Saturday, 23 August 2014

Two confirmed patch ticks from Cranford Park

Following on from last Saturdays blog where Sue and I took a juvenile Hobby away from a naïve and un-informed young man who had found the bird on the woodland floor, and thought he was doing the right thing by keeping it captive in his bedroom, I was determined to get back to Cranford Park today to find more Hobbys.
Both Sue and Tony had been there during the week and seen Hobbys flying, and heard a lot of distinct calling.
It didn't take me long to find them this morning. Initially I could only see an adult flying around.

Not long after that I bumped into Tony and Audrey, and we split up to try and track down the location of the calling birds, which I hoped were more juveniles.
And they are. I found two juveniles in, ironically, our Kestrels old nest tree. They were incredibly vocal whenever one of the adults was near by, and after texting Tony and Audrey, we all managed to see both of the juveniles and saw adult birds coming in to feed them. Sadly pictures were hard to get as they were right at the top of the tree, but my two below are just to prove there are two juveniles.

Of course there really should be three juveniles. The one that we rescued last Saturday was taken to St Tiggywinkles in Buckinghamshire, to be assessed. I was hoping that although the bird had been in captivity and constant human contact for the previous 10-14 days, that there might be a chance it could eventually be re-released back in to the wild. Sadly it appears this may not happen. The bird is now in a large outdoor flying aviary with another rescued Hobby. The experts there guess-timate its age at  8 weeks.  Hopefully I will find out the final decision next week as to whether this beautiful little migrant can ever be released.
Back to its siblings though, after Tony and Audrey left I had a quick wander around the long grasses to see our Kestrel family. I could only find one adult and one juvenile today, so it does look like the other two juveniles have left the area. Wandering back to the Hobby tree, I spotted one out on a branch and very visible, so managed to fire off a couple of shots before it disappeared  from view again.
So it's confirmed. Hobbys have successfully nested at Cranford Park. I know that the last recorded time they nested there was five years ago, so it's really pleased me to see they are back. We have no idea what tree they chose to nest in, but hopefully the adults will return next early summer and I'll be able to monitor them more closely.
We also saw a Red Kite over today, and earlier this morning one was sat in a tree by the orchard. Two Sparrowhawks were also seen, one of the Kingfishers was whizzing about on the River Crane and I got two distant views of a weasel running across a path.
My other confirmed patch tick was this little butterfly.
I spotted it while I was waiting for a Hobby to show itself. Thinking it was a female Common Blue, I took a few snaps. When I got home and uploaded my photos, I immediately became suspicious. Something didn't look right. It looked more like a Brown Argus.
I had to get it identified to confirm my suspicions and the wonderful people on the Facebook page 'Butterflies UK' confirmed it. A female Brown Argus, Arica agestis.
To confirm this is a patch first for Cranford Park I need to email Alison Shipley who does the regular butterfly counts in the summer. But it is a first for me.
So all in all, a very successful and exiting day. Cranford Park never ceases to amaze me, considering where it is located. Heathrow airport one end, the M4 the other end, and the A312 all down one side. Yet the wildlife is incredible. We know now that Kestrels, Little Owls, Sparrowhawks and Hobbys breed on site. Buzzards and Red Kites are regular visitors. Both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers have been seen over the last two years as well. Yet it is such an under watched site.

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