Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cassiobury Park and Hampermill Lake (21st March)


I had about 30 minutes to check out some of the northern edge of Cassiobury Park, before I had to head of to school, already, there were signs of spring including 2 Collared Doves collecting nest material (twigs) "catagory B-probable breeding".  Also of note was 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Grey Heron perched on the roof of a house backing onto the northern side of the park, 1 calling Nuthatch and 1 Ring-necked Parakeet.  The ever present song of a Mistle Thrush and 2 Green Woodpeckers all typified the past months records indicating that there has been little change since late winter/early spring.


I had several hours to spare after school ended early at 13:00pm so I decided to try my luck down at Hampermill Lake, a new site for me.  The environment was much the same as the other nearby lakes such as Stockers and Bury Lake but there were "Strictly No Enter" signs everywhere and the view over the lake was rather restricted.  However, the first thing which struck me was the sudden arrival of spring at the Lake were, I noted my first singing Chiffchaff of the year and even some of my first Butterfly species, including a few Skipper species and 2 Small Tortoiseshells.  The birds were a little more numerous than in the surrounding fields, although nothing extraordinary was about.  1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, and several more singing Chiffchaffs were of note.  I spent most of my time observing a pair of Long-tailed Tits constructing their beautifully engineered egg-shaped nest out of cobwebs, feathers and lichen, designed amazingly to expand whilst the chicks grow "category B-probable breeding".  In the surrounding fields, 2 Greylag Geese and 3 Canada Geese were of further note and 2 more singing Chiffchaffs were at the Sandy Lodge Golf course and the neighbouring horse paddock.  On my return past Hampermill Lake again, 22 Canada Geese were now present, a Sparrowhawk shot along the hedgerow before veering into the sky as it saw me and began circling, whilst 5 Fieldfare flew over N followed by 3 Ring-necked Parakeets and another Small Tortoiseshell.

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