My friend Tony James had spent over an hour at Lake Farm on Saturday with our local MP John McDonnell and some others, for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. He sent me the following list of birds seen (which I have also entered on the LNHS site count)
10 Reed Buntings
1 Cormorant over
4-5 Great Tit
6+ Blue Tit
plenty of pigeons, black-headed and common gulls
2 possible Coal Tit
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
heard Skylark but not seen
I had very similar sightings myself, but added male Blackcap and pair of Song Thrush. I also saw Fieldfares today, but couldnt get any photos as they were feeding amongst the gulls on the left hand field which is fenced off.
I also had 3 Chaffinch, one of which was defintley showing signs of Fringilla papillomavirus, a nasty looking virus that appears to only affect Chaffinches and Bramblings on their legs and feet. Happily though it does not appear to affect the birds feeding or flying abilitys, and in the worst cases the bird becomes lame or loses any badly infected digits.
The numbers of Reed Buntings on site are a great indication that the site is so variable. Who needs reeds when you've got swathes of uncut cow parsley and grass ? Today the Reed Buntngs again seemed to prefer the thorny hedgerows along the outer perimeter, but that could have been because they were quite a few dogs in the park today. And I was very chuffed to see three Stonechats after my visit on the 14th January when I couldnt find any.
Highlight of my morning was seeing a pair of Song Thrushes. I normally only see one when I go to Lake Farm, but these two were feeding together rooting through leaf litter, and not even bothering to chase off the Blackbirds and Chaffinches that were feeding alongside them. Here's hoping Lake Farm is home to some baby Song Thrushes in Spring.
Comparing my count to that of 14th January, the numbers of Wood Pigeons and Common Gulls have dropped, and so have the Robins. The male Blackcap was again pottering about in the Mahonia bushes. Still no sign of a female and I suspect the male will move on when the weather warms up.
But another succesful and enjoyable morning at Lake Farm, I always go armed with a cup of Greggs take-away coffee and a sausage roll, and sit for the first hour on a bench just enjoying the quietness. Quite surprising really considering where Lake Farm is situated.
And following on from yesterdays post, my Mum has identified the pink berry tree that the Waxwings feed on as Sorbus 'Pink Pagoda'. Its classified as a small tree that grows to no more than 8 metres. Thanks Mum xxx