Posts Tagged ‘Tarn’

A bright sunny day and a chance to do the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my home patch. It has been a somewhat slow start to the year with sporadic butterflies and just two records so far of Large Red Damselfly (two weeks ago – which was an early date for this site) and nothing since. As I made my way down to the Tarn I found a female Brimstone and then by the pool a Holly Blue.

Holly Blue

 

Approx 6-8 Large Red Damselflies were on the pool and 2 pairs were busily laying eggs. A single Azure damselfly was also present.

Large Red Damselfly

Azure damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

This was to be the highlight as the remainder of the walk only yielded a single Green-veined White and a second Brimstone.

Green-veined White (1st brood Female)

The nesting season for birds is well underway and today there were young Coots, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Mallard around the Tarn.

Coot and young

Greylag Geese and young

Canada Goose and young

Mallard and young

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

 

 

 

Some interesting finds on this week’s recording walk at the Tarn. The bright sunny day had brought out lots of insects.

4 species of Butterfly were seen including the first Blue of the year, a single Holly Blue along with Small White, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood.

Speckled Wood

A couple of other interesting finds were a number of Bee-flys (Bombylius Major) and a hover-fly which is a Bumblebee mimic (Eristalis Inricarius). Thanks to the Insect facebook community for rapidly confirming ID  on these.

Bee-fly

 

Eristalis Intricarius

Eristalis Intricarius

The usual resident birds were present. The Coot are nesting and one pair of Greylag Geese already has 5 goslings. One visitor stopped me to say he had seen 2 Carp in the water at the western end of the Lake, which must be another good sign that water quality is improving and this may be related to a Grey Heron fishing in the shallows at the eastern end, although he is probably after smaller fish.

Coot nesting

Grey Heron fishing

Good specimen of fungi on a fallen tree

 

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Common Carder-Bee

The Tarn

Spring is here and so a new recording season begins. Having had a break over the winter from any formalised recording it is time to begin again for Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bumblebees on my patch and for Birds at Eltham Park. So a bright March day saw me doing the first of my weekly walks around the Tarn.

An early surprise was a Stock Dove in the Garden as I set out to walk down to the Tarn. This is the first record for me on the patch and although I didn’t disturb it, the bird had disappeared by the time I returned. On the walk down to the Tarn, I recorded my first Butterfly of 2017 a Speckled Wood.

Arriving at the Tarn the usual residents were in evidence but as I walked around the lake there was little evidence of Butterfly activity. Apart from the overwintering species, the first emergers are usually the Orange-Tips and eventually, a pair flew past me at the east end of the lake.

Orange Tip (m). Photo by Tim Hodson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/informationtakesover/)

Tracking back up the south side and doing the wildfowl count whilst also looking out for butterflies I reached the sluice gate at the south-western end when a flash of iridescent blue sped away from me across the Lake – a Common Kingfisher – the first of the year – it must have been perched somewhere nearby in the bushes and took flight at my approach. As I left to make my way back home, a female Brimstone butterfly flew lazily across the path.

It’s been a while since I saw a Terrapin here, but this one was taking the opportunity to sun itself.

Egyptian Goose

Coot trying out a potential nest site

The Tarn

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Butterflies

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

 

A bright sunny morning and a chance to have a stroll around the Tarn. As I approached a bird flew across my path and headed out east along the water’s edge – A female Northern Wheatear, my second record for the site. Unfortunately, I was unable to relocate it and it probably continued out onto the adjoining golf course, a much more suitable habitat for this species.

 

There were a good number of geese present – 8 Canada Geese; 5 Greylag Geese;1 hybrid and 3 Egyptian Geese. It looks as though our Greylag – Canada pairing are back again together with one of their offspring.

Canada Goose

Greylag Goose

Egyptian Goose

Canada x Greylag Hybrid

There seems little evidence of nesting yet, although one Coot was gathering twigs. Interesting how sites vary, given that Keith and I had seen chicks at the Wetland Centre last Friday.

It was good to see the Tarn without its green covering and I hope that this will remain so over the summer months.

 

dscn3894a

In the midst of a very busy week in which even blog posts had to take a back seat, it was good to find some time for a visit to the Tarn.

The weather has turned cold again and there is a forecast of snow over the coming days. But it was clear as I began to scan the lake for any new arrivals. The pair of Gadwall are still present but the Eurasian Teal and the Little Grebe that arrived in the last cold spell seem to have moved on.

Gadwall

Gadwall

In fact, it was rather quiet apart from a large flock of Moorhens feeding on the weed, there were no real surprises with just the resident populations of Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot. The numbers of Moorhens on Tarn have been high this winter – previously 10 was a very good count, but this winter counts of 15-20 are regular and on one occasion the number was over 30. Whether they have been attracted by the weed I don’t know but the group of about 20 today were actively feeding on it.

dscn3898a

 

 

 

 

dscn3902a

A Black-headed Gull seems to have taken a liking to this half-sunken platform as he/she has been roosting here on each of the last 3 visits I have made – they are colony nesters so I can’t think it is prospecting a nest site.

dscn3896a

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Naturelog: 30th January

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Birds, London, Natural History, UK
Tags: ,

It’s the weekend of the RSPB winter garden bird count and as long-serving readers of my blog will know this is the weekend when all the birds desert my garden and go somewhere else. All those everyday visitors, regular throughout the week leading up to the count simply vanish!

Still there is always the hope that this year would be different and to be fair it was a more representative count than in some past years with pairs of Dunnocks, Blue Tits and Great Tits visiting the feeder station along with Blackbirds and our usual legion of Crows supplemented by a couple of Magpies and a Jay. Two Chaffinches were an uncommon visitor to the garden and made it onto this year’s return.

dscn3753a

Around lunchtime, I had to go up to the Town centre and took the long route around the Tarn in the hope of seeing the Water Rail that had been seen when I was away. The lake was no longer frozen, reflecting the slight increase in temperature over the last week. The pair of Gadwall were still present but I could not find either the Little Grebe or the Teal which had been present during the thaw – maybe they have moved on although it could just be they were hidden from sight in the bankside vegetation on this occasion. No luck with the Water Rail either but I did locate a Redwing. These too have disappeared from the garden now the temperature has risen presumably to feed on the nearby open land now that the frost has gone. It is interesting how only small variations in temperature can affect the local distribution of birds.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

dscn3864a

Why does it always seem to happen? I go away for a week and another local birdwatcher finds 2 first sightings of species on the Tarn. So on a bright winters morning, I set off to see if the birds were still there. The first thing I found was a Little Grebe ( a regular winter visitor) hiding under the bank.

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

The pair of gadwall (also a first record) first seen two weeks ago were still present along with a good number of Moorhens and some Coot plus a single Tufted Duck.

Gadwall (m)

Gadwall (m)

Coot

Coot

At the eastern end of the lake, I soon find the first of those new firsts as a female Teal is swimming amongst the bankside vegetation but eventually she emerged to be photographed.

Teal (f)

Teal (f)

As for the second species, I was hunting, a Water Rail, I knew where it was likely to be, but equally knew I would be lucky to see it. Maybe it would call from the vegetation. Whilst I was scouring the area, I noticed a small bird fly into nearby vegetation. It caught my attention and as I looked into the twigs and leaves I could make out a small dull bird with a black cap – ah a male Blackcap – used to be a summer visitor but we have had them over-winter here before. But as I looked I could see a pale cheek and that black cap is not right for a blackcap – now totally confused – was it an aberrant Great Tit with no colour? Then it popped out on a branch and it was a Marsh Tit (another site first!). It flew off before I could get a photo unfortunately.

Marsh Tit. Photo by Shawn Nystrand (https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_webhamster/)

Marsh Tit. Photo by Shawn Nystrand (https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_webhamster/)

I continued to search for the Water Rail but without any success – still there is always tomorrow!

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)

 

dscn3753a

Made a detour on the way home for a walk around the Tarn. I was looking to see if I could find the Grey Wagtail which has been frequenting the feeding station in the garden for the last couple of weeks and which I presume is over-wintering on the islands in the Tarn.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

I couldn’t see the Wagtail but a real delight was a pair of Gadwall on the lake. This is a first record here for me in 16 years of observation.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Another interesting sighting was a total count of 30 Moorhens around the lake. The previous high count was 13 in October 2014 and only 3 counts over 10 in the last 6 years. So where have they all come from?

Moorhen

Moorhen

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Mallard

Mallard

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

 

Carrion Crow

Carrion Crow

 

Decided to go off and check out a couple of local sites this morning. My first stop was the local nature reserve at Sutcliffe park. The water level had certainly dropped since my visit last month, but the marsh side path still resembles a river.

DSCN0736

It was good to see a few Common Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls. despite their name they are not really very common, but this has become a regular winter spot for them. By the reed-bed, I spotted a flash of iridescent blue as a Kingfisher flew upstream. I tried to locate if it had perched up somewhere in the hope of a photo but to no avail. As I walked down towards the lake an inquisative Robin came to check out what I was doing.

DSCN0738a

The lake was sparsly populated with only a few Mallard, Coot and Moorhens. Single Herring and Lesser Black-backed gulls joined the Black-headed gulls and a Little Grebe was briefly seen. The star bird was an example of the European race of Great Cormorant with its white head (by comparison to the all black Atlantic race which is more common in the UK).

 

Great Cormorant (European race)

Great Cormorant (European race)

 

Coot

Coot

 

On the way back to the entrance I found a Little Egret and a Grey Wagtail.

DSCN0747a

The second stop was at the Tarn. Although the algal bloom seems to have receded it is still present, but the good news is that there were 9 Greylag and 3 Canada Geese present and from the arguing and bickering going on, it certainly seems like they are preparing to breed here this year.

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Greenwich Peninsular Ecology Park

Greenwich Peninsular Ecology Park

Popped into Greenwich Peninsular ecology park for an hour this morning. One of the volunteers diredted me to the Alder Carr as there was a large party of Siskin feeding in the Alders, This small finch is not common locally and so it was good to see such large party actively moving through the trees. Good views but unfortunately no good photos.

Siskin  Photo by Tony Smith (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pc_plod/)

Eurasian Siskin
Photo by Tony Smith (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pc_plod/)

 

Elsewhere on the reserve there were lots of Goldfinches together with a few chaffinches and Greenfinches but the lake was very quiet. In fact there was only a single Coot.

Tarn Park

Tarn Park

Tarn Park

Tarn Park

On the way home detour via the Tarn for my first visit this year. It is good to see no algal bloom on the water – I hope that is permanent and that it doesn’t return. Certainly encouraging were the count of 12 Moorhens and 10 Coot which are my highest winter counts for a number of years.

Moorhen

Common Moorhen

 

Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot

 

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)