I haven't been able to get over to Cranford Park for the past few days, but I managed to get there for a few hours this afternoon.
For regular followers of my blog, this is the nest site update:-
There were no signs of either of the Kestrels. To me that indicates the female is almost certainly incubating her eggs now, high up in the evergreen canopy. The male was probably snoozing nearby. It must be hard for him at the moment as he's hunting for food for the both of them.
Despite visiting the Great Spotted Woodpecker nest tree three times this afternoon, I did not see either the male nor the female. I'm not overly concerned though, they could have been inside the hole or around the woods feeding. I will keep checking this tree.
I waited at the Wren nest site watchpoint for over half an hour, and saw no Wrens entering or leaving the nest. The nest is now very well camouflaged by ivy and brambles, but I'm still not sure if the female chose that nest or not. Again, I will keep checking this site.
The Stock Dove hollow also appears to be empty, but I have seen a pair foraging amongst the grass by the Oaks. They may have abandoned the hollow, it is fairly low down to be honest, and quite open to predators.
'The Battle of The Green Birds' looks like its been won by the Green Woodpecker, rather than the Parakeets. I found the male sitting on his usual branch by the nest hole. No sign of the female, but she could well be sitting on eggs by now. Sorry for the dreadful photo below, it was the best I could do without Mr Green spotting me.
Elsewhere around the park the most recent arrivals, the Common Whitethroats, are starting to pair up. I found two birds diving in and out of one bramble patch, and another pair further up the Headland area. At the moment they are being quite obliging and perching for a photo or three, but that will change once their chicks have hatched, and the best glimpse we'll get of them then is quick ones as they skulk in the undergrowth for food.
In one of the many Holly bushes in the woods, I heard the distinct call of a Long-tailed Tit, then more calls, then more calls. The air was just alive with loads of Long-tailed Tits calling. After much scanning with my binoculars I located this wonderful sight. At least fifteen newly fledged juvenile birds all lined up on one branch. They couldn't see me, so I managed to grab a few shots, but they don't do the scene justice. I have never witnessed this before, and I didn't dare try to move for a better view in case I spooked the little uns. After a few minutes they all dispersed in different directions, but one stayed behind a little longer than the others.
The nest box in front of the Information Centre is now occupied. Two years ago Great Tits nested in it. Last year Blue Tits got there first. So I was waiting to see who would nest in it this year.
The Great Tits have re-claimed it back. As I watched, both birds were going in and out of the nest box, so another new nest for me to observe over the next few weeks.
Up by the river I saw no Kingfishers again, but I was only there for a short while. I did find this Blue Tit though, who had discovered a feather stuck to a branch, and was systematically ripping it up.
Also no signs of the Little Owls. I scanned both copses, and the suspected nest tree, but not one sighting. Again, I'm not overly concerned. Our Little Owls are often only seen when the owlets fledge and perch in the Oaks.
Butterflies seen today were the usual sunbathing Peacocks, squabbling Speckled Woods, Green-veined Whites, male and female Orange-tips, male and female Holly Blues, and a couple of Small Tortoiseshell, including the obliging beauty below.
So a very pleasant walk around the woods and river. Everywhere is getting greener and lusher, the bluebells are just going over and the first juvenile woodland birds are starting to appear.