Wednesday, 18 July 2012

18 July 2012

For the first time in as long as I can remember it remained dry for the whole of my visit, not a drop of rain!
It was much warmer today at 18c, plenty of sunshine and a WSW breeze, visit from 06.15 til 09.00.

The Barnacle Goose was with the 282 Canada Geese and 14 Greylag Geese, 20 Black-headed Gulls were on the main lake or going over it and included two juveniles, just five Tufted Duck remain and the usual four Great Crested Grebe and seven Mute Swans which include the three cygnets, 18 Swift were over the main lake, a single Mistle Thrush was heard going over.

Near the top pool in the Dogwood a family of at least five Reed Warbler and another two were on the top pool, also on the top pool two Jay and four Great Spotted Woodpecker were together in a tall tree along the reserve side of the main lake, five Chiffchaff were around the park, a family group of Blackcap were in the reserve and a Coal Tit could be heard calling across from the old gas works, which also had two Stock Doves and a single Swallow on here, two Whitethroat were on the old sewage works, along the front of the main lake two Pied Wagtail again one was a juvenile and a new group of four Mallard ducklings which were a few days old.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

17 July 2012

Slightly better weather conditions this morning, but only in the fact that the rain was more of a light too occasional heavy drizzle compared to yesterdays deluge, at one point I even saw blue sky through a gap in the clouds (honest), temp was stable throughout at 16c and a slightly stronger W breeze, visit from 06.50 til 09.00.

I was slightly late this morning and it cost me a Westport year tick when Nick had a Kingfisher in the back moving from the middle pool up to the top pool but disappearing after that.

I managed a count of 13 Greylag Geese among the Canada Geese this morning, the Barnacle Goose was also present although it doesn't mingle within the flock and tends to stick to the outer edges, all these were on the boating lake, on the main lake the Tufted Duck went up with 13 present, again just four Great Crested Grebe, the usual seven Mute Swan (three are cygnets) and eight Black-headed Gulls included two juveniles, 13 Swift were flying mainly along the canal side of the main lake and included seven House Martins, along the front of the main lake were two Pied Wagtail one of which was a juvenile, the first one to be seen around the park this year, as I was making my way into the reserve area three small ducks flew in over the main lake, they were Teal, the first at Westport since the beginning of April, they flew around and seemed to land in the reserve but despite searching for them I couldn't relocate them.

At the bottom corner of the reserve after the first gate I came across a family party of Willow Tit, it was near impossible to count them as they were quite high in the tree tops and seemed to be all around me, so I estimated that at least eight were present, this has to be a 2nd brood and therefore the 3rd successful brood at Westport this year, at the top pool two Reed Warblers were present and I watched as one regularly dropped into the reeds at the same point and you could hear the youngsters calling for food, so hopefully we will have at least two successful broods of these as well, not as many Chiffchaff around today with just five around the park, and two Bullfinch flew low over the top pool, just a single Swallow was seen today on the old gas works with two Stock Doves, on the old sewage works two Whitethroat and lastly a Grey Wagtail was along the canal side of the main lake as I made my way home.

The photo below was taken this morning by Pete Lunt, showing a juvenile Reed Warbler, I think we have had success with two broods this year.

Juvenile Reed Warbler by Pete Lunt

Monday, 16 July 2012

16 July 2012

Since my last visit on the 12th July there have only been a few highlights, on the 13th the first young Reed Warblers of the year were seen, a unusual report came on the 14th when one of the local dog walkers reported seeing a Little Owl by the bridge at the top right entrance to the park, unfortunately despite extensive searching it wasn't relocated, on the 15th the first Pochard to visit Westport for over a month was in a group of Tufted Duck and then later on in the day three hybrid possibly CapexRuddy Shelduck appeared on the boating lake, although unringed they were rather tame and would come for bread, see the photo below.

Hybrid Shelduck but which type?? Photo by Phil Jones

And so onto today, it was a very wet visit, but I've kind of got use to it over this lovely summer of ours, it was almost perfect conditions for a wader to pass though, my visit lasted for three hours from 05.50 til 08.50, there was just one spell of around 30minutes in the middle when it didn't rain, the temp remained pretty constant during the visit at 14c up to 15c at the end, wind was light and direct S.

There was no sign of yesterdays hybrid Shelducks, the Barnacle Goose remains among the Canada Geese flock as does at least twelve Greylag Geese, a good count of c55 Swift went through heading straight south, Black-headed Gulls continue to build up again and a juvenile was among the group of seven today my first of the year at Westport, on the main lake just seven Tufted Duck remain from yesterdays twelve, the usual seven Mute Swans which include the three cygnets and four Great Crested Grebe, a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls passed through, a bit later I picked up a juvenile Little Grebe on the main lake, possibly the same one from the other week.

Around the park five Chiffchaff were heard/seen, four Blackcap and just a single Reed Warbler singing on the top pool, on the old gas works two Stock Doves, two Swallows and a Grey Heron on the small pool, a single Whitethroat was on the old sewage works and another in the reserve along with a Garden Warbler and a single Bullfinch was heard, a Jay was heard near the top of the main lake and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker here as well.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

12 July 2012

It felt a bit like autumn this morning, it was a lovely bright sunny morning with a cool edge probably caused by the WNW breeze which made the 11c start feel a bit cooler than that, by the end of my three hour visit the temperature had risen to a nice 19c, visit from 06.10 til 09.10.

There was a good number of juvenile species around this morning, probably more than I've seen all year which after all the rain was a nice sight, showing that things haven't maybe been as bad as first thought, Mute Swan, Coot and Mallard young have been around for a good while now and are seen everyday, but I also saw today juvenile Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blackcap and Dunnock.

Other species seen included a good count of nine Chiffchaff around the park, 25 Swift were over the visitor centre, on the main lake and boating lake 221 Canada Geese was a slightly low count but didn't include the Canada creche which normally accounts for around another 30, I managed 12 Greylag Geese and the Barnacle Goose among the flock, five Black-headed Gulls went through, on the main lake, just three Great Crested Grebe and just four Tufted Duck, along with the seven Mute Swans which included three cygnets, two Garden Warblers were seen today one on each side of the main lake, just two Swallows were around and a single House Martin, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls went through all adults and a Grey Wagtail flew over the main lake calling.

In the reserve a Greenfinch was calling, two Reed Warblers on the top pool and a Jay nearby, the pool just below the top one had a female Mallard with two ducklings which looked no more than a day or two old, a single Willow Tit was among a flock of c30 Long-tailed Tits, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the old sewage works, also on here two Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler which had a bit of a unusual song, it started pure Willow until a Chiffchaff started up nearby and then the call became almost a mix of the two.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

11 July 2012

It's been pretty quiet down Westport since my last visit on the 7th July, the big thing this year is the mud and soggy ground, for summer I can't believe just how bad the reserve area is, it's impossible to walk around without wellies as is most parts of the old sewage works, at least in winter with the cold ground it is'nt so bad, this has to have been one of the worse summers for a long long time and has without doubt affected the breeding birds, it's probably one of the reasons our own Canada Geese have only had half the numbers of goslings compared to last year.

To catch up since my last visit the only birds of note were three Common Sandpipers present on the 9th along with a juvenile Little Grebe, the first juvenile of the year and only the second Little Grebe of the year, and this morning Nick had a Kingfisher on the top pool, I had a look along with Phil Jones this afternoon but without joy, I still need it for my Westport year list.

Also present on this very quiet afternoon, I managed to count 12 Greylag Geese but there were probably a few more as they were rather spread out around the park this afternoon, on the main lake, five Great Crested Grebe, 4 adult and three cygnet Mute Swans and eight Tufted Duck and three Black-headed Gulls were flying around the lake.

The reserve area was very very quiet with hardly a single bird heard let alone seen, the only area were this didn't apply was the top pool with at least two singing Reed Warblers making plenty of noise to make up for everywhere else, a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also flying around the main lake and a adult Herring Gull flew over quite high up, a single Blackcap was singing near the old gas works were just a single Swallow was around the derelict buildings, on the old sewage works a single Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, back on the grass bank near the visitor centre I picked out the Barnacle Goose among the Canada Geese and lastly a couple of House Martins were flying around the boating lake.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

07 July 2012

A decent morning weather wise after all the rain, it was nice to see the sun shining and although everywhere was very wet, the Fowlea brook wasn't anywhere near as high as it was last month when we had over two days of heavy rain. That said we also visited Branston Gravel Pits and Uttoxeter Quarry were flash floods were very evident.

 Branston Gravel Pits

Uttoxeter Quarry was even worse

So back to Westport as we were on a tour of South Staffs it was a shorter than usual visit from 06.10 til 07.50.

A small group of just three Mallard Ducklings which were less than a week old made there way across the car park to the boating lake, three groups of Black-headed Gulls flew over involving seven birds in total, all were adults but I'm sure it won't be long before we have the first juvenile of the year, a single Pied Wagtail was along the front of the main lake, sadly they don't seem to have had a successful breeding season as no youngsters have been seen so far this year, another species missing young birds is Mistle Thrush with three also along the front edge, a couple of waders were seen today firstly a single Common Sandpiper, the first one for over a week and two Little Ringed Plover were flying around the front of the main lake.

On the main lake Tufted Duck have dropped off slightly from the previous day with seven present, six Great Crested Grebe were also on the main lake with two still sitting, the four Mute Swan remain with the three cygnets doing well, 13 Greylag Geese were on the boating lake mixed in with the Canada Geese flock, over the main lake just five Swift were present, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over towards the nature reserve, just a single Blackcap was heard today and three Chiffchaff, some of the Coot are on there second brood and two pairs both have four chicks each which are less than a week old, two Reed Warbler were singing on the top pool, but no sign of the Sedge Warbler that was seen here yesterday or the Hobby which has been coming and going all summer, two Whitethroat were on the old sewage works and a Treecreeper was calling along the canal side of the main lake and lastly as we were leaving we picked up the Barnacle Goose which returned yet again yesterday.

Below a couple of photo's received from Dominic Salisbury, sadly my camera is rather poorly and I've missed being able to take some photo's around Westport and adding them to my blog.

Photo of Barnacle Goose & Great Crested Grebe by Dominic Salisbury

Sunday, 1 July 2012

01 July 2012

A quiet morning as expected, it was a bright sunny morning although a bit cooler than of late with a temp of just 11c, breeze was stronger than of late with a W breeze, visit from 06.00 til 07.50.

A single Grey Heron flew over a few times and we later flushed it from the small pool on the old gas works, good numbers of Chiffchaff seen and heard today with at least nine around the park, a single Pied Wagtail was along the front, surprisingly I haven't seen and young yet this year, Greylag Geese are remaining steady at 14 but Canada Geese have dropped by around 50 to 256, five Tufted Duck were on the main lake briefly and then dropped to just three and eight Great Crested Grebe were also on the main lake with two still sitting, like last year it looks like we are going to a a couple of late broods, Mute Swans remain at the two pairs and three cygnets, around c40 Swift were over the top of the main lake, three Blackcap were around the park, a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were flying around and a probable distant Herring Gull went over, on the top pool two Reed Warbler are still singing away, a possible family party of at least four Jay were on the old sewage works, two Black-headed Gulls flew over as did a single Starling and lastly a couple of Whitethroat were also on the old sewage works.

At the side of the blog I've added the sightings for July in the 'Blast from the Past' and also the highlights for July in 2011.

June Review

As you would expect it's been a pretty quiet month, although not the quietest of the year so far, that honor goes to January with just 60 species recorded, June was slightly better with 63, although three of those were new for the year and frustratingly I only saw one of them.

The three newbie's were Gadwall, Green Sandpiper and the Barnacle Goose which came and went a few times throughout the month.

Other highlights of a otherwise quiet month were, Hobby, which have been seen for the last three months in a row now, with a single bird perched in the trees near the top pool for a day, Peregrine has also been a regular visitor over the last four months and I watched a male take a Feral Pigeon a few weeks ago over the main lake, Little Ringed Plover continue to visit on a regular basis which suggests that they have bred close by, a single Curlew flew over last week, only the second record this year, a possible return passage Common Sandpiper also went through last week, as did a Common Tern, and lastly a Kingfisher on the top pool was only the second record of the year.

A couple of species were also missing that have so far been recorded on every month of the year to date, these are Pochard which is the first time in over three years that this species hasn't been seen in every month of a year, also missing was Cormorant and Jackdaw.

So the Westport year list now stands on 110.