Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday stroll around Cranford Park

After the rain stopped this morning, I popped down to Cranford Park. My obsession with the Kestrels hasn't abated, and I really wanted confirmation that they are about to nest in the evergreen tree and not move on to another nest tree. I also wanted to spend some time at the Wrens nest site, and of course there are other nest sites that I wanted to check on.
The Stock Doves look like they have definitely accepted the hollow as their nest. While I watched today, the male popped out of it, closely followed by the female. You can see by the females feet, bits of dried grass (second photo) so I reckon they've been bringing in nesting material and making a new home for the imminent eggs.
The male Green Woodpecker was at his nest tree too. Apologies in advance for the dreadful photos, the light was pretty dismal today. The female was nearby watching. The hole is getting deeper, the male disappears more and more into it every time I see him.
The Robins nest site, discovered by Sue yesterday, is also very active with both birds bringing in great clumps of nesting material.
I don't normally bother taking any photos of Grey Squirrels, but this chap on the church wall was just posing for me nicely.
The grass was being mown on the extensive plain, and was attracting Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies. Some of the birds were carrying away the cut grass, probably to line their nests, but others were rooting around in it picking out grubs and insects.
Apologies again for the next photo of Mr Kes. He was sat up high near the nest tree, and again, the light was so dismal it was near on impossible to get a good shot.
However, I think I can 99% confirm the large evergreen is where they will nest. Twice today I saw the male bring food to the female (a food pass), plus another mating, and both actions were accompanied by lots of calling. Mrs Kes kept returning to the evergreen tree, while the male would settle nearby. I'm busy tomorrow, then back at work for four shifts, so wont be able to get back to the park until Saturday. I wonder if she'll start egg laying during this time.
Also seen today were several more singing Blackcaps, and two very good views of a female Sparrowhawk. She showed herself twice in the same tree, which is another tall evergreen fir behind the Wrens nest tree. I could see her through my bins, but couldn't get a decent photo. It's not the first time I've seen a Sprawk in these woods, a few weeks ago I managed a very poor photo of a male in the same area. Just never imagined Sprawks would be the natural choice of neighbour for the Kestrels.
Sadly I think the Wrens nest has been abandoned. Absolutely no sign of any Wren near the nest during my visit today, and whereas the male was constantly singing nearby over the last two days, today he was nowhere to be seen nor heard.
Song Thrushes aren't generally seen within the woods, but they can be seen around the Oaks in front of the Information Centre and in the Memorial Garden behind the church. I managed to photograph this one as I was leaving the woodland.
As it was such a dismal and dreary day, I took some photos of some of the colourful plants that are flowering now. The stunning Marsh Marigold below, adds colour to the wildlife pond.
Ragged Robin is starting to pop up everywhere, and is apparently a good indication of healthy soil.
and of course, the Bluebells. My first photo is one still covered in rain drops. In the Northern Woods, on the other side of the by-pass, there are some white Bluebells, which makes a great contrast.
So a somewhat grey dreary day and a bit blustery, but nice to see the Kestrels favouring the evergreen tree but sad that the Wrens have abandoned their chosen nest.

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