Saturday, 15 May 2010

Kelsey Gardens, Burstwick

Blogger seems to be misbehaving at the moment, so the top 2 pics are of a Whitethroat, followed by 2 of the Blackcap, and one of the Meadow Pipit. The back end of a Cuckoo is next and the final photo is of a Willow Warbler

Today’s session was not one of my standard classes, but was one organised by the landowner to allow visitors to observe the spring birds around Kelsey Gardens. 8 people arrived for the start time of 10am. 4 people were Kelsey Garden regulars, whilst the remaining 4 were either my ‘students’ or accompanied my ‘students’ for their first visit to this venue.

We commenced by peering through what at first glance was the unprepossessing barbed wire of the adjacent Sangwins yard. Here, we had amazing views of a Whitethroat, briefer views of a Linnet, and an even shorter view of a Stock Dove. We walked down to the first lake where we were serenaded by a Blackcap. The lake was ringed with anglers, but we saw Mallard, and Coot here. In a bush in the grassy field to our left we had good views of a Meadow Pipit, which later delighted the crowd with its parachuting song flight. After passing the lake we reached an area of reeds where we heard the monotonous rhythmic song of a Reed Warbler, and Kelsey Garden regular, Mike, was able to get his first glimpse of one. Climbing the adjacent slope we heard a Willow Warbler, but the Turtle Doves were silent. The birds were fairly quiet at the top of the hill, but we could hear another Blackcap & a Goldfinch tinkled as it flew overhead. Unsurprisingly, last year’s passing Osprey failed to appear!

Retracing our steps we arrived at ‘The Path of Brian’ where everyone got good views of 3 male Reed Buntings, and heard the songs of a couple more Reed Warblers, but the Sedge Warblers and the Lesser Whitethroat seemed to be absent this year. However, the highlight here, and the star bird of the morning, was a bubbling female Cuckoo, which flew quite close to us a couple of times before it was joined by a male. Later, they flew right over our heads as we climbed the hill between the 2 lakes. We were able to see the nest-hole of the Kingfisher, but it remained out of sight as canoeing was taking place on South Lake. Similarly, we glimpsed a Great Crested Grebe, but it hid itself among the reeds as soon as the first canoe set out. However, one participant was able to see her first Tufted Duck at the back of this lake. Along this hill we continued to hear a Cuckoo, and then saw our first Willow Warbler of the morning. The nearby drain yielded a concealed Sedge Warbler and a flagrant yellowhammer on the wires, but along the old railway line we failed to hear the usual Lesser Whitethroat or Turtle Dove. However, I was relieved to hear that Mike had heard the ever-decreasing Turtle Dove much earlier that same morning. In all we saw or heard 37 species, which isn’t bad going, but several expected birds were missing during our trip, so on a weekday when there should be less activity on the lakes one may expect to encounter around 40 different species. We headed back to the refreshment tent for a welcome drink & a snack. Overall, everyone was very pleased with their trip around Kelsey Gardens.

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