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January 2010

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January 1st 2010 (08.00 - 16.30pm)Edit

Herons MHP

Morden Hall Park - male & female Herons Courtship display

Weather:

Gloriously fine crisp winters day – Clear blue skies – very light variable wind (N) temperature 0c to 4c . absolutely fantastic birding conditions.



Comments: Well back at the park for my first visit in almost 6 years. Hardly seems like I have been away. Arrived at dawn doing the usual walk and got the list off to a very good start with an Egyptian Goose, (A new species for me here) and continued to pick up species on a steady bases throughout the Morning for a total of 57 species, with Firecrest being the main highlight. A very good day all in all. Perhaps only spoilt by the very frosty reception and greetiings I got from some sections of the dog walking fraternity - Nothings changed there then... (MUPPETS) each and all.. One day I hope the National Trust will have the courage to sort this dog problem and owners out.



List: (Total Numbers of Species Seen 58) Little Grebe (2), Cormorant (3), Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (3), Canada Goose (2), Egyptian Goose (1), (New Tick), Gadwall (2), Teal ( 15), Displaying, Mallard (34), Shoveler (2), Tufted Duck (4), Sparrowhawk (3) – Territorial Displays noted, Kestrel (1), Water Rail (4) - 3 calling. Moorhen (25), Coot (12), Common Snipe (1) – Very disappointing the wetland was reflecting the lack of open water section vital toward attracting the dabbling ducks in. Black Headed Gull c(55) at + many over South East, Common Gull (Fly-over), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Flyover), Herring Gull (Fly-over), Great Black backed Gull (Fly-over). Gull movements regulars and in good numbers. Feral Pigeon c(6), Stock Dove (8), Woodpigeon (50+). Collared Dove (6). Ring-necked Parakeet (38), Kingfisher was the Big disappointment – unable to connect with any what so ever. Green woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (4), Meadow Pipit (1) - did well to see this coming off the wetland fringe at dawn. Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren (12), Dunnock (6), Robin (28), Blackbird (12), Fieldfare (8), Song Thrush (3), Redwing (12), Mistle Thrush (1), Chiffchaff (1), Goldcrest (2). * Firecrest (1), Long-tailed Tit (60+) quite notable feeding flocks.Coal Tit (1) Singing. Great Tit (38), Blue Tit (25), Nuthatch (1), Jay (7), Magpie (10), Jackdaw (200+) notable movements over all morning with peaks at dawn (W), Carrion Crow (16), Starlings (26), House Sparrow (2), Lesser Redpoll (4), Chaffinch (8), Greenfinch (4), Goldfinch (14),


3rd January 2010 - (08.00hrs - 13.00hrs)Edit

Lesser RP - MHP 2010

Lesser Redpoll on Alders

(Dead Blackbird caught in fishing line)

The Problem with Anglers is their lack of awareness and appreciation for wildlife and nature

Weather: Another Gloriously fine crisp winters day – Clear blue skies – very light variable wind (N E) temperature 0c to 4c . absolutely fantastic birding conditions during the morning clouding late PM (Light Snow evening).


Comments: A solid days (Mornings) birding and it was so difficult to leave and get ready for the evening survey of Sutcliffe Park's Ring-necked Parakeet roost, but leave I had and with some fustration that my coolpix 4500 camera falled to secure a picture of the Marsh Tit I had found earlier in the morning (@@!~#) (rude word)cursed dam thing!. Anyway, The Marsh Tit - clinched by a view of it looking over its shoulder at me, was something quite un-expecting while in search of Treecreeper, which I have still to get. Both this species and Siskin appear ellusive to say the least. and I am concerned also for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, having searched a former haunt,again with no response. However I did get Kingfisher to end the session on giving me a further Two good species to add to my list.

The only disapointment today and a shocking one at that, was the find of a dead Blackbird which had got caught up in fishing line hanging from a tree. A Sad statement but a all to familiar sighting and example of the impact and problems caused by angling. Why O Why did the Trust allow angling at the Park?





9th January 2010 - (11.30hrs to Dusk)Edit

MHP 09-01-2010 Dusk snipe roost counts sm

Dusk on the wetlands MHP Snipe Counting at Dusk

Weather: Although bright it was very cold with hard overnight frost and fresh snow falls - temperatures never getting above freezing all day and by dusk (Just in time for the snipe and roost counts) heavy snow had arrived. on a strenghtening northerly wind. (Temps -2c to 0c)


Comments: - Birding in a Blizzard - Flurries of Fieldfare - Counting Snipe at Dusk. Did I really attempt a dusk count of snipe in a blizzard (Must be mad). Nevertheless it produced with c(28) snipe coming on to the open areas to feed. In addition further interest was provided by a flurrie of fieldfare coming into roost through the snow and a Tawny Owl at the rose garden to end the day. All in all a great days birding at the park with a further 4 new species recorded. Jack Snipe, (See Ammendment) Wigeon, Tawny Owl and Blackcap bring the total up to 63 species.



List: (Total Numbers of Species Seen 58) Little Grebe (2), Cormorant (4), Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (4), Tawny Owl (NEW TICK), Canada Goose (5), Egyptian Goose (2), Gadwall (2), Teal (32), Displaying, Mallard (38), Shoveler (2), Tufted Duck (4), Wigeon (1) female (NEW TICK), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Water Rail (1), Moorhen (14), Coot (8),| Jack Snipe (2) (NEW TICK) (Picture is of a Common Snipe - See Ammendment), Common Snipe c(28) - counted at dusk, Black Headed Gull c(85) Common Gull (Fly-over) 2 on the pond, Lesser Black-backed Gull (Flyover), Herring Gull (Fly-over), Feral Pigeon c(6), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon (Present). Collared Dove (6). Ring-necked Parakeet (40+), Kingfisher (1), Green woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Meadow Pipit (8) - coming on to the wetland sedge fen at dusk, Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren (Present), Dunnock (present), Robin (present), Blackbird (present), Fieldfare c(265) - coming in to roost, Song Thrush (4), Redwing (80), Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (1) female (NEW TICK) Goldcrest (2), Long-tailed Tit (present), Coal Tit (1), Great Tit (Present), Blue Tit (present), Nuthatch (1), Jay (4), Magpie (8), Jackdaw (200+) notable movements over all morning with peaks at dawn and late afternoon (W - SW), Carrion Crow (Present), Starlings (present), Lesser Redpoll (2), Chaffinch (4), Greenfinch (8), Goldfinch (3).

Ammendment: The Jack Snipe Pictured is in fact a Common Snipe as pointed out by Johnny Allan & Rob Innes - Thanks Guys - Whoops. I believe I did see a Bouncer but latched on to this Common Snipe instead, snapped off a few pictures before it was flushed, uploaded them and thourght nothing of it - The rest is history, Nevertheless the record will be removed and the search for a genuine Bouncer will Continue on the 17th Jan. Will I get one or not?


17th January 2010 - (08.00hrs to Dusk)Edit

Morden Hall Park Dawn on the Meadows looking SE Lime & House Chessnut Avenue on right




Weather: Significant improvement over the last week temperatures recovering(Temps 0c to 8c). With long spells of winter sunshine and light NW wind. A Pleasant day. after yesterdays rain and the slow thaw over the week.

Kestrel (female) MHP 17-01-2010

Female Kestrel dry off after a morning dip on the wetlands



Comments: - A Joy to be out and about - Almost Spring Like.

Really hard graft today, with a lot of ground work covered - but a joy in almost spring like Weather. This was reflected in the almost instant change in character and vibrancy of birdlife at the Park (Spring Like) significant courtship, song and breeding activity noted. Herons leading the way in this respect with c(8+) active nest sites recorded. The Ceremonial courtship displays and territorial behaviour clear to see in the morning mists that hung over the dark waters of the Wandle still thick with the detritus of road run-off from yesterdays rains. A Yes I got my Jack Snipe back.


List: (Total Numbers of Species Seen 62) Little Grebe (1), Cormorant (6), Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (17+ breeding), Canada Goose (2), Gadwall (2), Teal (10), Displaying, Mallard (35), Shoveler (2), Tufted Duck (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (2), Water Rail (4)calling 1 seen, Moorhen (20+), Coot (8), Jack Snipe (2) present on the wetlands at dusk, Common Snipe c(8) - counted at dusk, Black Headed Gull, (Fly-over) Common Gull (Fly-over) 2 on the pond, Lesser Black-backed Gull (Flyover), Herring Gull (Fly-over), Feral Pigeon c(12), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon (Present). Collared Dove (6). Ring-necked Parakeet (55+), Kingfisher (1), Green woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (4), Meadow Pipit (4) On to the wetland sedge fen at dusk, Skylark small movement North - East Noted (NEW TICK), Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren (Present), Dunnock (present), Robin (present), Blackbird (present), Fieldfare (Only in very small numbers) compared to last week, Song Thrush (4), Redwing c(10)-Only in very small numbers compared to last week, Chiffchaff (4), Blackcap (1) female, Goldcrest (3), Long-tailed Tit (present), Coal Tit (4), Great Tit (Present), Blue Tit (present) in very good numbers c(48), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper c(2),(NEW TICK), Jay (4), Magpie (8), Jackdaw (Fly-over) notable movements late afternoon (S - SE), Carrion Crow (Present), Starlings (present), Lesser Redpoll (2), Chaffinch (4), Greenfinch (8), Goldfinch (3), House Sparrow (4), Siskin (Single off the Alders - calling flew North-east). (NEW TICK), Reed Bunting (Single). On the reedbed unusual at this time of year at MHP (NEW TICK).


24th January 2010 - (08.00hrs to 11.30hrs)Edit

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Weather: After the extremes of late the weather today was very quiet and has been so for the last 4-5 days, temps just about holding on seasonal averages (3-8c) with light winds. Generally overcast frosts not a feature at present.

Somg Thrush - MHP 24-01-2010 msr



Comments: - A Day for Song Thrush.

Arriving at Morden Hall Park a little before 8am I was not to confident of the day's birding ahead or indeed the possibilities of finding anything new. The weather being quiet and most subdued from the extremes of late meant that there was little impetus to movements, and if anything a drift away from the harsh weather sanctuary that the park can provide was expected. This was the case, However what was immediately notable was the significant number of song thrush in song this morning. In fact on entering the park I was blown away by the song of competing songster's. Wow - Full throated a mix of rich tones, hanging notes and repeated phrases, some harsh at times, classic Song Thrush. Walking around the park I recorded at least 12 singing birds - which is not unusual for MHP at this time of year as well as a significant Ring-neck Parakeet presence. with upwards of 40+ birds prospecting the parks many tree cavities for suitable nesting sites. I was surprised to see a Pair of Green Woodpecker in with one group prospecting, and was equally surprised to see that for the most part the parakeet's and the Green woodpecker largely ignored each other as I walked to the Wetlands. The wetlands have been a real disappointment this winter particularly during day light hours (With no Birds present). Formally at this time of year they would have held good numbers of Teal (c80) and even 1 - 2 Green sandpiper. I believe that disturbance is an endemic problem for the open fen areas. and has been compounded by inadequate, even poor management that has not maintained the open water sections and not removed bio-mass which stands as large heaps Trojenesque and defiant - contributes to making the wetlands unattractive to wintering wetland avi-fauna as visibility is limited for the birds and predation potentially high (Making Birds un-easy) - Over all then a rather typical post harsh weather lull, finches in particular were well down, together with wintering ducks and Snipe which were today not recorded. And Kingfisher ! Well Kingfisher are in serious trouble at this park at present and indeed along this section of River Wandle, that in particular I note still smells like a Sewer - Question: Any chance of Breeding ? Answer : Don't Make Me Laugh -

List: (Total Numbers of Species Seen 53) Little Grebe (1), Cormorant (4), Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (10+ breeding), Canada Goose (2), Teal (10), Displaying, Mallard (35), Shoveler (2), Tufted Duck (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Water Rail (1), Moorhen (20+), Coot (8), Black Headed Gull, (Fly-over) Common Gull (Fly-over) 2 on the pond, Lesser Black-backed Gull (Flyover), Herring Gull (Fly-over), Feral Pigeon c(6), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon (Present). Collared Dove (2). Ring-necked Parakeet (55+), Green woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (4), Skylark (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Wren (Present), Dunnock (present), Robin (present), Blackbird (present), Fieldfare (1), Song Thrush c(12) Singing birds, Significant song today, Redwing c(4)-Only in very small numbers, Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (1) female, Goldcrest (4), Long-tailed Tit (present), Coal Tit (4), Great Tit (Present), Blue Tit (present) in very good numbers c(48), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper c(4), improvement over last two weeks, Jay (4), Magpie (8), Jackdaw (Fly-over), Carrion Crow (Present), Starlings (present), Chaffinch (4), Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (3),


30th January 2010 - (08.00hrs to 11.30hrs)Edit

Mill Stream Wandle MHP 30-01-2010 msr


(The Mill Cut River Wandle Morden Hall Park (Looking South - Up River toward Rutter's Mill) A rare example of unspoilt river. But with angling pressure and public access now forcing its way in to even these Tranquil wildlife havens (will it be spoilt) - You bet it will be Spoilt, I despair at the Natural Trusts take on sustainability. Its all lip-service to hide the true focus of the Trust...... MONEY ..... So for the Trust accountents out there -

At what cost, the distruction & disturbance of wildlife and habitats verses the revenues gained from allowing Angling.

THIS IS WHERE WILDLIFE LEGISLATION HAS NO TEETH.



Weather:

A dusting of snow and hard over night frost (Sub-zero) temps greeted me this morning when I got to the park at 7.30am. Nevertheless with long periods of sunshine and light (NW) winds temperatures had recovered to give a fine afternoon. Even genuinely warm in the sun in sheltered locations. The sun just starting to get some strength back. Temperatures (-1 to 11c) &nbsp


Comments: - Was that one or two Egrets I have Just seen? - Little Egrets a Pair Confirmed..

A good session at the park started with 2 new bird species recorded in the first hour as I slipped and slid my way around the icy paths that were in a disgraceful condition. These being, Two Manderin Duck (A Superb male & female) along the river at the sanctuary Woods. (see above), and a Green Sandpiper recorded at the wetlands. In all honesty from 10am onwards I could have gone home as the park became very busy for a winters day. Nevertheless these are the things that come to challenge the resolve of any urban bird-watcher these days, and rising to these challenging conditions is key. To some extent Birdlife is remarkable robust, they just becomes very difficult to find and observe. So taking my time and looking for quiet areas I eventually notched up a creditable 60+ species. For me the best find was a remarkable realisation that there are indeed at least 2 Little Egret now resident at the park. I can only speculate at the moment on whether the park is suitable for breeding, but fear disturbance maybe at the end of the day a decisive factor.


Little Egret MHP 30-01-2010 msr


List: (Total Numbers of Species Seen 60) Little Grebe (1), Cormorant (4), Little Egret (2), Grey Heron (10+ breeding), Canada Goose (2), Teal (24), Displaying, Mallard (35), Shoveler (2), Tufted Duck (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Water Rail (1), Moorhen (20+), Coot (8), Black Headed Gull, (Fly-over) Common Gull (Fly-over) 2 on the pond, Lesser Black-backed Gull (Flyover), Herring Gull (Fly-over), Feral Pigeon c(6), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon (Present). Collared Dove (2). Ring-necked Parakeet (55+), Green woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (4), Skylark (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Wren (Present), Dunnock (present), Robin (present), Blackbird (present), Fieldfare (1), Song Thrush c(12) Singing birds, Significant song today, Redwing c(4)-Only in very small numbers, Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (1) female, Goldcrest (4), Long-tailed Tit (present), Coal Tit (4), Great Tit (Present), Blue Tit (present) in very good numbers c(48), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper c(4), improvement over last two weeks, Jay (4), Magpie (8), Jackdaw (Fly-over), Carrion Crow (Present), Starlings (present), Chaffinch (4), Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (3),

Teal MHP 30-01-2010 msr

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