Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentines day for the Ring-necked Parakeets at Cranford Park

Woke up to rain but soon the dark clouds cleared and that glorious yellow orb, called the sun, appeared with a few fluffy bits of cloud. Expecting the temperature to be like yesterday, I wrapped up warm, but within 15 minutes of being outside I was sweating so for the first time bird-watching this year, I didn't have my hat on today.

I hadn't been to Cranford Park for over a month and I wanted to see how the woodland birds were doing. I also hadn't seen my friend Mac (the parks Ranger) for some time, so off I trotted.

First thing I heard after entering the main part of the park, was the sound of chain saws. So much for a nice peaceful day then, I thought, and as I came around the corner of my favourite walk way I found Mac and his fellow workers cutting up this tree. It was one of the oldest beech trees in the ancient woodland and three of them in total had come down over night. It wasn't a stormy night but Cranford Park ancient woods are situated between an area of flat expanse and the M4/A312 junction so if a wind blows against from Heathrow towards the main roads, its Cranford Park that normally counts the cost. Only one of the trees was rotten at the base, the other two were healthy but their root span wasn't as large as some of the others. Had this tree fallen else where in the woods, Mac and his crew would have left it as nature intended. However this beast had cut right across part of the ha-ha boundary wall and the path next to it. It will be cut up into smaller manageable pieces and left in log piles around the park. The picture below doesn't give credit to how huge the tree was. This is the top of the tree branches.

The top of the tree

The massive trunk across the path and ha-ha. The top of the tree is to the left.
In the above photo you can make out a box near the centre bottom. This was one of the parks many bat-boxes, this particular one having been attached to the fallen beech tree. When Mac opened the box, he found a colony of bees so has called the local bee keeper to come and collect them so they can be re-homed.
The rest of the woodland was somewhat dominated by the Ring-necked Parakeets squawking. I've started calling these birds 'Marmites' because you either love them or you hate them. The group below had found one hole, and were squabbling over it.

This pair were celebrating Valentines day

The cheeky Marmite above had found last years Green Woodpeckers nest site. I was a little sad when I found this, as I'd read that Green Woodpeckers re-use the previous years nest site. I had some fantastic views of the Greenys at this nest last year, and managed to photograph two of the chicks fledging. On a better note, this lone Marmite didn't hang around for too long, so I'm hoping next months visit will show the Greenys back in residence.

This Song Thrush was also alone, but hopefully not for long, as I counted a whooping ten solo birds on site today. There was a lot of Greater Spotted Woodpecker activity too, lots of trios and duos chasing each other around the tops of the trees calling, and I heard two individuals drumming. Not one photo though. Got about hundred blurred pics but not one in focus.
The high-light of my day was right at the end, when I was really thinking was I going to see nothing more than squabbling Marmites. Sat down on one of favourite benches beneath the oldest oak on site, and happened to glance movement out of my eye. There shuffling up and down the oak, was this very photogenic Nuthatch.


This photo is not upside down

 For some reason Blogger is not being kind to me tonight and although I can add more photos of the Nuthatch, they are popping up where I don't want them, so after two glasses of wine and 90 minutes of trying to add more photos, Ive given up. There is a link below to my Flickr page should anyone want to see more of this lovely little bird.

There was also no sign of the Little Owls after last years success, nor did I spot any Kestrels, which I was very surprised at. Maybe next months visit will change that.

Cheers :)

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