Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Four in one. Cranford Park, Staines Reservoir, Staines Moor and Lake Farm

Busy day today, and my legs will be confirming that tomorrow when they ache.
I started off at Cranford Park. Before meeting Sue and Jasper I had a brief check on the nest sites. No sign of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers though I did hear one of them calling from the tree later on. Also no sign of the Stock Doves, Kestrels nor Wrens, but it was only a brief check so that's not to say they're not around. At the Green Woodpecker nest tree, 'The Battle Of The Green Birds' appears to be continuing. A marmite Parakeet was checking out the nest hole, but not getting close enough to actually put its head inside. Does this mean there is a Green Woodpecker already inside ?
Or is a Parakeet in there ? As I watched two Jackdaws settled on one of the branches and the Parakeet went for them......
As I left the Parakeet remained on the branch, but a Green Woodpecker had landed just below the nest hole. An uneasy truce of some kind ? Only time will tell.
Parakeet at top right, Woodpecker at bottom left
I met up with Sue and Jasper shortly afterwards, with Sue advising me she'd seen the Little Owl again, in the same tree she had spotted it last week. As is the way with Little Owls, once you make eye contact they tend to fly off, and Sue lost sight of it in one of the copses.
From Cranford Park, we made a brief visit to Staines Reservoir. High-lights of our visit were two Oystercatchers and a Common Sandpiper. No photos of either from me. To see any decent birds here, you really need a scope. Other birds seen included hundreds of Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Coots, Canada Goose, Mute Swans and this obliging pair of Great Crested Grebes.
From there we made our way to Staines Moor. Our last visit two months ago was when the moor was quite flooded, so this time it was nice to able to walk around more of the site, although we still didn't cover all of it. Birds seen but not photographed included Sedge Warbler, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Wren, Garden Warbler, Redshank, Lapwing, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Little Egret, Skylark, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Heron, and several calling displaying Meadow Pipit, including the one below that kept going back to the same bridge.
From there we made a brief visit to Lake Farm, a place once so close to my heart but which just fills me with sadness whenever I visit now. The eyesore that is the new school looks uglier and uglier every time. Birds seen on this brief check included Whitethroats galore, they really were every where, lots of Linnets, a male Reed Bunting, and at least six Skylarks.
Common Whitethroat
So although a tiring day, it was a very interesting one. Sue and I used some colourful language several times, especially when both the Sedge and Garden Warblers weren't as obliging as the Mipits at Staines Moor, but it was a good day.
Butterflies seen were Peacock and Orange-tip at Cranford Park (photos of both below) plus several Small Tortoiseshells at Lake Farm.
tatty Peacock
female Orange-Tip
Early this morning at Cranford Park, I saw this very still Ladybird. On closer inspection it looked to have something attached to it. I posted my photo on the Facebook page 'Insects of Britain and Northern Europe', and this is what the wonderful enthusiasts on there told me. The Ladybird has been parasitised by the braconid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae, the brown thing is the wasp cocoon.  
The Ladybird Survey group are asking anyone who has sightings of this, to record them on their website. The link is
So last but by no means least, todays photo of Jasper the bird-dog having a roll in the sun....

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