Monday, 31 December 2007

2007 - the final countdown

It has been a record year for the study area, with a grand total of 113 species recorded - five more than last years' total, which was then the highest-ever total. On a personal aside, I got my best-ever total of 103 species for the year.

There were some real highlights, headed by Bar-tailed Godwit, which was a new species for the Park. Other notables included Little Egret, Osprey, Black-tailed Godwit and Grasshopper Warbler, all of which were recorded for the second time. Other non-regulars included Egyptian Goose, Common Goldeneye, Red-legged Partridge, Oystercatcher, Rook and Yellowhammer.

After absences of a few years, there were welcome returns for Wood Warbler, Firecrest and Pied Flycatcher. On the downside, only a single Reed Bunting was seen, there were just two records of Lapwing and only three of Bullfinch.

There were at least seven Goldcrest territories as well as three Nuthatch territories (two of these were no more than 50 yards apart), the best-ever year for these species and very promising for the future. Alas, there was no evidence that any Sparrowhawks nested, despite at least four birds being present during the breeding season.

Undoubtedly, the date that stands out the most during the year is 19th April, despite the previous days' Wood Warbler and Ring Ouzel not being present; as compensation, there was another Ring Ouzel, along with Pied Flycatcher, Osprey, Common Buzzard and Wheatear. The first two species were seen by quite a few observers and led to quite a 'twitch', which at one point got into double figures! The Ring Ouzel stayed for at least three days, attracting a number of people to the park.

All in all, 2007 was a very exciting and positive year - here's looking forward to another great year.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Another Wigeon

Friday's drake Wigeon was not seen on Saturday, however, on Sunday, what was at first thought to be the same bird was located. At first it was only heard, but then it was viewed tucked into the western bank of the reservoir. It was then noted that this bird did not have a very obvious cream flash on its forehead, unlike the bird on Friday. Also, this bird behaved differently, in that it was less adgitated and at times vocal. The bird was still present on Monday, probably because building work on the filter beds has ceased for the Xmas break.

Six Siskins were also present on Monday, feeding in the Alder trees at the back of the Conservation Area pond. Also of note was the presence of a female Blackcap in a garden bordering Wood Green Allotments, seen for a few minutes around 2pm on Sunday and in the same garden the following day, Monday, Xmas eve, a male Blackcap was seen.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Big day for ducks!

With cold weather continuing, there's always a chance of something unusual dropping in. So it was that a drake Wigeon was found at 08:40 this morning (Dominic Mitchell), swimming with the Tufted Duck flock at the northern end of the reservoir. It was subsequently twitched by several local birders. The first record for the year, it takes the Alexandra Park total for 2007 to 112 species.

What chance of one more addition to the list before the end of the year? Seemingly little, but just one hour and 25 minutes later it happened - a female Goldeneye was spotted from the Birdwatch magazine office, which overlooks the park, flying up from the reservoir/New River area and apparently following the course of the river to the South/South-East (Dominic Mitchell, Des McKenzie, Ian Lycett). The new total of 113 species is now five higher than last year's previous best of 108 species.

The park was otherwise quite quiet this morning, though three Ring-necked Parakeets flew north-east over the Conservation Area and there were a couple of vocal Goldcrests in the vicinity. Tufted Ducks numbered 42 on the reservoir, where there was also a Little Grebe.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Saturday 8th December

The Water Rail showed well at Conservation Pond at about 9am. Otherwise, a quiet and rather dull, damp day.


Sunday, 25 November 2007

25th November 2007

There was a male Brambling in trees briefly in the Grove (Andrew Gardener), and five Siskins in flock with Goldfinches, feeding in Alder trees behind the CA pond (Bob Watts).

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Water Rail still at conservation pond

At approx 8.40am this morning a Water Rail was calling from dense cover at the northern end of the conservation pond, so there is at least one still present (up to three have been heard in recent weeks). Nearby six Gadwall and six Pochard were on the Tunnel Reservoir, along with one Little Grebe, but there was again no sign of last week's Firecrest in the conservation area (Dominic Mitchell)

Drake Gadwall, Tunnel Res, 18 November © Dominic Mitchell

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Brambling and rat-catching heron

Brambling, Siskin, 35 Fieldfares north, 2 Goldcrests & Water Rail in the conservation area/pond early morning (Andrew Gardener, Dominic Mitchell, Gareth Richards and Bob Watts) but no sign by 9am of yesterday's Firecrest; lunchtime: trilling Little Grebe, 2 Water Rail heard in Conservation Pond area, 2 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, 2+ Goldfinch; many Brown Rats (Des McKenzie, Mike Benyon); plus Siskin, 3 Goldcrests, Coal Tit and Nuthatch in The Grove and Grey Heron attacking, drowning and swallowing a Brown Rat at the boating pond (Dominic Mitchell).

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Firecrest adds to record year

A Firecrest was seen at 12:34hrs in scrub c75 metres north along path from Conservation Pond (in area near marker post), plus female Gadwall, 2 Little Grebe, 25 Common Gull, Green Woodpecker; no sign of recently reported tristis Chiffchaff (Des McKenzie). The first Firecrest in the park for three years, it moves on this year's record annual total to 111 species - now three species higher than last year's record total of 108 species.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Today's bird news

No sign of the tristis Chiffchaff (13:00-14:00hrs); 3 Gadwall, 4 Little Grebe, Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, male Blackcap (Cricket Scrub), 4 Goldcrest, redpoll sp in from south at 13.55hrs, ditched into trees near Conservation Pond (small and dark looking in flight so presumably a Lesser) (Des McKenzie); also, Fieldfare flew from Cricket Scrub 0800 (Bob Watts)

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Third Pied Flycatcher this year

After a female in spring and another bird already this autumn, the third Pied Flycatcher of the year was discovered in oaks on the lower slope above the cricket scrub (Andrew Gardener). Successfully twitched by Bob Watts and Dominic Mitchell, it could not be found later in the day.

Pied Flycatcher, lower slope © Dominic Mitchell

Friday, 31 August 2007

Whinchat still in cricket scrub

Whinchat, cricket scrub © Andrew Gardener