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Swanley Park Lake

 SWANLEY PARK 

OS ref TQ514695, tetrad TQ56e.

A large area of lanscaped parkland between Swanley and Hextable, easy access and many facilities including Cafe, Boating Lake, Miniature Passenger Railway and hard paths.

There is a managed Wildlife Area near the Top Car Park and areas of scrub and woodland which attract many birds.

For the latest sightings visit "Swanley Park Wildlife" on facebook

Access via The Spinney and The Birches at BR8 7YN, and via New Barn Road.

The lake is the central feature which hosts many different species throughout the year with resident Herons, Cormorants, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Geese. Rarer visitors have included Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mandarin, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, and Common Sandpiper.

2012 also saw our first Waxwing on 17th December, to follow Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail and Turtle Dove earlier in the year.

2013 saw Turtle Dove (April & May) and our first Egyptian Goose (May),Red Kite (November)and Merlin (December)

Crossing the road by the Cafe leads you into an avenue of Lime Trees which hide Woodpeckers and Parakeets, a large school field on the left is great for Gulls and Redwing. Crossing the road at the end of the Limes takes you into Hextable Gardens via an ornate gate where the yew berries attract winter thrushes.

I am lucky to live adjacent to the park and try to do a daily birdwalk the results of which can be seen below in various Monthly Reports

Any additions would be most welcome.

Andy.M

Swanley Park & Lake, The Limes, School Field plus adjacent woods and garden.


Swanley Park Bird Reports Edit

January 10 2017 2 Waxwings showing well in the Spinney , 8 Egyptian Geese visited park, only second record in 30 years.

P1960246

Swanley Waxwings

Swanley Bird Report January 2014

Extremely wet and windy, but with very few frosts, the lake is at its highest level and the ground is sodden and muddy !

Notes :A pair of Mute Swans appeared on the 24th and stayed overnight to add to the rescued individual which departed for better feeding on the 5th.

Snowy Face has been throwing his weight around as top Canada gander on the lake, renewing his pair bond with Broken Wing, but he is still tempted to leave with the visiting flock as they come and go irregularly. The other two “no flys” very probably their offspring from last year are still tolerated. It will be interesting to see if they play any role in the breeding of their parents this year. The visiting birds have reduced in number as they all try to establish some breeding territory elsewhere, only one Greylag was seen. Look out for “Iris” a female Canada with a distinct white eye-ring which is unusual.

A new record of 8 Cormorant have been seen all digesting big carp on the landing stage, including a very smart white headed adult in full breeding regalia.

The wet ground has encouraged flocks of Redwing to stay and these can often be seen feeding on the school field, around the exercise machines and in the trees along New Barn Road. A few individual Fieldfare have been seen flying over with a couple staying a while in the Whitecroft Copse. Lesser Black-backed and a Herring Gull have been regular visitors, resting on the Bandstand before being disturbed, and numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls have remained high. Stock Dove have been giving good views in the Limes as they look for nesting sites and a few Song Thrush are proclaiming territory and singing loudly. Again Green Woodpecker has been absent this month and birds of prey absent except a few garden reports of Sparrowhawk. The big absentee this month has been the Heron which I suspect has departed to set up early nesting.

Bird List Jan 2013 Mute Swan (3), Cormorant(8), Canada Goose (39), Greylag Goose, Mallard (30), Moorhen (5), Common Gull (30) , Black Headed Gull(200) , Lesser black-backed Gull(2), Herring Gull, Sparrowhawk, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon ,Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet (40+), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing (30) Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

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Swanley Bird Report December 2013

Very wet and windy, but quite mild for the time of year. The gales have brought down a few trees, most noticeably R4 (4th on the right when viewed from the top) in the Limes, this was the Parakeets’ nesting tree so they are already looking for a new hole..R1 looks favourite !

Notes : The star bird of the month was undoubtedly a Merlin seen by JG on the 20th over near the Strawberry Fields gate, another new record for the park.

A Mute Swan appeared on the 12th and stayed until January 5th. Apparently this was an injured bird released by the RSPCA and a few brief flights indicated a number of missing primary feathers on the left wing. I was concerned that there was no suitable food for this bird as they rely on water weeds and invertebrates which are largely absent due to the high fish population. Thankfully it was strong enough to depart for fresh pastures under its own steam.

Snowy Face has been renewing his pair bond with Broken Wing, but he is still tempted to leave with the visiting flock as they come and go irregularly. There are around 40 visiting birds (about the same as last winter but well down on previous years) with a few ringed individuals and one bird “High Step” who kicks its leg every step as a result of an old injury.

Our male Mandarin duck was last seen on the 4th and numbers of Mallard have reduced slightly over the month.Up to 5 Moorhens have been seen and up to 3 Cormorant are still trying to reduce the fish population. A few Fieldfare have stopped briefly in the tall trees calling loudly. Lesser Black-backed and a Herring Gull have been regular visitors, resting on the Bandstand before being disturbed, and numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls have remained high. 4 Stock Dove have been giving good views in the Limes and a Song Thrush is already singing loudly. I have not seen Redwing or Green Woodpecker this month.

Bird List December 2013 Mute Swan, Grey Heron(2), Cormorant(3), Canada Goose (42), Mallard (35), Mandarin, Moorhen (5), Common Gull (20) , Black Headed Gull(200) , Lesser black-backed Gull(2), Herring Gull, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon ,Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet (40+), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

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=Swanley Bird Report           November 2013 =  

Cold and wet for the beginning of the month with drier spells at the end. Spectacular Autumn colours were on show during the brief sunny days.

Notes :

Red Kite flew over on the 7th much to my astonishment, it was lazily flapping south, very low and unmistakeable, a definate first for the Park records.Our male Mandarin duck has been present infrequently all month, he is certainly in full display mode but cannot find a mate so far. A female Shoveller appeared for a few days on the 25th, very difficult to spot with a huge bill and green speculum (visible wing patch) rather than the blue one seen on the female Mallards.

Up to 6 Moorhens have been seen and up to 4 Cormorant are still trying to swallow huge fish and rarely succeed

Small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare have flown over without lingering.

Lesser Black-backed and a Herring Gull have been regular visitors, resting on the Bandstand before being disturbed, numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls have remained high.

The family of 3 Mistle Thrush have been noted regularly on the School Field and large flocks of Goldfinch are now feeding on the remaining seeded trees. 2 Buzzards were seen passing over on the 4th.

A Mute Swan and a Grey Wagtail (JW) have also been reported this month.

Bird List November 2013


Mute Swan, Grey Heron(2), Cormorant(4), Canada Goose (38), Greylag , Mallard (40), Mandarin, Shoveler,  Moorhen (6),  Common Gull (20) , Black Headed Gull(150) , Lesser black-backed Gull(2), Herring Gull, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard(2), Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove,  Ring Necked Parakeet (40+),  Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush,Redwing, Fieldfare,  Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

 October 2013

 

Wet and windy, mostly mild but with a cold NE wind on the 11th which brought our first Redwings and  storm force winds on October 27th which felled a few trees.

 

Notes :

A Wigeon appeared on the 1st and stayed for a couple of days feeding with the geese on the fallen pears.

Our male Mandarin duck has been present all month although not seen so regularly, they are tree ducks however and he may be roosting in some inaccessible spot.

A Little Grebe appeared briefly on the 8th , staying for about 10 minutes my first record for the park, but was easily spooked and dived never to be seen again, they swim to cover and depart unnoticed.

Flights of Canada Geese were noticeable in early October but were absent for the last two weeks, leaving just the 3 no-flys on the lake. A Greylag and the Granada were seen amongst them and an unusual leucistic/piebald Greylag arrived for a short stay, 2 Cormorants have been regular visitors.

 

The cold wind on the 11th brought high numbers of Redwings to the south east and a flock of 30+ was seen with a few individuals landing on the school field. We usually have to wait until the New Year to catch up with these winter thrush visitors.

A 4th Moorhen has appeared, their numbers have been low all summer but we did have 10 during last winter so maybe they will head in when the colder weather begins to bite.

Black-headed and Common Gulls have started to congregate and numbers are building steadily.

A Buzzard was seen passing over on the 9th . A very late swallow was seen on the 22nd.

 

A Red Admiral butterfly was seen late in the month and a Common Darter Dragonfly recorded on my pond on the 3rd.

 

Bird List October 2013

Little Grebe, Grey Heron(2), Cormorant(2), Canada Goose (63), Greylag , Granada, Mallard (60), Mandarin, Wigeon,  Moorhen (4),  Common Gull (20) , Black Headed Gull(180) , Lesser black-backed Gull, Herring Gull,  Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove,  Ring Necked Parakeet (40+),  Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

 

Swanley Park & Lake, The Limes, School Field plus adjacent woods and garden.  

 

             

                                  

                           Swanley Bird Report September 2013

Mild and misty with little or no windy days, the Geese and Ducks are enjoying the lush grazing and the fallen fruit with lake remaining low but with the islands just about secured by shallows

Notes : Our male Mandarin duck has been present all month and is sporting some gaudy plumage, although one of his orange display sails has taken a little while to asert itself, he has been displaying to the mallards so may be a little confused at present !

Small flights of Canada Geese continue to arrive early in the morning although increasing numbers are now staying as the park is less disturbed during the day and the food supply of visitors’ bread has been replaced with squashed pears and lush grass. Up to 3 Greylag Geese have joined the flock together with one “Granada” , a Greylag/Canada hybrid. Current numbers are stable at around 70. There are at least 4 ringed Canada Geese among them, three with a BTO silver ring on the left leg, and another individual with one on the right, proudly displaying “Nat Hist Mus, London SW7” as the return address. I am trying to get some close up shots of the full numbers so that we can try and find out where they were ringed. Snowy face continues to hiss but the rest of them seem to be getting used to me getting very close. We managed 27 Magpies on one morning ! STOP PRESS : A wigeon appeared on October 1st, a very rare visitor indeed, look out for a smaller reddish duck with a black tipped blue bill, and the Mandarin is still there so keep your eyes open ! Bird List September 2013 Grey Heron(2), Cormorant, Canada Goose (120), Greylag (3), Mallard (55), Mandarin, Moorhen (3), Common Gull (15) , Black Headed Gull(10) , Lesser BB Gull, Herring Gull, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet (40+), Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, House Martin(20+), Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie(27), Carrion Crow.


Swanley Bird Report August 2013

More hot weather but some heavy downpours have put a little water back in the lake, very busy during the holidays but a haven of shallow water has been “coned off “ and has provided a rest area for the geese.

Notes : A young male Mandarin duck arrived on August 5th and has been around all month, he survived the fireworks and has developed some spectacular adult plumage remarkably quickly. A Tufted Duck stayed for a couple of days from the 26th.


Noisy flights of Canada Geese have been arriving at around 9.30 am, numbers boosted to 165 on one morning including the odd Greylag. The resident no-fly birds know the incoming flocks are on their way long before I can hear them so give me fair warning to have the camera ready. ! Snowy face is amongst the travellers and meets up with Broken Wing regularly. A Cormorant has been noted very early but very infrequently this month.

How many Magpies can you see at any one time…20 is not unusual early in the mnornings, some nice gatherings of House Martins have also been noted, but enjoy them while you can as they will be leaving for the warmth at the end of next month.

Hedgehogs are doing well in my garden, three young ones are regular visitors. Bird List August 2013 Grey Heron(2), Cormorant, Canada Goose (165), Greylag (1), Mallard (55), Mandarin, Tufted Duck, Moorhen (3), Common Gull, Black Headed Gull , Lesser BB Gull, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet (40+), Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, House Martin(30+), Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie(20), Carrion Crow.


Swanley Bird Report July 2013

A positive heatwave and the school holidays have arrived, the park is busy and the birds have taken cover. The Lake has dried up considerably so the island is not so safe a roost anymore.

Notes : Our Bullfinch pair have returned briefly to visit the same fruiting tree as last year, although much later, they stayed briefly and were only seen on two occasions 1st and 8th. John saw a Buzzard fly over around the 18th

The late brood of two Canada Goslings have survived and are still just about recognisable amongst the growing flock as more families fly in to take advantage of more feeding opportunities with the increased loaves of bread on offer. If you spot an injured Canada Goose, remember they are classed as vermin and will not be treated kindly, only report it if you know it is suffering or unable to fly and feed. The Angel Wing individuals are perfectly able to look after themselves even though they will never fly away from the lake.

I noted some very interesting behaviour by a Moorhen recently when it was pecking at a sunbathing Terrapin. It seemed to be removing ticks or dead skin and the reptile seemed to appreciate the valet service and was not in the least disturbed.

A Southern Hawker Dragonfly has been seen along with the hundreds of Blue Damselflys which can still be seen all around the lake.

A pair of noisy hedgehogs chose my garden to do some courtship recently so I hope they continue to visit and keep the slugs and snails at reasonable levels.

Look out for a young Mandarin Duck which arrived on August 5th !

Bird List July 2013 Grey Heron, Cormorant, Canada Goose (52), Mallard (30), Moorhen (3), Common Gull, Black Headed Gull (8) Lesser BB Gull, Herring Gull(2), Buzzard, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin(30+), Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.


JUNE 2013

 At last some warmer weather has arrived and the dense foliage makes it difficult to see many birds, songsters have quietened down too so you need to be patient to see them at this time of year.

Notes :

No star birds for the park this month unless you can tell me otherwise, but the new life everywhere has made some interesting observing.

Mallard brroods have done really well this year, I saw no further losses and broods of 4,7,8 and 3 are now just about to take to the air. Sandy and Blondie are still just recognisable.

A late brood of two Canada Goslings have appeared to join the nearly adult creche of 11 goslings , 2 of the which are exhibiting a deformity known as Angel Wing. I have named them Flick & Flack as they are continuously twitching their wing tips. Also known as slipped wing, it is a syndrome that affects aquatic birds, primarily geese, in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of lying against the body. Males develop it more than females. Angel Wing is generally observed in waterfowl residing near humans, and the disease can often be observed in areas where geese or ducks are excessively fed bread, it could also be genetic, as the same breeding pair can produce several Angel Wing chicks over many broods. It is possible that one female, Broken Wing has passed it on and there will be at least three non flying permanent residents on the lake if they survive.

The garden is full of young Blue Tits, Great Tits and House Sparrows which seem to have done well and I was lucky to have two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, male and baby on my feeders

The parakeets are flocking together and roost flights of around 30 birds are not uncommon.

You will have to wait until next month to see pictures of the Bullfinch that has just arrived in my garden as I write this on July 1st !

Up to 6 terrapins have been seen basking on the logs and a delightful baby slow worm was noted late in the month with 3 other adults seen.

Bird List June 2013


Grey Heron(2), Cormorant, Canada Goose (51), Mallard (40),  Moorhen (3),  Common Gull,  Lesser BB Gull,  Herring Gull(2), Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk.  Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove,  Ring Necked Parakeet,  Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

May 2013Edit

 

Generally cold for the time of year, some warmer spells with the leaves finally providing cover and the breeding season in full swing after a late start. 

NOTES

A total of 4 Mallard Broods are being raised on the lake. The eldest, Sandy’s group are now 4 strong but have done remarkably well having lost their mother on the 4th, both these and the Gang of 8 are getting their adult plumage and will soon be taking flight.  A third brood appeared with 9 ducklings on the 6th and these are now down to 7 including a very pale duckling so naturally this has become Blondies Group ! The final group of 4 appeared on the 20th and have lost one to date…so that is 4, 8 7 and 3 left in the broods, one of the best survival rates I can remember in the park.

The 2 Canada Geese broods hatched a day apart and have creched for safety, both pairs lost a couple of goslings in the first nights but a total of 11 are now getting big and will soon be exercising growing wing muscles, both sets of parents are still in attendance.

A Mistle Thrush fledged one youngster in the Limes before the leaves arrived, the Whitecroft crows have fledged 2 babies, and successful nest holes for Starlings. Parakeets, Blue Tits and Great Tits have been seen.

Swallows and Swifts have at last returned, a very late appearance…a cuckoo has also been heard.

An Egyptian Goose paid us a visit on the 1st, a new bird for the Park.

Our star bird, a Turtle Dove was last heard on May 27th and may have finally given up in attracting a mate. There have been very few sightings in the London area and many birders made a trip to Swanley to add our bird to their annual lists.

Brimstone, Comma, Peacock Speckled Wood, Large White, Orange Tip and Holly Blue butterflies have appeared, 4 terrapins and 3 slow-worms have also been recorded this month.

Bird List for February.

Grey Heron(2), Cormorant(2), Mute Swan, Canada Goose (39), Greylag Goose (1),  Egyptian Goose, Mallard (40),  Moorhen (5),  Coot (1) Black Headed Gull  Common Gull  Lesser BB Gull,  Herring Gull(2)

Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk.  Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Turtle Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Cuckoo (h), Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, 

Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.


April 2013Edit

 

A freezing start but a gradual improvement to sunny days has brought in the Spring migrants, seen the waterfowl nesting and hatching young, and the warblers delighting with bursts of song. 

NOTES Two Mallard broods have successfully hatched, the first started with 8 on the 17th and is now steady at 5 including a “Sandy” coloured duckling, the second brood still have 9 from 10 hatched on 20th which is a remarkable achievement bearing in mind the Heron , Gulls and Terrapins all on the lookout for a tasty snack.

Two pairs of Canada Geese are nesting on the island, Broken Wing(f) and Snowyface(m) opposite the Bandstand and another pair opposite the café. They have been incubating for nearly the whole month and the first Goslings should appear in very early May.

Up to 5 Greylags have been arriving with the Canada visitors in the early mornings, with Cormorant and Grey Heron appearing more often than last month.

Our star bird, a Turtle Dove appeared on the 21st and is still seen almost daily, listen for the purring call around the Limes and Café playground areas. The record was the first in London this year for this migratory dove which suffers great hunting hardship as it navigates the Mediterranean.

Stock Doves have also appeared in the Limes and maybe nesting for the first time to my knowledge.

A buzzard flew over mobbed by crows on the 30th.

Warblers have arrived with many Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs calling and the more secretive Whitethroat searching for spiders around the lake margins. A wren was feeding young on the 9th.

Redwings were last seen on the 13th and have moved back to Northern Europe for the breeding season.

2 Common Sandpipers were chasing eachother around the lake on the 17th, and two Great spotted woodpeckers were seen feeding on the ground, which is unusual.

Just one House Martin has been noted and we still await the first Swallows and Swifts.

I was lucky enough to see a Badger in the Limes late one evening, and Brimstone, Comma and Peacock butterflies are a sure sign the warmer weather is coming, 4 terrapins and 2 slow-worms have also been recorded this month.

Bird List for February. Grey Heron(1), Cormorant(2), Canada Goose (39), Greylag Goose (5), Mallard (25),  Moorhen (6),  Black Headed Gull (120), Common Gull (25), Lesser BB Gull (3) Herring Gull(2), Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk. Buzzard, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Turtle Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing (25) , Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow,  Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.


 March 2013Edit

 Coldest March for decades, rarely above freezing with a film of ice on the pond most days. 

NOTES

Numbers of ducks and geese are generally down as they begin to pair up for the breeding season and try and find their own space. The freezing weather may have put this back a few weeks although the Great Spotted Woodpeckers have started drumming and the first frozen frogspawn appeared in my pond in the first week. The female Blackcap is still around and a Kestrel has become a resident around the Whitecroft copse, feeding on earthworms on the muddy path.

Redwings are still visible feeding on the ground although only one fieldfare was seen.

Snowyface has become aggressive to all the visiting Canada Geese and appears to be top bird on the lake.

March 15th was a red-letter day when I braved the freezing sleet to get good views of 4 tufted ducks and a Great Crested Grebe (only the second record in the park to my knowledge) which visited the lake for a few hours, I almost overlooked the two Mute Swans in the excitement….they seem to follow a rare bird

Again there were limited sightings of Cormorant and a Grey Heron which has assumed its breeding plumes and will no doubt have established a nest elsewhere. A Coot appeared briefly on the 22nd

An unusual and very vocal gathering of 23 Carrion Crows was witnessed late in the month; perhaps they were choosing partners in such a raucous gathering.

Bird List for February.

Great Crested Grebe(1), Grey Heron(1), Cormorant(1), Mute Swan(2), Canada Goose (21), Greylag Goose (2), Mallard (15),  Tufted Duck (4), Moorhen (6), Coot(1), Black Headed Gull (200), Common Gull (25), Lesser BB Gull.   Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk. Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock,  Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing (25) Fieldfare (1), Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow,  Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

                                                                                                          

                       

February 2013Edit

 

Cold and grey for most of the month, lots of action on Garden Feeders, with Winter Thrushes still active around the school fields. Some interesting newcomers and absentees around the lake.

NOTES The month  started well with a Nuthatch on the 3rd calling and very visible in the Limes, but it didn’t stay long. A female Blackcap and a pair of Great Spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors to my garden fatball feeders, the woodpeckers drumming nearby for a regular alarm call. 3 Siskins showed for a couple of days around the 15th.


Redwings are now greatly outnumbering the Fieldfare in the mixed flocks as the berries run out and worms become more accessible. Both Mallard and Canada Geese numbers have declined although there were isolated visits from 2 Greylags, there was unusually, only one sighting each of Cormorant (16th) and a Grey Heron which was just a flyover…have all the nice fish gone ?.

3 Domestic Aylesbury ducks have appeared, any info anyone ? One has already been dinner for someone !


Real excitement on the morning of the BirdWalk on 23rd with the arrival of a Female Shoveller, she is still present, the one doing endless circles and has a big orange bill, and a star bird, a Drake Gadwall, appeared for a few days, the first record for many years, I almost forgot to record the pair of Mute swans who dropped in briefly the same day.


Back Headed and Common Gulls were present in large numbers, the former reaching 250 on the 10th and the Lesser Black Back was a regular visitor.

A Kestrel has become my latest garden tick on the 25th but my regular Coal Tit has disappeared.

Join me for another Birdwalk on Sat March 23rd

Bird List for February.


Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Goose (37), Mallard (35), Gadwall(m), Shoveller (f), Moorhen (10), Black Headed Gull (250), Common Gull (31), Lesser BB Gull.   Kestrel, Sparrowhawk.

Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock,  Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing (22) Fieldfare (4), Long Tailed , Great , Blue Tit,  Goldcrest,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Siskin, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

                                                                                              



 January 2013Edit

 

Snow and a Frozen lake 19th-27th made life difficult for our birds, now the wet conditions have returned an influx of Redwing and Fieldfare feeding on the rising worms has been a noteable development.

NOTES

The year started well with 4 Siskins (first record for two years) and a female Blackcap appearing on my feeders on the 1st. The month was remarkable for the regular Waxwing sightings around Hextable Park , a flock of 90 was seen on 7th and a flyover at The Limes was a major tick. Other flocks were noted around Dartford and Swanley.

I was pleased to see the first Redwings of the winter, ground feeding on the 12th, with other flocks noted with Fieldfare after the thaw on 27th and 28th.

I didn’t see a Cormorant during January and a Greylag Goose retuned with 30 Canada Geese on the 31st.

Broken Wing was marooned on the Frozen Lake alone with a few mallard in a small space of open water, SnowyFace was absent during the freeze but has returned with the flock and the pair seem reunited.

Black Headed and Common Gulls were present in large numbers, both on the Lake and in the school field, and a flock of 20 Long Tailed Tits were a delightful sight in the Limes.

As I write (Feb 3rd), a Nuthatch, first for many years, has appeared in the Limes, listen out for its loud call !

Bird List for January.

Grey Heron, Canada Goose (41), Mallard (40), Moorhen (9),

Black Headed Gull (160), Common Gull (31), Lesser BB Gull.

Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, Pied Wagtail,  Waxwing , Dunnock,  Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing (18)

Fieldfare (20), Long Tailed (20) , Great , Blue Tit,  Goldcrest,  Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Siskin, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Swanley Park & Lake, The Limes, School Field plus adjacent woods and garden.                                                

                                                                        

                                                                                                           

                                                        

December 2012Edit

 

Great weather for ducks, so much rain and a frozen lake 11th to 13th. The new paths in the park are making the walk a little easier but it remains a quagmire in most places.

 

NOTES

A  male Tufted Duck was a regular visitor throughout the month and the numbers of Canada Geese have increased steadily to 18, although it was noticeable that even Snowy Face was absent for two days holiday away from Broken Wing before returning with a flock of 10.

Only 1 Cormorant appeared on the 29th, although it was in full breeding regalia with smart white thigh patches.

Mallard numbers are slightly down but the Moorhen population has reached double figures.

Fieldfares were few and far between and Redwings have yet to be recorded by me in the area.

 

After daring to mention the “W” word last month I couldn’t believe my luck to find a Waxwing amongst the Starlings near the top car park. This stunning bird stayed around for an hour or so, allowing me to get very good views on a sunny morning (17th). 

 

 

Bird List for December.

Cormorant(1), Grey Heron(2), Canada Goose (18), Mallard (50), Tufted Duck(1m), Sparrowhawk, Moorhen (10), Black Headed Gull (130),  Common Gull (20), Lesser BB Gull.

Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail(1), Waxwing (1), Dunnock,  Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Long Tailed , Great , Blue , Coal Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

       

November 2012Edit

A very wet month that has seen the Lake refilled and the rare sight of rivulets running in from the flooded areas of the park. The first ice appeared at the end of the month and the numbers of birds were notable for their scarcity or continued absence.

In particular the Canada Geese have stopped flying in which is most unusual.

NOTES

A solitary Mute Swan visited on the 12th and 29th, and a male tufted Duck appeared for a few days on the 4th. Flocks of Canada Geese have not returned and only two pairs were seen including BrokenWing and his/her chum SnowyFace present on the lake.

Cormorants seem to be decreasing with only singles appearing for a short time, although 4 were present for an hour on the 13th.

A Grey Wagtail continues to visit and the Herons are still finding plenty to their taste.

A flock of 50 Fieldfares flew over on the 6th but only a couple alighted for a few minutes affording good views. Surprisingly, Redwings have not been recorded by me in the area although there have been many reports of a healthy invasion this winter….can we hope for some waxwings as were seen locally in March 2005 ?

A huge flock of Wood Pigeon was noticeable on the school fields on the 4th as the cold snap began.

A Coal Tit is now a morning regular on my feeders, a song thrush has reappeared and numbers of Long Tailed Tits and Goldfinch have been impressive as they flock together in the cold weather.

Bird List for November.

Cormorant(4), Grey Heron(2), Mute Swan,  Canada Goose (4), Mallard (60), Tufted Duck(1m), , Sparrowhawk, Moorhen (9), Black Headed Gull (120),  Common Gull (25) Lesser BB Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon (140), Collared Dove, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail(1), Dunnock,  Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Long Tailed , Great , Blue , Coal Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.



 October 2012Edit

A wet month that has seen the Lake return to Spring levels, a few welcome visitors that didn’t stay for long and the noteable absence of any numbers of Canada Geese were interesting as we await the winter thrushes, gulls and unusual ducks that sometimes turn up during the colder months.

 

The fact that the swans, diving ducks and coot do not stay for long had me thinking about the reasons for their fleeting visits. We did notice the swans attempting to feed on the willow leaves without much success and realised that there was little or no natural food for them in the lake.

Such species rely largely upon aquatic vegetation, and a healthy invertebrate population to breed which is clearly not available. I can only conclude that the introduction of carp into the lake many years ago has upset this food source and coincided with the departure of Swans and Tufties, with the Coots toughing it out for a few more years.

 

We now “enjoy” fish plus Cormorants and Herons....Let me know what you think !

 

NOTES

The pair of Mute Swans visited for a few days  (1st/2nd) and a female Tufted Duck was present (3rd). Small flocks of Canada Geese (40) flew in at their normal time but seemed ill at ease at often left after an hour so, There have been little or no flocks for the past two weeks with only BrokenWing and his/her chum SnowyFace present on the lake.

A record 8 cormorants arrived for breakfast on the 5th, 3 different Greylag Geese appeared around the 4th, one was ringed “NT3” who was here in December 2011, and April this year, another had a noticeable black tip to its bill.

A pair Tawny Owls were heard on the 8th, I even managed to call the female in closer to the trees behind my garden… the females’ sharp “Ke-vick” answered by the males hoot.   

A Grey Wagtail was seen on a number of occasions and hopefully will become more regular, watch out for a flash of brilliant lemon yellow.

A late flock of 20 House Martins flew south on the 9th.  A distant Buzzard flew over on 28th

Gull flocks are beginning to arrive (130 on 27th), but the Song Thrush has disappeared from my list.

A Coal Tit appeared on my feeders for the 1st time this year (30th).

Bird List for October.

Cormorant(8), Grey Heron(2), Mute Swan(2), Greylag (3), Canada Goose, Mallard (60), Tufted Duck(1f), Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen (4), Black Headed Gull (130), Lesser BB Gull, Common Gull (6), Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Tawny Owl (H), Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail(1), Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Long Tailed , Great , Blue , Coal Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.


September 2012

Now the park is quietening down midweek after the school holidays you may have a better chance to see our uncommon visitors. The Lake level is dropping alarmingly once again so the island is not safe for roosting wildfowl at all. Late September rain has helped a little.

A Male Mandarin duck was seen on the lake during late August and 1st Sep, with numbers of Canada Geese reaching 175 on 7th.(let me know if you count more…the record is 218 !)

They roost away from the park, flying initially NW towards Danson Park or maybe Dartford. 

A Tawny Owl was heard on the 4th & 18th    Up to 4 cormorants visit for breakfast most mornings.A Greylag Goose appeared on 24th, not seen a ring yet but it might be “NT3” who was here in December 2011, and April this year. Let me know if you see one please.Still no sign of Coot after a brief appearance in June, these used to be resident and are now uncommon for the past few years as indeed are Mute Swan and Tufted Duck.

Mute Swans used to breed here, successfully raising young up until 1991 although 2 were present for a short period on the 22nd , then 29th & 30th. Female Tufted appeared on the 28th& 30th

Swifts have gone but House Martins are still feeding up for their long Migration and will leave us very soon.

JW reports recent sightings of Grey Wagtail (17th & 23rd) and a star bird rarity for the park, a Common Sandpiper. (See pictures)

A hedgehog visited my garden, seen for the first time in many years at the end of August.

Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Large White and Meadow Brown butterflies can still be seen on sunny days

Bird List for September.

Cormorant(4), Grey Heron(2), Mute Swan(2), Greylag (1), Canada Goose, Mandarin (1m), Mallard, Tufted Duck(1f), Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Common Sandpiper, Black Headed Gull, Lesser BB Gull, Common Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Tawny Owl (H), Swift, Ring Necked Parakeet, Green WP, Great Spotted WP, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail(1), Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Swanley Park & Lake, The Limes, School Field plus adjacent woods and garden.

Any sightings or additions please to                benbec13@tiscali.co.uk







                          




 










                   

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