Bird Song Walk May 14th 2023It was good to be able to go ahead with the Spring Birdsong Walk after having to cancel the walk last year due to the leader and co-leader going down with COVID. Thank goodness all that is behind us now. We had a very small group join us for this year's walk along with a well-behaved dog on a lead. The 9 a.m. start may have put some people off coming, but, as they say, "the early bird catches the worm". The weather was a dry, cloudy and mild. We could hear plenty of birds singing as we set off on the usual route, our first stop being the boardwalk, where we saw/heard Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Collared Dove and our first Chiffchaff of the day. We then walked to the bridge in the hope of seeing a kingfisher speeding along the water, but we were out of luck. However, we did see more Chiffchaff, our first of several Wood Pigeons and heard a Blackbird singing. We doubled back on ourselves along the path to the large oak tree by the neNot bridge turning right towards the lake. The first bird we saw was a large Heron flying from the island, but the highlight was seeing the ducklings and goslings here. We saw two pairs of Mallards and two pairs of Canada Geese with young, one group of goslings being relatively newly hatched, with nice fluffy down. Also, Moorhens and Coots each had two young. We were hoping that the Great Crested Grebes might have bred but both birds were seen on the lake fishing, although there is still time for them to build a nest. Finally, we saw a pair of Tufted Duck at the lake, perhaps they will breed here this year too? After admiring the young water birds and taking a few photographs we then turned back and walked around the back of the lake, where we heard Song Thrush, Blackcap, Reed Warbler and Cetti's Warbler all singing. We also saw two Swallows flying overhead. We carried on, passing the area that had been set aside for teasel growth. This area has been cleared recently in order for new growth of teasle to appear. If the area isn't cut back it will become choked with bramble and weeds. Unfortunately, no Skylarks were heard or seen today. We are hoping they will return to the park one day. Heading around the back of the large mound, we heard Common Whitethroat singing and then heard and saw a Garden Warbler, the first record for the park on our walks! We continued to follow the path back to the Pavilion, where we saw a Great Tit going into the eves of the building, where it had built a nest and we assumed it was feeding young. We also added Starling and House Sparrow to the bird list here. The most common bird today was the Chiffchaff, who were certainly making themselves heard with their "Chiff-Chaff" call. Robins and Woodpigeons coming joint second. Overall, we identified 26 bird species, of which 13 were both seen and heard, 9 were seen only and 4 were heard only. We also saw 1 mammal a Grey Squirrel. It was a nice day for a walk around the park and to see what birds were about. After the walk we went into the Pavilion where Christine had prepared drinks and biscuits for us which were very welcome.
(Written by Marie Singleton)