Thursday, 20 March 2014

Endcliffe Park through to Forge Dam

Even though the weather was not great, it had been so long since I went birding that I decided to go for a walk in Endcliffe park to use the afternoon productively. However, I had a great time and saw some smashing birds, so here it is in full, rather than an add on to a weekly update.
No sooner had I arrived at the park that did a treecreeper fly right by me and land on a nearby tree. I was very excited but by the time I had gotten the camera out the bird was already some way up the tree and I was unable to get any really good shots
I wandered around the ponds in the park before wandering up the river bu there were only really mallards, moorhens and black-headed gulls. There were reports of a mandarin but I never found it.
Next I wandered up river, away from the park in the hope of finding dipper. I did not find any dipper but I did find 3 Grey Wagtails, including one that was in stunning plumage, possibly the most vivid and striking grey wagtail I have ever seen. Sadly it was too dark to get the photos I really wanted given how close I was but those I got still came out OK with Photoshop!
-Grey Wagtail
On one side of the path was the river, and on the other is a stagnant ditch, and it was in this that I spotted a very large Carrion Crow catching things in the mud. I was able to get very close to it before a dog walker scared it off, but its a bird I rarely stop to watch and as a result my library is pretty bare of them, so to be able to have views like I got of this individual was pretty special.
-Carrion Crow
I made it to Forge Dam on the outskirts of the peaks where there was a cafe and a rather impressive rookery, with about 30 pairs, and a male blackcap, though it was very flighty and I managed no photos. While I was wandering around the dam itself I heard a Chiffchaff calling, my first of the year. I decided to carry on the walk in an attempt to find it. I did not find that individual but further up I found another that was flighty but I managed to track down and get some shots of my 84th bird of the year and first Chiffchaff.
I also flushed a song thrush in the same place, as well as spotting a Long-Tailed tit, though there were many of the latter on the walk at various points. 
-Long-Tailed Tit
Once I lost the Chiffchaff I decided it would be idea to head back to try and get some work done. On the way back I decided to take some shots of the rookery, since its the first rookery I have found this year.
On the walk back through Whitely Woods I found a mixed tit flock feeding in a cluster of holly trees. There seemed to be a mixture of random birds rather than a tit flock; a great tit, a robin, a blackbird, possibly another chiffchaff, a nuthatch, though not strictly with the flock but in the same vicinity and a goldcrest, which was very nice to find. 
There was not as much on the walk back, only one grey wagtail, but just before the park I found a goldfinch having a drink which was nice to see since I had been hearing them all afternoon
So there we got then, it was nice to get out of the flat and get back birding again, and I had gotten more than I had bargained for

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