Friday, 25 January 2013


A very cold wind was blowing on Friday 25th and this digi-binned picture shows a group of gadwall and mallard resting on the ice on the park pond. The ice had begun to thaw during the previous couple of days but reformed again last night. Also noted here was a female pintail, two tufted ducks and 34 gadwall as well as teal and mallard.
On the frozen grazing fields, 8 common snipe, 10 lapwing and 3 redshank were the only birds present other than 25+ moorhens.

Towards the end of the day there was a fleeting glimpse of a woodcock flying fast over the flooded corner of the grazing fields as it headed north. The speed of its flight suggested it hadn't just got up from a nearby ditch, or was going to land anytime soon. What was a more pleasing sight was watching a second woodcock ten minutes later feeding alongside a hedge near the park entrance.

The light was fading fast but the dark brown bulky outline of the woodcock could be seen probing the soil as it shuffled along feeding. At one point it stood upright to keep an eye on a fox that was walking along the inside of the nearby hedge. Whilst watching this a little owl flew in front of me and landed in a small dead tree, perching only 7 metres away for two or three minutes. It hadn't noticed in the poor light how close I was to it.

Earlier in the day a female common scoter was seen diving offshore from the park, close to a raft of 30 wigeon, two great crested grebes and a common seal.

The park was quiet enough during the day for 25 golden plovers to feed on the main field whilst a couple of lapwings feeding in the car park, as did a tiny goldcrest in the car park bushes.

The day before on Thursday 24th, the owls were the highlight again. Having just watched a little owl fly out of a pine tree on the edge of the overflow car park late in the afternoon, a short-eared owl made an unexpected appearance from the west over the main car park. It flew over the main field with deep and deliberate wing-beats, doing a short loop above the long grass in one corner and then headed north away from the park.

At the end of Thursday a water rail was seen flying back to the park pond and then scuttling into the reeds. A fieldfare, 3 song thrushes and a kestrel were noted in the park during the day.

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