Sunday, 27 October 2013

The calm before the predicted storm at Cranford Park

A bit of a short and boring blog today. I was only at the park for four hours, and didn't see many birds to photograph. However I did get the best of todays weather. At 8.30am the moon was still visible in a clear blue sky.
After yesterdays news that there might be a Tawny owl around the north park woods on the other side of the M4, I checked the area as well as I could. The woods here are considerably smaller than the ancient Cranford Wood, but there are still plenty of trees to check. My luck was not there today, I failed to find the Tawny, but with all the leaves now falling, it was a very picturesque place to be.
Back in the man park, I checked the green bridge for a Kingfisher or Weasel, and failed to see both. The three Little Grebes are still there though, and just as shy as always. This is the view from the green bridge across the park, with the Heathrow control tower in the distance.
Now the trees are shedding their leaves, huge bunches of mistletoe are becoming visible. This huge mass is right by the car park.
What I didn't expect to find today, was a Common Darter, albeit a very washed out and tatty one. I only managed one quick snap before it took off again. I know its been a mild October, but I would have thought any dragonflies would now be long gone.
As I did expect though, there were more signs of freshly fruiting fungi.
Up by the headlands area one of the resident Buzzards soared over. Better photos of it today, after yesterdays grey gloomy skies.
In Cranford Wood itself, I again had nice views of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits, but no photos, those tiny Goldcrests don't sit still long enough !! Jays are very active at this time of year too, but again no photos. I also saw a Kestrel fly over, and flushed a large female Sparrowhawk from the Ice House copse. So not a bad few hours at the park before the temperature dropped a bit, the wind picked up a bit, and my coffee flask became empty.
An autumn storm, nick-named St Jude after the patron saint of depression and lost causes, is due to hit the local area first thing tomorrow morning. I predict a few trees will come down in the woods, so any early morning dog-walkers, please take heed. Sadly due to work commitments, I cant get back to the park until next weekend, to see what, if any, damage has been done. Because of where Cranford Park is situated, you don't need a storm to fell any old trees, just a night of high winds will do that. I hope the damage wont be too bad at the park. Call me sentimental, call me soppy, but I love the old trees in Cranford Wood, and don't really want to see any more come down.
Finally, on the door to the Secret Garden, there is a list of forthcoming events taking place in the park. I wont be able to make the Halloween Spooky Spectacular, but it looks like its going to be great, with separate 'shows' for the kids and adults. Booking is essential for this event. At the bottom of todays blog post, I have added a link to the Cranford Park Friends website, which tells you more about the Halloween special, and details on the Autumn Colours walk on the 9th November (which I will hopefully be attending).


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