Sunday, 4 December 2016

Patch tick for Cranford Park

It was a very frosty start at Cranford Park this morning.....
but as the shadows disappeared, the frost melted away in the sunshine.
There's hardly any fungi left now, which is to be expected at this time of year.
The Yellow Stagshorn below is definitely on it's last legs....
but I did find a new patch of Candlesnuff fungi....
and I'll keep checking it to see how far it spreads.
The most prolific bird species seen today were the Blackbirds. There were loads of them. There were males chasing each other in the tree tops, and both sexes rooting through the fallen leaves for tasty titbits....
I spent most of todays visit loitering by the River Crane.
I'm glad I did now as I spotted a bird I have never ever seen at Cranford Park before.
I was standing on the iron bridge looking down towards the stone bridge, when movement caught my eye on the right hand side. There's a very small inlet there which is overgrown and leads up to the path on the other side of the river. I could see a flash of white under tail, and raised my binoculars for a better look fully expecting to see a Moorhen. But it was a beautiful stunning Water Rail. Smaller and slimmer than the Moorhen, the Water Rail is a fairly common but highly secretive inhabitant of freshwater wetlands. It has chestnut-brown and black upperparts, grey face and underparts and black-and-white barred flanks, and a long red bill. Difficult to see in the breeding season but it is relatively easier to find in winter, when it is also more numerous and widespread. Although usually secretive they can become confiding but are still far more often heard than seen. They have an amazing call that sounds like a small piglet.
I've seen Water Rails before but usually in reed beds around lakes, not skulking on the edge of a muddy small river !!
I saw it twice but couldn't get a photo on both occasions, and despite lingering around for another hour, the bird didn't re-emerge. But what a nice patch tick !
I saw the Kingfishers again, but no photos today. There are definitely two birds, a male and a female, and they were both flying out from under the M4 viaduct.
There were also two Little Egret present today. One was flying around overhead whilst this one perched in a convenient tree....
Also seen and not photographed were five Goldcrests, two Green Woodpeckers and one Common Buzzard.
I noticed on my last visit that there were a couple of shopping trolleys dumped by the entrance to the park. Today there were more. I really don't get what satisfaction someone gets from throwing these in the river. Does it make an extra large splashing noise to keep the smallest of brains entertained ??
Along with the three in the river below, there were another two left on the track...
Hopefully a clean up volunteer session will be held soon, and we can get these eye sores dragged out of the river.
As always though, it takes a lot to spoil my visit, and I enjoyed my three hour visit.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely blog as usual Wendy. Thinking of visiting soon, maybe even next weekend. My only other visit was to see that wonderful Pied Flycatcher that you found some years ago but I didn't look around on that occasion. Frank