Monday, 24 September 2007

Sunday 23rd September 2007

I went to the park once again on Sunday morning. With Phil too. It was great. I mainly went to see if the Northern Wheatear (rare here) was still there.

There were the usual corvids there as we arrived, as usual more carrion crows than magpies. As with most of the other visits, one of the first sounds you hear is the squawking of the Ring-necked Parakeets. There are so many here now I am going to re-consider my population estimate. A Great-spotted Woodpecker flew over.

As I walked through the gardens to meet Phil at the 'Kestrel Area' that we now call it. I saw two female (one was probably a juvenile) Kestrels circling above me calling. As with the last few weeks, Jays flew around in large numbers.

I saw Phil and went over to him. He said the Wheatear wasn't there, typical. Its not that I have to 'twitch' a Wheatear its just that he had good views of it and it is the first ever record for Nonsuch Park. The first bird that is new to the park that I didn't find for myself!

We soon moved into the gardens, hoping to see Goldcrests again. Goldcrest are Britain's smallest bird, joint with the Firecrest. Measuring in at just 10cm long if you stretch them out as far as they go! After alot of careful listening I picked two up, that meant I had the job of trying to describe the exact twig that they were on which is not a pleasant task and very frustrating!

We exited the gardens, heard a Wren singing and surprise surprise, we heard the Hobby again! Phil said he heard it the day before, he had mistaken Ring-necked Parakeet calls for the Hobby before so I wasn't too sure, but after hearing this I believed him. Then, sure enough we briefly saw the streamlined, giant Swift shape of the Hobby fly past. No photos though. Then we saw a Kestrel fly past too. Phil heard a Coal Tit and located it. Other birds around this point were Jackdaws and a Green Woodpecker heard.

We had a cup of tea and Phil and I went off into the woods. Many non-birders may naturally think this is the place to go to see birds but it is in fact very hard work, especially in summer when the leaves are covering the trees. At the back of the woods I saw a single Goldfinch and 2 adult winter Black-headed Gulls flew past. Now we saw two juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls fly over, this, surprisingly, is the first ever record for Nonsuch! Soon afterwards I spotted a 3rd year on the field and 2 2nd year Herring Gulls.

Then, as we came through to the other side of the woods again we spotted the juvenile Hobby hawking insects over a field! It was by far the best views I have ever had of a Hobby in flight. We watched it as it did about 5 circuits of the field, swooping up and down, as it grabbed aerial insects in mid air. Whilst watching the Hobby, we were treated to a very breif, but fantastic sighting of a Weasel, I didn't manage a photo becuase it was in the shade whilst my camera was set for the sunny sky, and even if it was, it was too quick!

The juvenile Hobby has been present at Nonsuch for two weeks now. It has been one of the rarest birds ever found at Nonsuch but unbeatable as the most enjoyable bird.

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