Wildlife watching requires patience

by Simon Knight

One of the special features about the park – or any wild place – is that if you go there at the correct time and have the patience to stay still, be quiet and just really look and listen, you will find that there is life all around you.

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Bird table ID

The header picture is a male chaffinch (CC0).

Bullfinch

Bullfinches are regular visitors to the park. Despite the male’s glorious colouring, they are quiet, retiring types, rarely seen; this picture was taken early one Saturday morning when the park was pretty much empty of visitors.

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There is a pair of spotted flycatchers hunting from the hollow oak tree in the corner of the little triangular field between Simpsons and Fiveways. Keep an eye out for them; they are an increasingly rare sight.

Spotted flycatchers are on the RSPB’s Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern

Red kites again

Message from Ian, Sunday April 18th:

A Red Kite appeared over Sleepers Field and settled briefly on top of the Oak in the hedge between Sleepers and Cornfield before continuing towards Lambrok Meadow. I spoke with a nearby walker who said it joined up with another over Kestrel Field; we seem to have a pair that have included the park in their territory!

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The Cycle of Life Continues!

by Simon Knight

After my amazing weasel encounter, which showed the daily fight for survival that happens within the park, and to which many people are oblivious; I was fortunate to witness the opposite of the weasel encounter – this time life being created. 

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An irresistibly astonishing fact!

At more than 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick. While we admit that the chances of seeing an albatross in our park run from highly unlikely to nil, some facts are just too astonishing and irresistible to be ignored.

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Returning chiffchaffs

Has anybody heard our chiffchaffs yet? This is the time of year when they come back from the Mediterranean and Africa to nest in the park and their unmistakeable call is a welcome sign that spring is here. Message or email us if you have heard them .

All these pictures were taken in the park by DKG.

The Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto, seems ubiquitous: one of the park’s noisiest and most common species. But it wasn’t always so.

How come?

Nesting

At this time of year, the reserve’s blue tits are looking for nest holes in our old trees. The ash tree at Fiveways harbours a nest every year and the newly fenced oak near at the bottom of the Arboretum seems to have attracted more than one pair already.

Here is a video of a female blue tit building a nest while, outside, the male guards the site from marauders and thieves.

Video from The Nest Box
Header picture by Simon Knight

Birdlife in an Old Oak

By Ian Bushell

I nipped up to the park this morning to see how the contractor was getting on with the chestnut fencing around the Oak we have been clearing in the Arboretum, near the entrance. Spring is just around the corner and some of the lives that the old Oak supports were evident.

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