Monday, 17 March 2014

Brief blog from Cranford Park this afternoon

I fitted in a quick two hour visit to Cranford Park today (and yes that is quick for me considering I often spend between eight-ten hours down there normally).
 First port of call was straight to the Kestrels nest tree. I perched on one of the logs nearby and within minutes they mated on a tree just behind the nest tree. Again, like two days ago, it was the male calling that drew my attention to where they were. I hung around for a while until the female flew back to the nest. Half an hour later the male done a food pass. He bought in what looked like a mouse, the female took it from him and flew out of the nest with her 'present' and ate it while the male sat on the branch next to the nest. As they are still actively mating, I'm guessing she hasn't laid any eggs yet, but it shouldn't be long before she does. I've attached a link below to the RSPB site. It's full of interesting facts about Kestrels.
 I also checked on the Green Woodpecker nest tree. Again within minutes of settling myself on my favourite log, I located the male on the tree as I did two days ago. He seems to be favouring a spot a bit further up than last years nest hole, and whilst I watched he was making good progress on making a new hole. I couldn't see the female at first, then a dog walker passed by and flushed her from a tree to my right. She briefly joined the male before they both flew off into some trees at the back. Green Woodpeckers are only seen in pairs around this time. For the rest of the year they are generally seen alone, but they always know when another is nearby. The woods were full of their distinctive 'yaffle' call today. I'm guess-timating there are at least four pairs active, just in Cranford Woods, let alone by the river or on in the woods the other side of the by-pass.
Chancing my luck I went to the spot where a Weasel ran across my foot two days ago. I hung around for at least forty minutes but saw and heard nothing. Just as I was about to leave, I heard a Kingfisher and saw it briefly perch on the other side of the bridge. It was there for just a few seconds before it flew off. That's got me thinking again about where they are coming from. I haven't seen them on the usual stretch of the river between the two bridges, for quite some time now. Today the Kingfisher took off up the river towards the airport, which really surprises me as that stretch turns into a rambling brook with short banks, which doesn't strike me as a prime Kingfisher nesting site.
No photos of the Kestrels or Green Woodys today, I was giving my shoulder a break, but I did manage to photograph my first Red Admiral butterfly of the year, plus some fairy-tale like mushrooms.

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