Thursday, 25 April 2013

Warblers, Wheatears and a Whinchat at Lake Farm

What a glorious day, even the breeze was warm, so after four days cooped up at work I had to get out and about. My plans were to find two geocaches along the canal in Hayes, then have a wander around Lake Farm. Despite a lengthy 40 minutes searching for the first geocache, I gave up and went straight in to LF. It was far too warm to be rooting around in the undergrowth !! I normally don't give up so easily, but I could hear so many birds singing from LF, that I just had to go and find them lol.
My first find was a beautiful male Blackcap singing his heart out. A female was hovering nearby, but she was too shy to get her photo taken.
All together on site I found three males singing, all with females nearby.
Their song is so colourful, it really filled the air.
Whitethroats were abundant. I counted 11 individuals today all over the site. Some were flying high up singing away, then coming back down to perch to continue their song. They weren't as easy to photograph as the Blackcap, but I grabbed a few distant shots.
Up by the BMX track, I found a park regular, Roy. He was a great friend of Peter Naylor, and still comes out daily to walk around Lake Farm and Stockley Park. Last years Sparrowhawks appear to have chosen a new nest site according to Roy. He's pointed me in the right direction so I will have to go back and have a look soon. Roy also showed me the tree where a Great Spotted Woodpecker has been seen regularly. My friend Tony had also mentioned this to me. Its quite a big thing for Lake Farm, as most of the habitat is open grassland with a few shrubs. There aren't many old trees around. Sure enough, excavating a hole in one of the old willows, we watched a male diving in and out of a hole throwing out all sorts of debris. Later on I went back to check on him, and was delighted to see a female checking out the hole. So Roy and Tony, well done on finding that nest site, it looks like we'll be having baby woodys at Lake Farm soon. I doubt there will be any photos though, as the male has chosen such a great spot which will soon be covered by leaves.
Following one of the paths from the BMX track to the hedgerows, I saw two birds settle in front of me. A quick look in my bins confirmed they were two female Northern Wheatears. A male settled briefly with them, but flew off as I got my camera focused.
This is a first for me at Lake Farm. I know Peter used to regularly see them here, and Roy had mentioned he'd seen five last Monday.
I carried on my way to the hedgerow to see if the Reed Buntings were around. Considering I had such great numbers a few months ago, I saw just a handful today.
Skylarks were flying and singing and doing their wonderful sky dance, which is almost impossible to photograph. Whilst looking for these, I caught sight of something small, colourful and heavily marked, settle on a shrub nearby. The sun was against me, and I only managed to fire off two shots before the bird flew off. I could not re-locate it, and wasn't even entirely sure what it was. When I got home I e-mailed the photos to my friend Corinna, who confirmed they are of a male Whinchat. Photos not great, but enough as a record shot for me.
Apart from birds, the site was inundated with bees and butterflies.
by the canal, I found bluebells in flower
Holly Blue
My friend Tony has kindly put a link on his blog, to mine. So I'd better repay the favour lol.
 Tony is a local too, and we tend to cover the same two patches, Lake Farm and Cranford Park. Tony also goes to Otmoor on a regular basis.
Other great news, is that Tom and Charlie, the Fulham and Barnes peregrines nesting on
Charing Cross Hospital, have successfully hatched three of their four eggs.
Two hatched on the 23rd April, and one hatched in the early hours of this morning.
At time of writing, we are still waiting for the last eyass to appear. Link to their web cam below.

1 comment:

  1. I just love this post Wendy.... I feel as though I was there too :-) great pics again!!