28 February 2011- Despite it being a grey and gloomy afternoon I had a quick walk around the park before dusk. The Coot remained on the Canal Pond and four pairs of Mandarins were found on Pond 3. A dozen or so Black- headed Gulls were also on Pond 3 and around the flooded edges. Another pair of Mandarins were feeding in a flooded track near to Pond 2. On the meadow between Pond 3 and the Walled Garden I saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull (Yr 51) paddling in the mud and it looked very unsteady. Looking at it closely revealed it to have only one leg, hence it's rather wobbly efforts. The Magpie roost looked quieter than normal but I still managed a count of 32 birds. Experience with the roost this Winter has taught me that if it's a grey and gloomy afternoon then the birds will go straight to rost rather than gather together. Finches were noted in good numbers and the following counts made: 42 Greenfinches, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 80 Chaffinch, 32 Goldfinch and 12 Siskin. As I left with the light fading fast a pair of Tawny Owls were calling from the Conservation area.
26 February 2011- I braved the rain this morning for a quick walk around the park. The Coot (see below) was still present on the Canal Pond and was actively involved in seeing off a drake Mallard when I arrived! The Coot then returned to feeding on pond weed and sub-surface plant matter. Looking at it closely through my binoculars it appeared to be in immaculate adult plumage with no brown feathers (which would have indicated an immature bird). In addition, it's facial shield and bill were brilliant white again indicating a mature bird.
Around the Wilderness Pond was a huge finch flock, probably the one seen during the week. Picking through them in the rain was hard work but I finished on a count of 130+ Siskin, 12 Lesser Redpolls (no Mealy!) and 30 Goldfinch. Another flock of finches flew over the meadow and this turned out to be㺓 Greenfinches. Four Mandarins (two pairs) were on Pond▀ and a Grey Heron was seen in trees near Pond 2. At least two Treecreepers and three Goldcrests were present around the Leaf Yard/ Car park area and Great Spotted Woodpecker was also heard in this area. A flock of thrushes was seen in the tree tops around the Old Bat Roost and was seen to comprise of 11 Blackbirds, nine Redwings and a pair of Song Thrush.
25 February 2011- Parrish Colman was in the park today and saw that the Coot is still present on the Canal Pond. It is continuing with it's territorial behaviour and is also showing signs of nest building so, let's hope something good comes of it. The number of Siskins present in the park is still high and Parrish was able to capture a pair of cracking Siskin shots showing both male (top) and female (below).
24 February 2011- A text from Joe Underwood, Park Ranger alerted me to the presence of a Coot on the Canal Pond. Why the interest in a Coot? Well, it is the first park record that I am aware of since Jan/Feb 2007 and therefore a significant record as far as the park is concerned. So Well done Joe. Also seen this morning was a large flock of Siskin, in the region of 50+ birds and a Treecreeper near to the Leaf Yard.
Late PM. I managed to get to the park late afternoon and saw the Coot (Yr 50) on the Canal Pond. The Coot itself appeared to be defending a large clump of overhanging roots at the rear of the pond and it was also being very aggressive to any Mallard that came close. I also saw it carrying a twig in it's mouth which all tends to suggest a male bird with breeding on it's mind! Let's hope a female finds him soon. Also on the Canal Pond was a single Kingfisher and a small flock of Greenfinches. On the Moat Pond, a Little Egret was found and a large flock of Siskin and Goldfinch were seen in flight over the play area. The flock estimated at about 80 birds was an impressive sight and sound as the birds were very vocal too. On Pond 3, three pairs of Mandarins were present.
Parrish Colman was also in the park this afternoon and captured a fantastic Treecreeper shot as shown below. I think it's one of Parrish's best!
22 February 2011- Gi Grieco had a quick cycle through the park on his way back from seeing a large flock of redpolls, including Mealy Redpoll which are currently present in Ransomes Industrial Park. Gi saw five pairs of Mandarins on Pond 3, a Great Spotted Woodpecker near the Leaf Yard and a fly-over Siskin.
21 February 2011- Parrish Colman was on patrol today and came across a pair of Canada Geese (see below) in the park. Hopefully, these are the pair from previous years and will remain to attempt breeding. ( Of interest, I noticed a pair in the Wetdock on my way to work earlier in the morning and wondered when our pair would return)!
Parrish also saw a large finch flock comprising Siskin, Goldfinch and Greenfinch which was in the region of 100+ birds, a great total. Also noted were three pairs of Mandarins and a Common Gull which is the first reported this year.
19 February 2011- Despite the rain and with the light fading, I made my way into the park along the canal for a late afternoon visit. On the Canal Pond, several Mallard and Mooorhens were seen and a Grey Heron was perched up on a tree branch barking at some angry Carrion Crows. A pair of Mandarins were on the Wilderness Pond and seven Siskins were feeding on Beech mast in the tree tops. Out on the meadow and in the flooded tractor tracks were nine Blackbirds and a single Song Thrush. Noticing a large gathering of Magpies, I made my way to the middle of the meadow in order to start counting them. Looking properly it seemed that there were Magpies everywhere and it was apparent that this was another large pre-roost gathering. Counting them gave me 70 birds so another significant total. Whlist walking over to the Moat Pond a very familiar bird call over head had me looking for a Curlew! I soon located the Curlew (P 98, Y49) as it flew south-east but then noticed it flying back. It then appeared to circle over the park for a couple of times, perhaps re-orientating itself in the gloom, before flying eastwards. This sighting was very significant as it was both my first park record of Curlew and it was also a first for the park itself! This is rather odd considering how close the park is to the Orwell estuary. Feeling rather pleased, I headed up past Pond 3 and came across two pairs of Mandarins and five more Blackbirds feeding on the flooded grass. Seeing lots of Chaffinches ahead, I walked up to the path between Pond 1 and 2 and stood to one side to watch them. I was soon amazed as to how many Chaffinches were actually present in trees eitherside of the path and like the Magpies this appeared to be a pre-roost gathering. Counting them proved difficult as they were constantly flitting through the tree tops and new birds were joining all the time. Despite this, I counted 105 birds, a fantastic total. The rain was becomer heavier so I decided to head home. Noticing a flock of finches in the Old Bat Roost area I stopped and had a look and saw that they were Greenfinches; 36 of them! The Magpie pre- roost was still busy but had dropped to 52 visible birds. So despite the rain another cracking visit with significant counts of Magpies, finches and a new bird too!
13 February 2011- I managed a good walk around the park this morning exploring all of the key areas and spending some time listening to the increasing bird song. The first bird heard along the Canal Path was a Treecreeper. A second bird was seen further along the path and two Song Thrush were also noted. On the Canal Pond there was no sign of the Gadwall pair, however, they have been so elusive it's probable that they are still around. A pair of Mandarin and 16 Mallards were also counted. The tree tops around the Wilderness Pond held six Siskin, three Goldfinch and a single Chaffinch. Along the edge of the Allotments and Orchard a small gathering of Chaffinches was counted at 14 birds. Exploring the hedge by the Orchard revealed three Coal Tits and another four Goldfinch. A pair of Jays were watched drinking from one of the small pools at the base of the Old Bat Roost and a single Pied Wagtail was on the bowling green. On the Moat, another pair of Mandarins was found and 16 Black-headed Gulls were loafing around pond three. In the newly, part-cleared, Pond two yet another pair of Mandarins were seen taking bread and a male Kestrel flew over. Within the Eastern Woods, a pair of Green Woodpeckers were seen nest hole prospecting and three Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in flight together. Several Great and Blue Tits were noted checking nest boxes and two Song Thrushes were heard in full song. A male Greenfinch was seen in display flight keen to impress an audience of two females and a male Goldfinch was also heard singing too.
12 February 2011- Whilst heading up Cliff Lane this morning a series of familiar trilling calls coming from the conservation area had me looking up- Waxwings (Yr 48)! After hearing about 25 Waxwings being present in the park on Tuesday (8th) it was a great surprise to see some myself. Although mobile and generally elusive a small flock of seven birds were seen flying over the park edge on a couple of occasions before disappearing in a north- easterly direction. A female Sparrowhawk was also paying the Waxwings some interest, however, no pursuit was seen.
09-11 February 2011- Both Fox and Muntjac Deer have been reported in the park and in the immediate locale. A pair of Tawny Owls have been calling from within the park and another pair (or perhaps the same pair?) have been calling from the woods between Cliff Lane and Landseer Park.
08 February 2011- After being away working and a brief break I returned early to the park on an incredibly bright and crisp morning. Bird song filled the air and it felt as though Spring is finally on it's way! Around the Conservation area I was struck as to the amount of Magpies that were still around and it seemed that the overnight roost was reluctant to disperse. Counting over 30 birds in this one area was an interesting event. Along the canal a very mobile Long-tailed Tit flock was encountered and at least three Coal Tits and two Goldcrests were found too. On the Canal Pond, a pair of Mandarins were seen along with the pair of Gadwall. The Gadwall were again skulking under the over hanging trees and branches on the island. A Grey Heron was also present at the rear of the pond and a singing Mistle Thrush added to the mix. In the tree tops of the Wilderness Pond, a small finch flock was found. Picking through the flock revealed six Siskin, five Goldfinch, three Greenfinch and 11 Chaffinch. I was hoping for a Lesser Redpoll but despite checking every bird movement I was out of luck. Also here were two Goldcrests (both singing) and a Song Thrush. On the Moat Pond, 15 Black-headed Gulls were seen and another pair of Mandarins were found. In the Ash tree by the water pipe a Brambling (Yr 47) was heard calling and then seen in flight as it alighted with two Chaffinches. Due to the contractors working around Pond three and Pond two I made my way into the Eastern Woods and came across good numbers of Blackbirds, Robins, Redwings and at least three singing Song Thrush. Woodpeckers were also present with at least two Great Spotted and one Green seen. A pair of Treecreepers were watched briefly and another three Goldcrests were found. A female Sparrowhawk was noted flying over the park as I left.
Late AM update- Approximately 25 Waxwings were in trees close to the Canal Pond (pers' com' Rob & Margaret Scott) and stayed long enough for photographs to be taken (see below). Also on the pond were three pairs of Mandarins and a Grey Heron.
Waxwings- photos courtesey of Rob & Margaret Scott.
30 January 2011- A quick tour of the park this morning. I checked all the main areas and ponds but found little different apart from the fact that the pair of Gadwall were back on the Canal Pond. Also on this pond were a pair of Mandarins. On the Moat Pond and Pond 3, good numbers of Black-headed Gulls were present with 43 counted in total. Around the Stable Block, two Goldcrests were present in nearby conifers and a female Blackcap was seen briefly within a decent sized Long-tailed Tit flock as it headed towards the Leaf Yard area. Several small parties of Greenfinch and Goldfinch passed overhead and a high soaring Sparrowhawk was seen too.
28 January 2011- Following an unexpected day off I was able to fit in an early afternoon walk around the park. Despite it being bitterly cold and with a moderate north-easterly wind the sun was out and the sky was blue so all was not lost. The canal and canal pond were again quiet with only the usual Mallard and Moorhen present. A Grey Heron flew over the canal pond as I approached but was not seen again. On the meadows, a few Black-headed Gulls were present paddling in the damp grass. Amongst them were several Magpies and a lone Mistle Thrush. Around the Orchard area were numerous Redwings and Blackbirds and it felt that there had been a small "fall" of thrushes overnight: in my own garden this morning I saw 11 Blackbirds and two Song Thrush. A few Starlings were bathing in one of the ponds in the fenced off area around the Old Bat Roost and a small party of seven Greenfinches were also in this area. Some excited Goldfinch calls had me looking skywards and this revealed a small flock of 25 birds loosely "escorting" a male Sparrowhawk away from the park! A female Sparrowhawk was seen later on. On the ponds, more Black-headed Gulls were found and a pair of Mandarins were on Pond 3. In the Eastern Woods, the usual suspects were present but a mixed flock of approximately 45 Fieldfare and Redwings was a nice find. Whilst checking the stream above Pond 1, I started to hear Siskin calls and as I stood on the footbridge a small flock passed over my head. Counting them revealed 14 Siskin (Yr 46) and I watched them as they passed through very quickly. Thinking that they had all gone my attention was taken by a sole male bird (see below) that had remained and was now singing it's full song. It took some finding but I eventually managed to pin- point it's position and I was able to listen to it's scratchy and nasally squeaky song at close range.
After enjoying the Siskin's solo I pulled myself away and continued on my circuit. With little else noted I left via the canal path but couldn't help but notice the amount of Brown Rats (see below) along the canal path. Deciding to keep a tally, I recorded 11 individuals by the time I had made the sluice! If you add to that the numerous other ones that I had seen whilst walking around the park then it doesn't bode well for the year ahead, especially for the park's nesting birds.
26 January 2011- After a mad dash birding around North-East Suffolk (Hawfinch, Firecrest, Iceland Gull, Purple Sandpiper!) I had a slightly less frantic late afternoon walk around the park. Along the canal and on the canal pond only Mallards and Moorhens were seen. The same two species were also present in the Paddling Pool and Wilderness Pond. Hoping for Siskin in the tree tops surrounding the Wilderness Pond I spent some time here looking for this smart little finch but only Blue Tits were present. Along the Orchard hedgeline a male Blackcap was seen with some Long Tailed Tits and at least three Coal Tits were seen flying into the Orchard area. Around the Moat, 12 Goldfinches were seen flying around the Bamboo clump before flying east. On Pond 3, 11 Mandarins were found including five that were perched up in the tree on the duck house island. A few Black-headed Gulls were also present along with more Mallard and Moorhen. Around the Stable Block, two Pied Wagtails were seen and a small mixed tit flock passed through. Several Greenfinches were noted in the Walled Garden area and as they flew I followed them into the tree tops around the Old Bat Roost. Scanning the branches soon revealed lots(!) of Greenfinches and it was soon apparent that a pre-roost gathering was taking place. Counting as they flew excitedly around on a number of occasions gave me a count of 62 birds. Loosely associating with them was a Chaffinch and Goldfinch flock of 18 birds and 15 birds respectively. A few Redwings and a single Mistle Thrush were also in this area. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were present in the Eastern Woods along with three Song Thrush and a few more Redwings.
NB. A large mixed finch flock was present just prior to dusk in the tree tops within the grounds of the Minor Injuries Clinic on Landseer Road/ Cliff Lane junction. I can only assume that the finches seen an hour earlier in the park had moved to this location.
18 January 2011- The Ipswich RSPB Group did a walk in the park today and saw both Siskin and Brambling. These are the first 2011 records for both species so not a bad visit.
16 January 2011- Despite it being a gloriously sunny and incredibly mild for the time of year the park was rather quiet birdwise this morning. Along the Canal, Mallards and Moorhens were seen and five Mandarins were seen at the back of the Canal Pond. Some colour was added on the Wilderness Pond with a Little Egret (below) and a small gathering of seven Goldfinches.
Out on the flooded meadows, a large gathering of Black-headed Gulls were seen as they paddled in the pools for insects and worms. Checking each one revealed there to be 47 but alas no larger gulls.A small Blue Tit flock was present in the Orchard hedge and a single Song Thrush sang from within the allotments. Around the Eastern Woods 2 + Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a single Green Woodpecker were noted and three Redwings, 12 Great Tits and a Treecreeper were also found. Along the small stream that feeds Pond 1, a gathering of Chaffinches was seen. A total of 11 birds were present and spent their time washing, drinking and preening. On leaving, a male Pied Wagtail was calling from on top of the retirement flats by the park access road.
15 January 2011- Another grey and gloomy morning in the park! The Canal was unusually quiet, however, the Canal Pond held 31 Mallards and 11 Moorhen. Another check for the Gadwalls proved fruitless but six Mandarins were found hidden up behind the island. A check around the Orchard and Allotment hedges revealed three Song Thrush, including an obliging first -winter bird (see below) and a singing Mistle Thrush (which if it wasn't for an awkward tripod leg, may have resulted in a nice photo!)
The Moat Pond and Pond 3 were occupied by a few Mallards, Moorhens and lots of Black-headed Gulls. Due to a number of people and dogs in this area it was difficult to ascertain how many gulls were present as they were constantly flying about, however,㺭+ is a safe estimate. A walk through the Eastern Woods and along the new path that leads around the Dell and Leaf Yard provided me with some great views of Long Tailed Tits, Goldcrest and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. At least two pairs of Stock Doves were seen appearing to copulate and a singing Song Thrush was also noted. A Pied Wagtail was on the Bowling Green and then seen on top of the Stable Block. Two Pied Wagtails were later seen flying over the park near to the Margaret Catchpole pub.
14 January 2011- A grey and gloomy start to my walk this morning, rain was threatening but thankfully it was only in the air. Along the canal, several Mallards and Moorhens were seen and three Mandarins (2 drakes,1 duck) were on the main pond. Despite spending time looking for them the pair of Gadwall were not seen. It may be that they have now departed, a strong possibility given the recent mild spell. There is, however, a small chance that they are hidden up on the island as a number of the Mallards were seen on there this morning. On the Wilderness Pond, four Mandarins (2 pairs) were present along with several Moorhen. In the tree tops a small Blue Tit flock was seen feeding on the Beech mast and a single Coal Tit was heard amongst them. In the Orchard hedges, a Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush were seen and both heard singing, almost appearing to compete with each other at one point. Eleven Stock Doves were perched on the Old Bat Roost tree and small number of Redwings were seen moving through this area. On the Moat, 37 Black-headed Gulls were present and a Kingfisher was heard but not seen. The only thing seen on Pond 3 was a Brown Rat which was swimming towards the duck house island! Along the edge of Pond 1 and Brimstone Alley was a good sized Long Tailed Tit flock. Picking through it revealed a Chiffchaff (Yr 45) and three Coal Tits. A Treecreeper was heard but sadly not seen and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also in this area. Leaving the park through the main gate a tit flock was encountered and another or, more likely the same, Chiffchaff was seen.
Late afternoon- 76 Magpies in the roost circa 3.30pm. The true number is likely to be higher as several more Magpies were seen in the surrounding area making their way to the roost.
09 January 2011- With blue skies and sunshine you would be forgiven for thinking that today was a Spring day, however, with a brisk and cold westerly wind blowing you were soon reminded that it was still very much Winter! Exploring the park mid- morning, I was able to re-locate the pair of Gadwalls (see below) on the Canal Pond.
Despite now being present over a week they still were very wary and hid at the rear of the pond. Three Mandarins remained on the Canal Pond and another four were seen in flight over the Canal trees. On the Wilderness Pond, numerous Moorhens and Mallards were present but no Little Egret. Checking the tree tops and the Birches revealed 11 Goldfinches and a ......Little Egret (Yr 43)! The egret (below) was seen perched up amongst the branches and appeard to be enjoying the sunshine.
Pulling myself away I carried on with my walk and saw several small flocks of Redwings passing over. Around the remaining ponds several Black-headed Gulls were loafing about and a Grey Heron was disturbed on Pond 1. Within the Eastern Woods several flocks of Chaffinches, Great Tits and Blue Tits were encountered, but despite my best efforts no Woodcock were found. In the trees along the park edge by the Bishops Hill gate a mixed flock of tits was found. Picking through them revealed at least three each of Treecreeper (Yr 44), Goldcrest and Coal Tit as well as Blue, Great and Long-Tailed Tits. Returning to the Wilderness Pond I bumped into Parrish Colman and we both shared views of the Little Egret, which was now hunting in the shallows.
04 January 2011- Parrish Coman did the rounds today of the park and captured a couple of great images, Kingfisher above, Grey Heron below.
Of interest, 22 Mandarins were reported today as being present in Christchurch Park, Ipswich (per BINS, see links page). Parrish, saw at least 10 in Holywells Park today so a minimum of 32 Mandarins were to be found in the central Ipswich area.
03 January 2011- Returning to the park late morning revealed the pair of Gadwall on the Canal Pond. Still elusive and shy they remained behind the island only appearing a couple of times when bullied away by several Mallards. Ten Mandarins (five pairs) were also present.
A check of the Wilderness Pond revealed the water to be devoid of birds but a pair of Stock Doves (above) were seen checking nest holes in a dead tree by the stream. In the Orchard grounds, the cock Pheasant (Yr40) was seen briefly but it was very vocal as it seemed to move along the edge of the conservation area and allotments. A nice mixed tit flock was again in the hedges bewteen the park meadows and allotment edges and at least three Coal Tit were found here. In the tree tops around the Old Bat Roost a single Mistle Thrush (Yr 41) was heard singing and a very welcome tune it was too. On the Moat and Pond 3, 56 Black-headed Gulls were present either on the water, along the edges or in flight. Another pair of Mandarins were on Pond 3. Three Jays were together near Pond 2 and a Green Woodpecker flew from here towards the Stable Block. Deciding to spend some time looking for the snipe on Pond 1, I eventually managed flight views of one Common Snipe (Yr 42) after an aggresive Moorhen flushed it out from the top stream. The Common Snipe, then relocated itself if the small reed bed and disappeared!
NB- Although not part of the park, the conservation area running between the Toad Crossing on Cliff Lane and Landseer Park does act as a wildlife highway and I'm sure a lot of the park's birds pass along it. The mature woodland, together with the diverse range of trees, shrubs and plants found in the gardens that back onto the conservation area certainly represent a unique wildlife environment. Walking through it today proved a good move as Parrish Colman was able to photograph an overwintering Chiffchaff (below) that was feeding on insects in a clump of nettles. This is the second warbler species for the year in the locale, perhaps a wandering Cettis Warbler is next on the cards?
02 January 2011- A late morning walk confirmed that the pair of Gadwall had remained on the Canal Pond but both were still very nervous and kept to the rear of the pond. Seven Mandarins remained and a Grey Heron flew over. A good movement of gulls passing over the park gave me my first Herring Gulls (Yr 38) of the year and a male Kestrel (Yr 39) was also seen passing through on it's way to the Landseer park area. A female Sparrowhawk was seen shadowing a large tit flock around the moat area and a Pied Wagtail was in the play area. Goood numbers of Black-headed Gulls were on Pond 3 until a rather enthusiastic spaniel put them all skywards! A few Redwings and Blackbirds were seen in the tree tops of the Eastern Woods and a small Chaffinch flock was also found here. Not a great deal else was seen but I was happy that the Gadwall had remained so all was ok.
AM Update- Parrish Colman found a Common Snipe (see below) in the stream above Pond 1. It's good to know that there's at least one of these shy and elusive birds still around.
Proving that a Black-headed Gull's diet is extremely varied, Parrish has captured an adult bird (below) with a small Perch.
01 January 2011- Firstly, a Happy New Year to everyone that reads and supports this website, I hope that 2011 will be as interesting and as colourful as 2010. So with the new year in mind, I managed a mid-morning walk today to kick start my bird list and blow away a few festive cobwebs. Starting along the canal, the first thing I noticed was the amount of Mallards to be found. Counting 18 before I had arrived at the canal pond it was apparent that numbers were clearly up since my last visit. Picking through them soon revealed, 11 Mandarins and a different duck in the form of a splendid and handome drake GADWALL. This is my first record of Gadwall for the park and represents my 97th species. Watching the Gadwall's behaviour suggested that it was acting in a defensive and protective manner and as it swam clear of some drake Mallards all became clear. A fine adult female Gadwall drifted briefly into view before being gently escorted into the margins by the drake. So, a pair of Gadwalls on the canal pond, what a great start to the year!
Gadwalls , drake above, female below.
I left the pond thinking about why this pair had turned up and decided that they had probably been associating with the new Mallards that had arrived in the last few days and as such had been "carried" with their movements. Walking out onto the meadows, a distinctive call caused me to look up and four Oystercatchers were seen flying towards the wet dock and river, another great year tick! I carried on with my usual circuit and managed to add more species to my list. In the tree tops around the old bat roost, several Redwings and Fieldfares were present and a large mixed tit flock in the allotment/ orchard hedge held both Goldcrest and a single male Blackcap. A walk through the Eastern Woods increased my tally with Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Song Thrush in addition to the park regulars of Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Blackbird. A mobile finch flock was seen in the Beech trees around the Wilderness Pond and this was found to consist of 11 Chaffinch, five Greenfinch and nine Goldfinches. On the Moat Pond, a single Kingfisher was seen briefly along with a dozen or so Black-headed Gulls. I left the park having seen 37 species, one of which was a new species for my list, a great start to the year.
Parrish Colman was also in the park this morning and I was able to share the drake Gadwall with him. Parrish, also saw a Little Egret (see below, what a great photo!) in the Wilderness Pond and a small flock of approximately eight Goldcrests close to Pond 1.