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29 May 2012- Late afternoon- Landseer Park- A Willow Warbler was singing in the NE corner by the pond and at least three male Whitethroats were were seen on territories. A trio of juvenile Blackcaps were seen being fed by parents and a Green Woodpecker was heard and seen distantly.
28 May 2012- A Red Kite was reported flying over the Ipswich Wet Dock and could easily have passed over the park!
27 May 2012- Today was Odonata day with lots of sightings of dragonflies and damselflies in the park. Sarah Kilshaw saw a female Broad-bodied Chaser in the Paddling Pool. Also present here were a pair of Hairy Dragonflies as photographed by Paul Sherman (below).
I managed to get over the park late afternoon and saw three Hairy Dragonflies (including the individuals below) that were patrolling between the Paddling Pool and Moat Pond.
On Pond 1, two male Emperor Dragonflies were seen in flight patrolling their respective territories. They occasionally came into contact with each other which then resulted in a fierce "dog-fight" as each jostled with the other- fantastic! A male Broad-bodied Chaser was seen in brief flight over Pond 2 before simply disappearing and a Four-spotted Chaser (see below) was seen soaking up the late afternoon sun.
Damselflies seen were Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Azure Blue and Large Red. Birds seen included a Little Egret on the Moat Pond, male Whitethroat in the allotment fence area and five drake Mandarins on trees within the Wilderness Pond. Several Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were also seen along with a male Sparrowhawk. Butterflies recorded late afternoon were Brimstone (2m), Large White (5), Orange-tip (4m, 2f), Holly Blue (5), Speckled Wood, Small Copper (3) and Comma (1).
NB Three Green Hairstreak butterflies were seen in Landseer Park at lunchtime in the NW corner.
26 May 2012- Lot of updates today from various park regulars so thank you all.
Parrish Colman saw two Emperor Dragonflies around the Paddling Pool area, these are the first records for the year in the park as far as I am aware. Large Red, Common Blue and Azure Blue Damselflies were also seen today. A Grey Heron was watched fishing (as below).
Laragh Smyth also reported various damselflies: Common Blue, Azure Blue and Large Red. A Speckled Wood butterfly was also seen and photographed (as below).
24 May 2012- Paul Sherman was in the park very early yesterday and saw a Mallard with 12 chicks (see below) on Pond 1. Dispite having all those chicks it did not stop her getting attention from three drakes with one attempting to mount her.
On Pond 3, Paul saw the Canada Geese pair with their 5 goslings eating the fresh cut grass. There was also a Kingfisher on the back of the Canal Pond. Paul also returned late evening and was able to see a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker looking and calling from its nest hole (note the red forehead markings, lacking in adults in the photo below).
Paul also saw a Grey Heron while it was on the Canal Pond catching fish. When first seen it was getting interested in a some Mallard chicks but was subsequently put off by a territorial Coot!
23 May 2012- Parrish Colman managed to spend a couple of hours this afternoon in the park. With the sun out good numbers of butterflies were seen: Large White, Small White, Green Veined White (see below top), Small Copper (see below bottom), Speckled Wood and Orange-tip.
Parrish was also fortunate to capture an image of two Large Red Damselflies (as below) in tandem ovipositing eggs into plant matter.
22 May 2012- A butterfly update via Twitter from #BC Suffolk Branch (Matt Berry & Julian Dowding)) reported good numbers of butterflies being seen in the park today including Brimstone, Holly Blue, Orange-tip, Green veined White, Large White, Small White and Speckled Wood. Best of all, however, were the first park sightings of the year of Green Hairstreak, including a pair that were seen in brief courtship display then copulating (see below).
Late PM- I was tempted to the park early evening and was pleased to find the sun still out although it was a bit windy. A few butterflies were still on the wing with Orange-tip (2), Green veined White (3) and Large White (2) being seen. The male Whitethroat was still holding territory along the Allotment fence and a second male Whitethroat was heard around the Wilderness Pond bushes. A few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were also still singing albeit without their original gusto. Song Thrushes seemed to be singing from every corner of the park and at least six birds were counted (see below).
A pair of Mistle Thrushes were seen in flight over Pond 1 and overhead good numbers of Swifts were seen. Watching the Swifts closely revealed a high flying black dot which then slowly came into view as it flew closer. Identifying it as a small raptor it soon revealed itself to be a Hobby and it was no doubt watching the Swifts in anticipation of a hunting opportunity. A teneral Large Red Damselfly was found soaking up the last of the sun on vegetation within Pond 2. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen and heard and a Grey Heron was seen flying low over the Orchard. A pair of Mandarins were seen skulking at the rear of Pond 1 and a trio of Canada Geese were on Pond 3, Along the edge of Pond 3 were a pair of Canada Geese complete with five goslings (see below).
Two pairs of Coots were seen on the Moat Pond and another pair were on the Canal Pond. Along the Canal I came across a gathering of Mandarins which turned out to be 10 birds in number and comprising of seven males and three females. Together with the pair on Pond 1 that made 12 birds which is a really high total for the time of the year. The big question is, where are the ducklings?
19 May 2012- I had a walk around the park mid-morning and was hoping to see some damselflies and dragonflies. However, despite looking at all the likely spots I didn't see anything. On and around the meadows butterflies were seen- Green-veined Whites (11), Large Whites (5), Orange-tips (10m, 3f) and both male and female Brimstones were recorded. Birds of note included a male Whitethroat singing near the allotment fence, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps (including a male feeding 3+young birds) and 5 drake Mandarins on the Wilderness Pond. A pair of Mandarins were seen at the rear of the Canal Pond and several Swifts and Swallows passed overhead.
PM- I had another walk around Holywells and Landseer Parks this afternoon. Temperatures were slightly higher and a few sunny spells were enjoyed. In Holywells, I added, Small White (3), Speckled Wood (5) and Holly Blue (3) in addition to those seen earlier. I also managed to see Large Red Damselfies (see below) (3), Azure Blue Damselflies (3) and a Blue-tailed Damselfly around the ponds.
In Lansdseer Park good numbers of butterflies were seen along the eastern edge and meadows- Large White (15+), Orange-tip (m10+, 2f), Small White (5), Green-veined White (8), Speckled Wood (3), Peacock (see below (2), Holly Blue (5), Small Copper (2) and a single Small Heath. At least five Whitethroats and a single Garden Warbler were seen along with good numbers of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. A pair of Mistle Thrush were seen on the grass meadows feeding two young birds and a male Kestrel was hunting along the Landseer Road edge. I also managed to see Large Red Damselfies (4), a single Blue-tailed Damselfly and best of all a Four-spotted Chaser that was hawking over nettles.
Paul Sherman was in the park as well and also recorded several butterflies: Green veined white, orange tip and a brimstone. Paul also reports that there now two Coot nests on the Moat Pond and a Moorhen nest on the Moat. Paul also came across a large gathering of a bee species in trees close to the Moat viewing area as captured in the photo below. (Later reported in local press!!!)
16 May 2012- Matt Berry managed to get out in the park for a short time today. He saw a Kingfisher and Little Egret on the Moat Pond and several Mandarins up in treesaround the Wilderness Ponds. Butterfly wise around the ponds, Matt saw Orange-tips (3 males), Brimstones, Green Veined White, Large White & Small White. Matt managed to get some incredible photos of a male Orange-tip butterfly as it nectared on Garlic Mustard (see photo below top). Also, there was an Orange- tip egg visible on the Garlic Mustard, which had been laid recently by a female (see photo below bottom).
14 May 2012- A walk around the park after work was carried out in the grey and gloom and a complete contrast to the previous day's sun. No butterflies or dragonflies were seen due to the low temperatures and lack of light. Even birds were hard to find too! Several Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and a single Whitethroat were seen and heard. A few low flying Swifts were encountered and several Swallows and House Martins were seen flying south! A single Little Egret was seen in flight from within the Orchard and then as it eventually dropped into the overspill stream between the Wilderness Pond and the Canal Pond.
13 May 2012- It seems the park was a great place to be today with some stunning insects being seen whilst the sun was out. Parrish Colman was in fine form and achieved some fantastic images today. Parrish recorded several butterflies: Small White, Large white, Peacock, Brimstone, Small Copper (see below bottom), Green Veined White (see below middle), Holly Blue and Orange Tip (see below top).
In addition, Parrish also recorded an emerging damselfly which was identified as a male Azure Damselfly, the first recorded this year. See the Dragonflies 2012 page for a photograph. Parrish also saw a Whitethroat (see below) and a possible Lesser-Whitethroat. The first Manadrin ducklings were also seen with nearly 20 together. This number probably suggests that nest dumping has taken place(where eggs are all laid in one nest) or, a dominant female has taken control of other broods, brood amalgamation.
12 May 2012- Paul Sherman spent some time in the park today and enjoyed some butterflies. Paul saw Holy Blue, Speckled Wood, Small and Large White, as well as male and female Orange-tip butterflies. In addition, Paul also saw male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers attending a nest hole and feeding chicks. See male bird below, also note the ring on it's left tarsus (leg).
Paul also came across some ladybirds hidden within the flower head of a buttercup and captured the event with a photograph (see below). I wasn't too sure of the identity of the ladybirds and so with Pauls's permission sent the photo to Helen Roy, a UK expert on ladybirds. Helen responded very quickly and identified the ladybirds as 16-Spot ladybirds (Tytthaspis 16-punctata). In addition, she commented that this species are mildew eating insects and she had never seen them in flowers in such numbers. So well done Paul and yet another interesting park sighting.
11 May 2012- Joe Underwood, Wildlife Ranger reported that a Whitethroat was present around the Paddling Pool area this morning. Joe also saw Holly Blue and Brimstone butterflies too.
Matt Berry, Senior Wildlife Ranger managed to spend some time looking out for butterflies and recorded Small White (above), Large White, Green-veined White, Holly Blue (below), Speckled Wood and Orange-tip.
In addition Matt also recorded male Brimstone (above) and an egg-laying female Brimstone (below) too.
PM Update- Whilst walking home from work this afternoon I saw two Hobbys (Yr 71) over the park conservation area before they flew west to the nearby dock area.
10 May 2012- I spent a couple of hours in the park mid-morning. With increased temperatures and a bit of sun I had hopes that I might see a few butterflies and maybe a damselfly. On entering the park a male Whitethroat could be heard singing from the dense nettle patch near the Cliff Lane sluice. Further along both Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing and whilst standing to listen to them I noticed another male Whitethroat singing from within the Orchard. Checking the emerging patches of Rosebay Willowherb I noticed a movement near to the waters edge and then saw that it was a damselfly. Checking it closer revealed it to be a freshly emerged Large Red Damselfy, my first of the year! Efforts to photograph it were thwarted by the wind and the fact that it soon dropped into cover and out of sight. Moving on I found another male Whitethroat singing around the Wilderness Pond and a familiar "churr" and "rattle" soon gave away a splendid male Lesser Whitethroat (Yr 69) singing from within a nettle patch. A family of Long-tailed Tits were seen feeding along the reeds in the Paddling Pool and a very young Blackbird was hopping around the grass edges. A bird calling in the sky gave away several Swallows that were flying over and whilst watching them a pair of Shelducks (Yr 70) flew quickly along the northern edge of the park before veering west towards the wet dock and river. Around Pond 1, another male Whitethroat was singing and a fifth (!) Whitethroat, this time a female was seen along Brimstone Alley. Two more Large Red Damselflies were seen along the small stream between Pond 1 and 2 but none offered me a chance of a photograph.
The sun was now out and butterflies were flying. Over the next hour I saw: Large White (3), Brimstone (1m), Small White (10+), Green Veined White (8+) below, Speckled Wood (3), Orange-tip (1m), Holly Blue (3) and Peacock (1) above.
09 May 2012- A walk through the park early this morning revealed two Oystercatchers (Yr 68) feeding on flooded meadows along with good numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A number of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were noted and there seemed to have been a small fall of birds overnight. I saw three Chiffchaffs chasing each other and probably heard at least three more. I counted over nine Blackcaps along the Canal Path but best of all, however, were two Whitethroats that were seen and heard. One was singing by the Sluice, close to the Cliff Lane entrance. It was then seen to fly across the road towards the waste ground on the corner of Toller Road. The second bird was singing from thick brambles near the Wilderness Pond.
08 May 2012- I walked back through the park this evening after seeing some friends and was pleased to see several Swifts flying over. A few screaming calls were heard and I watched, with a smile on my face, as five birds chased after each other through the sky. A pair of Canada Geese were on Pond 3 along with a single Coot. Two drake Mandarins were seen high up in trees surrounding the Wilderness Pond and a Grey Heron flew over towards the Canal Pond. Whilst looking for migrants around the old bat enclosure I noticed that there were several Greenfinches calling from high up in the tree tops. Looking closer I realised that there was actually a lot of birds and as they flew to the top of an old oak tree I counted 28 Greenfinches and five Chaffinches! This is a very high Summer count and I can only think they are a migrant flock heading to breeding grounds as most local Greenfinches should be paired up and breeding by now.
07 May 2012- A walk back through the park this afternoon after work allowed me to have a quick look around the canal area. Two drake Mandarins were on the Wilderness Pond and Coot, Moorhen and Canada Geese were seen on the Canal Pond. Along the canal I was pleasantly surprised to come across some butterflies with two Speckled Woods and a Large White being seen.
05 May 2012- IBC Dawn Chorus Walk- I was up early this morning to lead the Dawn Chorus walk around the park. Thankfully, it wasn't raining so at least the birds would be singing for us! With eight people assembled we walked along the tarmac path past the Leaf Yard and up towards the Nacton Road Gate. Along this route we heard Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunncock, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Luckily, a singing Blackbird and Robin sat out in the open to serenade us and demonstrate their songs and calls. A pair of Mandarins were also seen in flight as they dropped unseen into the Dell Pond area. Heading into the Eastern Woods, another Chiffchaff was heard singing along with an additional Blackcap. Overhead, Woodpigeons and Stock Doves were calling from within the tree canopy and Carrion Crows were starting to bicker amongst themselves. A few Blue Tits were heard as they foraged for food and third Blackcap was heard singing and giving it's "tack" call. Reaching the tarmac path again a male Sparrowhawk was seen in flight and a Chaffinch was singing in the top of a conifer at the back of the play area. Out on the meadow on the Bishops Hill side a Mistle Thrush was seen feeding in long grass. Goldcrests were heard singing in the conifers and a "chick" call gave away the presence of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Whilst watching the woodpecker a Song Thrush started to sing and the repetitive nature of it's song could be heard clearly. Scanning the meadow ahead revealed two Little Egrets in flight along with at least seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the grass. Several Moorhens and Mallards were also feeding on the flooded areas. A few Swallows were also seen in flight as they flew over the park in north-easterly direction. Along the Conifer Hedge another Goldcrest was singing and both Blackbird and Song Thrush were also present. On the Canal Pond a single Canada Goose was seen and the pair of Tufted Ducks were watched at close range. Several Coots were present including an adult on it's nest. Following the path around the western edge, past the Orchard and aong the allotments produced Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren and Blue Tits singing and calling. Disappointingly, no other warblers were located. In the top of the Bat Roost trees a pair of Greenfinches were seen and heard and another Chaffinch was singing from the Cherry Trees along the Bowling Green. Finishing the walk by the Stable Block, another Blackcap was hearding "tacking" and a pair of Collared Doves dropped in above our heads. So, on reflection a nice walk with some rich and varied bird song and it didn't rain!
Late AM- A drake Mandarin was seen on the Canal along with a Moorhen with it's four chicks. A very young Coot chick was seen with two adults on the Canal Pond and this appears to be the product of a second pairing. Paul Sherman was also in the park this morning and he has provided some images from his visit. Above, Coot chick, and below Wood Mouse.
Parrish Colman was also in the park and was able to capture some of the park residents on camera. Below top, female Tufted Duck and below bottom cock Pheasant.
Of interest Parrish was also photographing Great Tits (see below) in his garden that are utilising a nest box that he has installed. It can really help our breeding birds if we provide suitable nest boxes for their use and it's something that we can all do very easily. It also allows us to observe nature at close range and learn about our birds and their breeding and behaviour. If you haven't got a nest box up in your garden then please consider putting one up.
03 May 2012- Blimey, what a grey and miserable afternoon! I had a quick walk around the park in the drizzle to see if any new birds could be seen or heard. After being in the park a short while it became apparent that there was a real background "noise" of Song Thrushes and Blackcaps singing. Counting singing birds as I walked around I came to a total of seven Song Thrush and nine Blackcaps. Of interest, several of the Song Thrush were mimicking Blackcaps singing close to them which only caused the Blackcaps to sing louder and for longer! Checking a few of my favourite bushes I soon came across a skulking warbler in the Orchard hedge which was giving a quiet but raspy call. Eventually, I managed to glimpse it as it crossed from one bush to another- male Whitethroat (Yr 67)! It continued to move about within dense cover singing briefly on occasions. However, given the wet foilage I'd imagine it was getting very damp as it moved about looking for insects. Nothing else was found and there was no movement at all in the enclosed bat roost where I had seen the Spotted Flycatchers two days before. In the Orchard I found the cock Pheasant with the damaged tail. It appeared to be alone but another cock Pheasant could be heard calling from the allotment area.
01 May 2012- A walk through the park on the way home from work this afternoon rewarded me with numerous butterflies with Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Brimstone, Comma and my first Holly Blues for the year. Despite another thorough search I failed to locate any damselflies or evidence of any new emergence. Listening out for bird song I heard Garden Warbler again along the Orchard hedge line and also good numbers of singing Blackcaps. This suggested to me that there was a chance that new birds had arrived over night and it would be worth returning to give the park a really good look.
Early PM- I returned to the park early evening and soon noticed good numbers of Swifts and hirundines passing over in a north-easterly direction. Looking at the hirundines closely revealed that there were House Martins (Yr 65) mixed in with the Swallows and I was very pleased to add this species to my park year list. On Pond 3, a pair of Canada Geese were seen along with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a single Black-headed Gull. A Little Egret was on the Moat Pond and the pair of Coots were seen to be adding twigs to their new nest. I searched the hedges along the meadow edge for warblers and other migrants and again heard singing Garden Warbler close to the corner by the Allotment/ Orchard fence line. Moving up to the Old Bat Roost enclosure soon had me watching several restless Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps which clearly found the scrub area to their liking. Watching for movement in the trees I noticed a bird flitting in the canopy and after a few frustrating minutes I was able to see it out in the open- Spotted Flycatcher (Yr 66)! (See photos below).
This is such a difficult bird to see in the park so I spent some time observing it as it continued to hunt and catch flies. Then, on top of the nearby bamboo clump I noticed a second bird which was also flycatching- a second Spotted Flycatcher! Magic! Both birds were then watched for a few more minutes until a rather feisty Robin decided to chase both birds further into the canopy and onto the bowling green side. I then moved on to check a few more migrant friendly places but without any luck. I decided to watch the Swifts again as they passed over the Eastern Woodlands and whilst doing so was amazed to see a Common Snipe flying over the tree tops! Whether this was a lingering bird from the park or even a migrant I'm not sure. Either way, a very interesting bird to end my visit on.
NB i- Joe Underwood, Wildlife Ranger saw a Common Buzzard flying over Holywells Park this morning.
NB ii- A female Pied Flycatcher was seen in Christchurch Park today which is a great record for an urban park. Maybe Holywells Park can have one too!