GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT APRIL 2019
April was quite a pleasant month with plenty of warm, dry, sunny days ideal for taking a pleasant walk around the Reserve. On my first visit this month the Chiffchaffs had increased to at least 5 and just 1 Blackcap was heard. On the pond 6 Indian Runners still, but sadly, 2 days later one of the Rouen ducks had disappeared. We will never know what has happened to this bird. A dog walker told me she had seen a dog take a bird on the pond so obviously it is possible it was the Indian Runner. Hopefully the rest of them will not have such a sad ending.
On my next visit the Blackcaps had increased to at least 5 birds. As I walked to the pond, I watched 2 male Blackcap fighting as a female watched from the top of the brambles. She obviously was not impressed and soon flew off and left the unaware males to carry on battling. Another male was heard close to the brick drain. This is the third year he has been there so it must be a successful territory for him. A fourth male was singing by the entrance gate also. On the pond a Grey Heron was seen plus 3 Moorhen, several Mallard and only 8 Canada Geese although it is possible there were more on nests. Blackbirds were seen but only males as females probably on nest duties. The House Sparrows and Dunnocks were busy carrying food to their nests so it will not be long till young appear.
A Garden Warbler (pictured above) was heard and seen close to the car park. Their song is quite difficult to identify, as it sounds similar to the Blackcap, but the bird looks very different if you are lucky enough to see it. Plenty of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch as well as Robin. A single Ring-neck Parakeet was the only other bird of note.
The warm weather brought out plenty of Spring flowers and the Reserve was awash with splendid colours. Marsh Marigold in the wetter areas, and the first Lesser Celendine I have seen this year. Damsons starting to appear also. The first Butterflies of the year were plentiful including Comma, Peacock, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and a few Speckled Wood too. Plenty of insects on the wing with many Hoverfly around the Reserve.
Certainly a good month to take a pleasant walk on the Reserve.
GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT MARCH 2019
March arrived and most certainly came in like a lion and went out like a lamb!
Stormy weather continued for much of the month, with strong winds and heavy rain. Certainly not good weather for bird watching. On the sunnier days there was plenty of evidence to suggest the breeding season was well under way. Plenty of bird song with Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird and Robin all in full song. I was pleased to see 2 pairs of House Sparrow building nests, quite close to each other on the Carrs. It is amazing that these lovely little birds have started to nest in similar habitat to the look alike Dunnock. Sadly, new house building tecniques prevent these little charmers from breeding in roof spaces. Of course that is where their name has derived from. Years ago they were abundant but are now on the Red list as they are in vast decline. I remember flocks of 30+ visiting my garden but now I do not see more than 3 or 4.
Plenty of Canada Geese were on the pond as they continued to return. I saw a maximum of 12 but 17 were seen by Peter O and the final tally 21 was seen by Alan B. I doubt that our small pond can cope with more than a few pairs so I am sure not all of these birds will stay. The Indian Runner Ducks continued to thrive as they were receiving daily feeds from several members. A maximum of 6 Mallard and 4 Moorhen were seen, but no sightings of Little Grebe. Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch could be heard around the Reserve and a Treecreeper was seen by Peter O. There are at least 3 sitting Blackbirds around the Reserve, but my guess there are many more. Song Thrusn not so abundant as I guess they too are nesting. Plenty of Wrens could be seen as they sang and diplayed out in the open. It always amazes me how such a tiny bird can produce such a loud song! The Ring-neck Parakeet were still around but I did not see more than 2.
By months end the weather started to improve. Our first Spring arrival was a Chiffchaff on 24th. Peter O heard several on the 28th and also saw a Grey Wagtail. Plenty of Spring flowers appearing and quite a few Bees seen. Several Peacock butterfly also seen as the better weather continued.
GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2019
Unfortunately, my visits were very few in January due to bad weather and my unfortunate accident.
February certainly made up for it, as it turned out to be an exciting month! The weather was really Springlike, warm and sunny for many days, the birds were certainly thinking about the breeding season. A lot of activity as pairs of Blue Tits and Great Tits were seen chasing off rivals at their chosen nest boxes. Several Magpie pairs were rebuilding their nests they had used last year. Woodpigeons were busy also, as I saw them on all my visits, carrying twigs as they flew over the Reserve. A pair of Long-tailed Tits were busy adding tiny feathers to their well- hidden nest.
Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Robin and Dunnock were in full song. A pair of Bullfinch were displaying in the Orchard. The male looked resplendent as he sang from the top of an Apple tree. Chaffinch and Goldfinch were vocal and the wheezy song of the male Greenfinch could be heard in the Car Park and several other areas around the Reserve.
On the pond, 6 Moorhen were seen. A Kingfisher was in full view for quite a while as he was busy diving to catch a fish and got one each time. 6 Mallard were seen and 6 Canada Geese were there also. I was pleasantly surprised to see a gorgeous male Teal from the Dipping Pond platform and wondered if it was the same bird I had seen last year. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was drumming and a Nuthatch also heard in the area.
On February 22nd even more surprises to come! As I walked around the Top Field, I saw a distant large black bird heading towards the Reserve. As it got closer, and flew overhead, I saw it was a Cormorant! (see image above) I have never seen one of these birds at the Reserve before. A new bird for my Gatley Carrs list! On the Pond 12 Canada Geese , several were nesting. 6 Mallard here and 6 Moorhen several of which were also seen building nests.
A Buzzard was perched in the trees alongside the steps. It quickly took flight then circled over the Reserve calling. From the Dipping Pond I could see 4 birds preening on the bank. I could hardly believe my eyes as I realised they were Indian Runner Ducks! 2 Rouen and 2 Pekin. These birds do not fly so it is a mystery where they have come from. Yet another for my list which now stands at 57!
On my final visit of the month there was 6 Indian Runner Ducks. I must admit I worry for their future here.
A most enjoyable month proving it is well worth a visit to our lovely place and looking forward to the coming Spring.
Indian Runner Ducks