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Worth Park Friends
Bird Table Bird Photo Gallery Bird Blog 2017
Our members Tom and Chris Howard-Jones wrote:
Sunday, January 29th Worth Park - RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 Six   of   us   (Jan   and   Irwin;   Ian   and   Sue   and   Tom   &   Chris)   did   the   count   for   the park.    It    was    grey    and    drizzly    and    there    was    still    ice    on    the    lake. Nevertheless,   we   enjoyed   the   walk   and   the   challenge   of   counting   the   birds on   the   water.   We   saw   some   8   species.   The   highlights   were:   siskins,   grey heron   and   the   redwings .   As   is   the   way   with   these   surveys   we   did   not   see some   of   our   regular   birds.   Our   results   have   been   sent   in   to   the   RSPB   and   to BirdTrack.
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Bird Blog 2016
Redwing Photo source: Wikipedia Commons
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Thursday, January 5th New Bird to Start the New Year   Even   though   the   sky   was   blue   and   the   sun   was   shining,   most   of   the   lake   was still   frozen   at   one   thirty.   All   the   water   birds   were   gathered   in   the   small   open areas    at    the    northern    end.    Among    the    usual    ducks,    geese,    coot    and moorhen   there   was   one   male   Shoveler.    This   is   a   new   bird   for   our   park   list. The   winter   seems   to   be   a   good   time   to   find   new   species.   We   have   found   one on   3   of   the   last   4   walks.   Other   nice   sightings   were:   a   group   of   Siskin   in   the alder trees; several Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest.
Shoveler pair
Shoveler pair Photo submitted by Tom Howard-Jones
Monday, February 20th A   Little   Egret   was   found   on   the   lake   by   Ingrid   Payne   on   18th   February   2017 and   she   took   two   lovely   photographs.   It   was   still   present   on   the   Pulham   rock island    making    a    very    Japanese    picture    on    Monday    20th    February.    It    is showing    the    fine    feathers    of    its    breeding    plumage    which    were    in    such demand for hats that their existence was threatened in Victorian times. The   Black-headed   Gulls   are   starting   to   get   their   black   heads.   Some   have fully   changed   already.   They   are   displaying   and   beginning   to   think   about moving to their nesting sites. Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Little Egret, photo by Tom Howard-Jones
Saturday, March 11th We   set   off   early   hoping   to   catch   the   birds   excited   by   the   coming   of   spring. Sadly,   it   was   very   grey   and   misty   so   we   were   challenged   to   identify   those that   were   up   and   about.   We   had   another   new   bird   for   our   park   list.   It   was only   Greylag   Goose ,   there   were   three   of   them;   but   a   new   bird   is   always welcome.    There    were    two    Treecreepers    diligently    exploring    the    large limbless   tree   trunk   by   the   tennis   court.   A   pair   of   Great   Crested   Grebes   are together   and   let   us   hope   that   they   will   nest   again   this   year.   Most   of   the Black-headed   Gulls   have   gone   -   probably   to   breeding   sites   elsewhere.   A passing   dog   walker   told   us   that   the   Muscovy   Duck   is   called   Quackers   and that   it   used   to   live   in   a   garden   nearby. Apparently,   it   will   respond   to   its   name (if   you   fancy   calling).   A   pair   of   Dunnocks   were   displaying   and   singing   in   a blossom   laden   bush   -   lovely.   We   discovered   that   at   least   one   of   the   Canada Geese   will   feed   out   of   your   hand.   The   flowers   and   the   blooms   on   the   shrubs and   trees   are   looking   great.   As   we   were   leaving   the   sun   came   out   -   we should have started later.
Egyptian Geese Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Firecrest Source:
Greylag Goose Photo source:
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Sunday, April 2nd The   brood   of   11   baby   Egyptian   Geese   are   all   still   present   and   correct.   They were   sticking   very   close   together   with   their   parents   as   they   navigated   among the   aggressive   Canada   Geese.   There   were   no   gulls   at   all.   They   must   be away   at   their   breeding   sites.   There   were   no   Great   Crested   Grebes   either. That   may   be   a   temporary   absence;   but   it   does   look   like   they   might   not   be together   and   breeding   this   year.   There   are   at   least   2   Moorhen   nests   on   the edges   of   the   islands.   A   pair   of   Coot   look   like   they   are   nesting   under   the overhanging   branches   on   the   main   island   where   the   Grebes   usually   nest.   No spring   migrants   yet   -   but   the   warm   weather   will   be   bringing   them   soon   we hope.
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Monday, March 27th It   was   a   lovely   sunny   day   for   a   walk   around   the   park   but   we   were   a   bit   late starting   to   catch   the   best   of   the   birds.   Several   regulars   were   noticeable   by their   absence. Appropriately   there   is   a   new   Crow's   nest   at   the   top   of   an Alder tree   on   the   bank   of   the   lake.   We   only   saw   one   gull,   a   Herring   Gull,   which flew   in   but   did   not   stay   long.   We   only   saw   one   Great   Crested   Grebe.   We hope   the   other   half   of   the   pair   is   still   around.   But   it   looks   like   some   Coots   are starting   to   nest   in   the   Grebe's   usual   nest   site. As   we   were   about   to   leave   the lake,   the   pair   of   Egyptian   Geese   appeared   with   their   new   brood   of   eleven goslings   (see   picture).   The   terrapins   are   starting   to   emerge   and   soak   up   the sun.
Egyptian Goose Gosling Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Friday, April 14th On   the   spur   of   the   moment   we   set   off   around   the   park   at   08:30   on   a   glorious spring   morning. There   was   bird   song   all   around   us   -   even   I   could   hear   it. The flock   of   Egyptian   Geese   goslings   is   still   10   strong. They   have   grown   and   only one   has   been   lost   so   far.   We   found   a   small   family   of   3   very   small   Mallard ducklings   trying   to   avoid   the   conflict   as   their   mother   was   being   harassed   by 2   drakes.      No   sign   of   the   Great   Crested   Grebes   unfortunately.   A   Canada Goose   is   sitting   on   a   nest   on   an   island   and   Coots   are   on   a   nest   where   the Grebes   used   to   be.   We   extended   our   walk   into   Grattons   Park   and   through the   tunnel   beyond   the   spur   road.   At   the   fishing   lake   we   found   two   Great Crested   Grebes   -   one   with   a   baby   on   its   back.   Maybe   our   birds   have   moved across   the   road?   We   also   saw   a   Pied   Wagtail;   Great   Spotted   Woodpecker and   Jay.   Blackcaps   were   singing   in   a   couple   of   locations   but   we   did   not   see them. A   Grey   Heron   and   a   Common   Buzzard   were   circling   over   Worth   Park. Pretty   Speckled   Wood   butterflies   were   resting   in   the   sunshine.   The   three hours   flew   by   and   we   were   very   hungry   by   the   time   we   got   home.   A   great start to the Easter Weekend.
Moorhen Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Sunday, May 7th, 6 a.m. About   30   people   braved   the   early   start   to   enjoy   the   walk   on   International   Dawn   Chorus   Day    led   by   Tom   Forward.   He   is   an   excellent   leader   with superpower   hearing,   great   identification   skills,   accurate   bird   impressions   and an   infectious   sense   of   humour.   When   we   started   several   Blackbirds   and Woodpigeons   were   in   full   song.   Tom   found   birds   for   us   while   entertaining and   educating   us   with   birding   tips   and   stories.   The   highlights   included:   a family   of   Egyptian   Geese   with   10   growing   goslings;   a   family   of   Canada Geese   with   4   small   goslings;   a   pair   of   Great   Crested   Grebes   displaying; Blackcap;   Goldcrest;   Treecreeper;   Wren;   Long-tailed   Tits   and   the   star   find   a Firecrest .   This   is   a   new   bird   for   our   park   list   and   an   exciting   discovery   for an    urban   park .   Tom   heard   the   high-pitched   call   from   some   distance   and then   found   the   bird   which   came   out   to   give   us   close   views.   After   coffee   and croissants   to   warm   up, Tom   showed   us   the   insects   from   his   moth   trap   that   he had   run   the   night   before.   The   more   attractive   moths   included:   Brimstone; Clouded   Border   and   Hebrew   Character.   There   were   several   Cockchafers,   or Maybugs,   that   woke   up   on   volunteers’   hands   before   they   extended   their antennae   and   wings   to   lumber   up   over   Ridley’s   Court.      As   we   left   the   park another   Goldcrest   flitted   on   a   bush   on   the   corner   and   gave   us   a   lovely farewell show. A full list of the birds seen and heard is in the sightings table .
Great Crested Grebes Photo: Ingrid Payne
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Friday, June 2nd My    visit    started    at    midday.    Not    a    good    time    for    seeing    birds;    but    it    is interesting   to   see   the   results   of   a   range   of   visit   times. The   weather   was   warm and   sunny   until   a   big   black   cloud   moved   in   and   the   heavens   opened.   The Egyptian   Goose   family   is   still   12   strong.   The   youngsters   are   looking   more and   more   like   their   parents   in   size   and   plumage.   There   were   three   broods   of Canada   Goslings   with   groups   of   2   small;   4   medium   and   5   large   juveniles each   with   a   pair   of   adults.   Blue   Tits   are   using   a   nest   box   on   the   bank   of   the lake.   They   are   coming   and   going   frequently   and   seem   to   be   feeding   babies. The   pair   of   Great   Crested   Grebes   are   still   together.   They   are   displaying   and working   on   a   nest   site   in   a   very   desultory   manner.   It   looks   like   they   are   not going to build a nest any time soon - pity.
Canada Goslings Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Saturday, May 20th It   was   a   lovely   morning.   The   dark   green   cedar   trees   shone   against   the   clear blue of the sky. Another   birder   has   reported   seeing   a   Firecrest   in   the   park   last   year.   Of course we looked again - but no luck. The   young   Egyptian   Geese   are   still   10   in   number   and   are   already   nearly   as big   as   their   parents. They   are   getting   their   first   adult   feathers   and   are   looking more   grown   up   -   apart   from   their   fluffy   heads. They   swam   up   to   us   looking   to be   fed.   But   they   had   the   good   sense   to   jump   away   from   the   out-of-control dog   that   chased   them.A   crèche   of   Canada   Geese   was   gathered   on   the   bank of the lake. Among the dozen adults were two groups of goslings. One group of 4 were smaller and more yellow. The other group of 5 were older, larger and greyer. There are now two Great Crested Grebes and they seem to be paired. They were displaying to each other and starting nest building. In the overhanging branches of the trees on the main island where the Grebes nested last year, there are now two occupied Coot nests. The Grebes look like they are trying to build a nest slightly away from the Coots on the tips of the hanging branches further out from the island. Let's hope they succeed. It was good to see Swifts for the first time this year. Two were catching insects over the park all the time we were there. The flowers in the raised beds at the Ridley's Court entrance to the gardens are looking very fine. We admired the weeding done by the gardening group. The irises in the formal bed and the Yellow Flags in the lake are lovely too.  A full list of the birds seen is given in the latest "Bird Table"  on our web site. The records have also been entered into the BirdTrack and the iRecord databases for national use. Tom Forward recommended, during our Dawn Chorus Walk, that we start using iRecord. It is easy to use and looks helpful.
Chiffchaff 5/7/2017 Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Midges 5/7/2017 Photo: Tom Howard-Jones
Wednesday, July 5th We   went   round   the   park   in   the   early   morning   to   avoid   the   coming   heat   of   the day.   It   is   not   often   you   can   say   that   in   England.   The   Grey   Heron    and   the swarm   of   midges   were   welcoming   the   warmth   of   the   rising   sun.   It   turned   out to    be    a    "flying    ant    day"    with    mass    emergences    on    the    centre    court    at Wimbledon as well as on our back lawn. The   meadows   and   the   flower   beds   looked   lovely   -   rich   with   luxurious   growth. It   seems   that   someone   has   removed   litter   from   the   edges   of   the   lake.   Thank you   very   much   to   whoever   did   that.   The   wild   teasels   are   in   flower.   The grasses   look   pretty   and   the   smell   of   the   buddleia   was   everywhere.   We wondered   if   the   garden   judge   would   have   appreciated   the   wild   beauty   of   our park. The   two   Great   Crested   Grebes    were   still   present.   But   they   do   not   seem   to be   nesting.   Maybe   they   have   given   it   a   miss   this   year.   The   different   ages   of Canada    Goslings     are    growing;    the    oldest    ones    now    have    their    adult plumage   and   fuzzy   versions   of   their   parents   colouring.   There   were   young Coots    and   Mallard   Ducks ;   several   juvenile   Blue   and   Great   Tits    and   a family of Pied Wagtails . A   Chiffchaff   was   calling   from   the   top   of   a   tree.   Swifts   were   hunting   over   the lake. Our   reward   for   starting   early   was   our   first   sighting   of   a   Kingfisher    for   many months.   It   flew   across   the   lake   and   around   the   largest   island.   Sadly   we   could not find it again. We did not see the family of Egyptian Geese or the Muscovy Duck. Nevertheless it was a great start to the day.
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Redwing, photo Wikipedia Commeons
Thursday, August 3rd,  08:30 to 10:30 Having   read   the   reports   of:   toxins   in   the   lake;   birds   being   taken   into   care   and birds   dying   -   we   were   not   looking   forward   to   what   we   might   find.   It   was   not promising   weather   for   finding   small   birds.   Yesterday   had   been   very   wet   and stormy. This morning there was a brisk breeze with threats of more rain. The   lake   was   the   most   deserted   we   had   ever   seen   it.   Only   a   hand   full   of Canada   Geese   and   no   young   ones.   After   a   lot   of   searching   we   only   found one Mallard and two Moorhen. No Coots at all. The   two   Great   Crested   Grebes    are   together   and   at   long   last   one   of   them   is sitting   on   a   nest.   Let   us   hope   that   any   babies   have   enough   time   to   get   ready for   the   winter   and   that   they   are   not   affected   by   the   problems   in   the   lake. Their   nest   is   close   to   one   of   the   platforms;   so   if   they   hatch   young   we   should have a great vantage point. A   young   Grey   Heron   flew   in   pursued   noisily   by   a   Herring   Gull.   It   stood morosely in the shallows by the biggest island. For   a   while   it   seemed   that   we   were   going   to   record   the   lowest   ever   count   for the Park. But as the time passed we started to see a few more birds. There   were   several   Goldcrests   flitting   about   together.   Always   great   to   see but not often so easily. A   Treecreeper   was   working   its   way   up   two   large   trees   close   to   the   path around the lake. As   we   were   moving   away   from   the   south   end   of   the   lake   at   the   end   of   our circuit,    a    Kingfisher    whistled    and    flew    through    the    trees    just    above    our heads.   We   tracked   him   as   we   went   back   along   the   eastern   path   and   finally had good views as he sat on one of the fishing platforms at the north end. Large    carp    were    feeding    in    the    shallow    water    and    jumping    with    loud splashes. Let   us   hope   that   fresh   rain   water   and   the   winter   will   see   a   recovery   in   the conditions and a return of our missing birds.
Shoveler pair
Kingfisher Photo source:
Monday, September 4th,  14:30 to 16:30 We   made   a   very   slow   progress   through   the   park   and   around   the   lake   during the   afternoon. There   were   a   few   more   birds   on   the   water,   including:   about   20 Canada   Geese;   6   Mallard;   2   Moorhens   and   a   Black-headed   Gull.   The   water level   is   still   very   low.   But   hopefully   the   quality   is   improving.   The   pair   of   Great Crested   Grebes   were   together.   But   they   have   abandoned   their   nest   and there   is   no   sign   of   any   young   ones. To   support   the   idea   that   "you   never   know what   you   might   see";   two   men   threw   a   model   speed   boat   into   the   lake   and proceeded   to   race   it   around   in   impressive   manoeuvres.   We   were   delighted when   it   got   stuck   in   the   lily   pads.   Sadly   they   managed   to   wriggle   it   free. After a   few   more   fast   laps   they   left.   We   saw   a   Grey   Wagtail    (the   one   with   the yellow   belly).   This   is   a   new   addition   for   our   park   list   -   though   it   has   been seen   by   others   before.   Mixed   flocks   of   small   birds   are   forming   and   one   we watched   contained:      Goldcrest;   Great   Tit;   Blue   Tit   and   Nuthatch.   A   flock   of Starlings   is   using   the   tall   trees   and   the   roof   of   the   flats   -   maybe   we   will   get our   own   murmuration? A   list   of   the   birds   we   saw   is   included   in   the   Bird Table. The    Bat    Event    on    Monday    evening    was    brilliant.    The    views    of    the Daubenton's   Bats   flying   low   over   the   water   in   the   lake   were   great   and   a   first for   us.   On   our   way   back   to   the   centre   we   found   another   one   hunting   over   the water in the fountain - you never know what you might see.
Shoveler pair
Grey Wagtail 7/9/2017 Photo: Tom Howard-Jones