of Mandarins were on the pond. A large tit flock was feeding around Pond 1 and in amongst the tits were three Goldcrests (see below) and two Treecreepers along with a pair of Coal Tits.
Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming within the woods and a few Redwings passed over. Returning along the canal path my attention was drawn to some erratic chirping coming from a clump of brambles close to the sluice. I eventually located the source of the call and found myself looking at a male House Sparrow (L104, Y59). This was a first for me in the park and a very welcome bird. I regularly see House Sparrows around the local area and often wondered why they never come into the park. This male was "singing" and clearly looking for a mate so let's hope he stays around and finds a female.
Above- House Sparrow, canal path.
Parrish Colman was also in the park and managed to take some fantastic photographs of some of the park regulars- from the top- Blue Tit (note the ring), middle- Chaffinch and bottom- Wren.
25 February 2012- I spent the morning bird ringing with Brian Thompson in the Orchard. Things were generally quiet with only 15 birds caught- Robin (1), Great Tit (5), Blue Tit (5), Long Tailed Tit (4) and Wren (2). Whilst in the Orchard several birds were noted overhead including a Grey Wagtail (Y 57), Green Woodpecker and Sparrowhawk. At 1025hrs, six swans were seen to fly low over the park and as they passed over the Orchard they were identified as WHOOPER SWANS (L 103, Y 58)! This incredible record constituted a first for the park and as such took the park's bird species total to 122. It's likely that this group of swans were on the move following the recent mild weather and are perhaps re-orientating themselves in preparation for a return to their breeding grounds in Iceland. Of interest, good numbers of Bewicks Swans were seen on the coast yesterday with some appearing to head out to sea and then eastwards. After the ringing session ended I had a walk around the park and found 48 Black-headed Gulls around Pond 3 and the Moat Pond along with seven Coots (one of the Moat Pond and another six along the canal). On the Canal Pond, six Canada Geese were seen and five Mandarins (3m, 2f) were also present. A Little Egret was feeding along the Paddling Pool edge and a second bird was seen in flight heading towards Pond 1.
Other news: Gi Grieco was also in the park this morning and reported a Grey Wagtail over the Canal Pond, perhaps the same one that I saw from the Orchard? Interestingly, Gi also saw two Coots on the Moat Pond so the Coot total could even be eight! A Brimstone butterfly was seen by Barry Woodhouse.
24 February 2012- I managed an early finish at work today and had high hopes of catching up with a butterfly in the park. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the park the sun had gone and it was overcast. Needless to say I didn't see any butterflies but two Little Egrets were seen, one on the Moat Pond and the other on the Canal Pond (see below). Of note, the egret on the Canal Pond appeared to have a broken claw which could been seen sticking up when perched and in flight.
Seven (4m, 3f) Mandarins were on the Canal Pond and six Coots were again along the Canal and pond. A flock of 18 Goldfinches were seen around the Canal trees and Wilderness Pond and a few Chaffinches were flying with them. On Pond 3,㺰 Black-headed Gulls were counted and three low flying Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen around the play area. A Kingfisher was on Pond 1 hidden amongst the overhanging trees and three Treecreepers were found in a small mixed tit flock that passed through and along Brimstone Alley. A Sparrowhawk was circling over the Eastern Woods and a Kestrel was seen flying towards Landseer Park. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were seen and heard in the Eastern Woods and a party of five Jays added both colour and noise to the woodlands.
23 February 2012- With the mild period hitting a peak of 17 degrees it could only lead to one thing and that was the park's first butterflies being seen. Matt Berry recorded singles of Comma and Brimstone in the park today. Another Brimstone was recorded by Matt Garnham along "Brimstone Alley"! Several other Brimstones were seen in the local area along with a Small Tortoiseshell (Landseer Park) Red Admiral and another Comma. Birds of interest today included a Common Buzzard (first record for the park this year), Little Egret and Sparrowhawk all seen by Matt Berry. Brian Thompson recorded 55 Black-headed Gulls on the ponds and Matt Garnham also recorded Little Egret (see below).
Typically, I was away on a course in Lincoln and only returned in early evening so missed out on todays butterflies! However, a walk around the park edges during the evening revealed a low flying and very vocal Tawny Owl, several Common Pipistrelle bats (seen and via my bat detector) and several Toads.
19 February 2012- I had a quick walk around the park at lunchtime, finding a Kingfisher along the Moat Pond and seeing a Sparrowhawk over the Eastern Woods. Winter thrush numbers seemed to have reduced significantly but a single Mistle Thrush was heard singing. Again, I had no luck with the Water Rail along the Paddling Pool or in the Wilderness Pond. However, I bumped into Parrish Colman who had just seen two Lesser Redpolls in trees surrounding the Wilderness Pond and amongst a small flock of Goldfinches. Returning to look for the redpolls I eventually found them amongst㺌 Goldfinches and I also found five Siskins too. The finches were very mobile and generally difficult to locate but a few good views were achieved in the end. Leaving the park along the Canal gave me flight views of another Kingfisher and a count of six Coots, of which there now seems to be two distinct pairs on territories.
Above - Coot and Blackbird, both photographed today by Parrish Colman. Below, drake Mandarin by Paul Sherman.
18 February 2012- Sarah Kilshaw was in the park today and saw five Canada Geese on the Canal Pond. Sarah managed to photograph them as below.
17 February 2012- Hoping to see the Water Rail, I spent some time early this morning in the Wilderness Pond area and around the Swamps. Unfortunately, I did not see the bird but I did record eight pairs of Mandarins and interestingly two pairs of Coots in display. Two park year ticks were also picked up and came in the shape of a single Pied Wagtail (Y 55) that flew over the meadows and a male Kestrel (Y 56) that was hunting over the trees in the Myrtle Road corner.
Has anyone seen Henry the Harris Hawk lately?
16 February 2012- Matt Garnham caught up with the elusive Water Rail again today on the Wilderness Pond and sent in the photograph below. I have spent ages looking for this bird but with no luck yet! Well done again Matt.
14 February 2012- A quick visit to the park this morning revealed that most of the snow had gone and the ice on the ponds was thawing. A walk through the car park and Eastern Woods revealed good numbers of birds including Dunnocks, Wrens, Robins, Blackbirds, Redwings, tits, Chaffinches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers (3) and several Jays. Stock Doves seemed to be in every tree and their distinctive call resonated through the park. On Pond 3, three pairs of Mandarins were found along with 23 Black-headed Gulls. There was no sign of any Common Gulls but there were plenty of Herring Gulls passing high overhead. Whilst walking along the edge of the Paddling Pool two Common Snipe were flushed and I watched them zig-zag away and land in the long damp grass near the allotment fence. On the Canal Pond , another five Mandarins (3m, 2f) were present and the six Coot remained. Seven Jackdaws were watched flying over the Canal and were seen to fly towards the River Orwell and dock area. Whilst walking through the Kissing Gate Meadow a dead Black-headed Gull was found and it bore all the hallmarks of being killed by a Peregrine. Talking of Peregrines my neighbour reported seeing a Peregrine sitting on his garden fence last week after what was believed to have been a failed hunting attempt by the falcon. His garden birds haven't been the same since!
13 February 2012- A much milder park greeted me this morning as I did a check of all my favourite places. Along the Canal, six Mandarins (3m,3f) were found and a remarkably, six Coot were also counted on the Canal Pond. Whilst here a Grey Heron was seen to fly over. A ringed Chiffchaff was seen briefly in the Bamboo clump within the Old Bat Roost enclosure and a singing Mistle Thrush was seen and heard in the tree tops. On Pond 1, 10 Mandarins (6m,4f) were found hidden under the over hanging trees which together with the six seen on the Canal gave a total of 16 birds. There was no sign of any Common Snipe, Woodcock or Water Rail but I did encounter five Common Gulls (3x ad, 2x 1w) around Pond 3 with the Black-headed Gulls. Only one of the Common Gulls, an adult in winter plumage settled on the pond with the others flying above. This gave me the opportunity to take a few photographs as below.
Good numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Robins were seen within the wooded areas and small numbers of fly-over Fieldfares were noted too. Of note, at least 11 Song Thrush were counted this morning including the individual below. Two un-ringed Treecreepers were found in the Wilderness Pond trees and 18 Goldfinches were also feeding in the tree tops.
11 February 2012- I spent several hours in the park this morning looking for new Winter visitors. I was hopeful that I might catch up with the Water Rail and Teal that had been seen previously in the week but both eluded me during my visit. However, I did manage to see two Woodcock, one in the NE corner of the play area the other in flight over the trees behind the Stable Block. A single Common Snipe was still present at the stream end of Pond 1 although it proved hard to locate and then keep up with as it fed along the stream constantly hidden by overhanging vegetation. One brief spell on the ice let me get a record shot (as below)
Mandarins were seen on Pond 1 (2m, 1f) and on the Canal Pond (5m, 4f). A Kingfisher was present on the Moat close to the viewing platform but it was generally very mobile in this area. I managed to finally catch up with Common Gull (Y 53) and saw both an adult and a 1st winter with Black-headed Gulls as they flew around the park. Unfortunately they did not settle anywhere long enough to photograph. Several small flocks of Fieldfares were seen flying over the park and there were still plenty of Redwings, Blackbirds (see below) and Robins present.
A Sparrowhawk was seen on at least two occasions and two Cormorants, both sporting breeding patches were noted flying towards the Wet Dock area. A Peregrine Falcon (Y 54) was heard calling and seen distantly over the Cliff Quay area and it was great to catch up with this species for my park year list.
Whilst in the park today I spent some time with photographer Barry Woodhouse. Barry takes photographs using a digital camera mounted on a telescope, which is known as "Digiscoping". A selection of Barry's digiscoped images are shown below (Redwing top, Stock Dove middle, Great Spotted Woodpecker bottom). Check out Barry's website at http://www.mydigiscopingphotos.webs.com/. There's a link for it on my links page.
NB: Interesting mammal news came from Susan Reynolds who saw a Weasel in the Leaf Yard area yesterday. Susan managed to take a few photos of this individual as seen below, including a image which shows the Weasel with a rodent prey item. Weasels differ from Stoats by being slightly smaller, more slim looking and without any black on their tail. Weasels are fantastic animals and I will certainly be looking out for one in the future.
10 February 2012- Whilst walking to work this morning a small flock of ducks were seen to fly low over the park and then appear to drop down. Luckily I had my binoculars with me and the flock was identified as six Teal (Y 52). Unfortunately, I couldn't spend any time looking for them so, hopefully, they were seen by others and that they may be present in the park tomorrow.
09 February 2012- A cracking update was received today from Matt Garnham. Matt found a Water Rail in the Wilderness Pond reeds (see below) and two Woodcock were flushed from the playground area NE of the Moat.
In addition, Matt also saw three Common Gulls (2 x 1st winter (see below) and an adult bird in winter plumage) with the Black-headed Gull flock on the ponds. All in all a cracking trio of difficult to see park birds.
PM: Whilst heading home through the park I came across a low flying flock of 11 Lapwings (Y 51) which passed over the meadows. Later the same flock of 11 birds was seen alighting from the grass meadows of Landseer Park. They flew low again over towards the dock area and river.
08 February 2012- Parrish Colman caught up with two Common Snipe around the footbridge above Pond 1 but there was no sign of yesterday's Woodcock. Of interest Parrish was approached by a visitor to the park who reported seeing 10 Waxwings around the Stable Block bushes. Unfortunately, there was no sign of them when Parrish checked the area. If anyone else saw Waxwings in the park or close by today then please let me know as these will be the first of the year for the park. Currently, the only Waxwings being reported in Suffolk that I am aware of are in the Melton area. Parrish has provided a couple more thrush photographs and these are shown below, Fieldfare top, Redwing bottom.
07 February 2012- I spent an hour in the park this afternoon and managed to find a few good birds. On Kissing Gate Meadow, a fine cock Pheasant was seen, pausing briefly to be photographed as below.
Four pairs of Mandarins were found along the Canal and on the Canal Pond. Another three pairs were found on Pond 3. This gave a total of 14 birds which is a nice Mandarin count for the park this time of year. Good numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Robins were present throughout the park and several flocks of Starlings were seen passing over the park. A Treecreeper was heard calling before being found feeding on a tree by the Moat Pond. Close up views revealed it to have a ring on it's leg (see below) so it may be one that was ringed by Brian Thompson in recent months.
Whilst walking alongside Pond 2, I flushed a Common Snipe which then flew towards the Canal and appeared to drop in by the Paddling Pool. Whilst checking the Stream above Pond 1, I found another Common Snipe and a Woodcock was seen very briefly before it walked into dense cover.
Common Snipe (above and below)- Pond 1 area.
In the Eastern Woods, good numbers of Chaffinches and Goldfinches were seen along with more Redwings and a few Fieldfares. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were also found along five Jays.
NB: Matt Berry, Senior Park Ranger and a regular contributor to this website has set up his own wildlife blog at http://greenwingswildlifetours.wordpress.com/. Please pay a visit and enjoy Matt's incredible photography and commentary.
Both Matt Berry and Parrish Colman managed to get some great thrush photos today. Above is Matt's Redwing portrait and below are Parrish's Redwing and Fieldfare.
05 February 2012- The adult pair of Coots on the Canal Pond have become very territorial recently, with the adult male seeing off anything that he feels threatened by including his former offspring.
I was in the park this morning and flushed a Common Snipe (Y 49) from the paddling pool reeds almost standing on it in the process. It flew towards the Moat Pond and beyond so it may be worth checking the stream above Pond 1 which was a favoured spot for them last year. My luck continued and came in the form of a Woodcock (Y 50) that was flushed by a spaniel from underneath the hedgeline running along the Orchard. From it's flight I think it may have landed in the allotment area or perhaps in the Conservation Area, eitherway it didn't go too far. Other birds noted were good numbers of Redwings, Blackbirds and Robins.
04 February 2012- A Little Egret was seen by Paul Sherman in the stream by the Leaf Yard before it was seen to fly to Pond 1 (see below).
Paul also saw 3 Mandarin (2m, 1f) on the Wilderness Pond and 6 Mandarin (4m, 2f) on Pond 3. Paul also shared a moment with a friendly Robin (see below).
Sarah Kilshaw had a good look at the Mandarins today and reports that one of the paired females appears to be missing a leg. Hopefully this particular duck will be ok although the fact that it is paired with a male and appears healthy are both good signs. Sarah reported six pairs of Mandarins from the park's ponds today (three pairs photographed below by Sarah).
Female Mandarin Duck above by Sarah Kilshaw
03 February 2012- Between 20 and 30 Redwings were reported by Parrish Colman today behind Pond 1 along with three Goldcrests in amongst the tit flocks (see Blue Tit below). Also a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in either aggressive display or defending territory.
Matt Berry, Senior Park Ranger had an intimate time with one of the park's Robins as below.
02 February 2012- Parrish Colman saw a Woodcock in the park at 7am this morning close to the Nacton Road wall near the row of Holly trees. This is great news and the Wodcock's presence is perhaps due to the current cold spell. Given this sighting it will be well worth a look in the park's damp areas for snipe (Common and Jack) as well as Water Rail.
01 February 2012- Anders Gray was in the park today and saw Henry the Harris Hawk in trees behind the Canal Pond. It appeared to be eating avian prey this time as feathers were seen coming from it's victim. Anders also three Mandarins (2m, 1f) on the Canal Pond. Elsewhere, he reported several Stock Doves being seen along with two Jays and good numbers of Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great tits, Blackbirds and Redwings.