Our 2012 Bird Walk on Abbey Fields was held on Sunday, 6th May 2012 led by Colin Potter, Ornithologist. Celia Rickers reported as follows:
Colin Potter led the annual bird walk in the Abbey Fields and as usual we were nearly outnumbered by Woodpigeons. As we stood in the car park a Jackdaw flew over and the distinctive song of the Chaffinch could be heard. Colin took the group across to the brook and we listened to the calls of two Wrens and he said the vegetation by the brook was excellent for Wren habitation. He then tracked down a Blackcap singing in the trees at the back of the brook and we were all able to see it with binoculars and telescopes enlarging its image. Colin said only the males sported a Blackcap while females had a chestnut cap as did juvenile birds. Other birds seen and heard before we arrived at the lake were Blackbird, Magpie, Blue tit, Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Crow and Grey Wagtail. The ‘No Fishing’ sign is a favourite perching place for birds and Colin said the Gull sitting there was a Lesser Black-Backed, a species which used to be more common in the north of Britain but is gradually spreading its range. A female Mallard eyed the group with great suspicion as she manoeuvred her ducklings into the reeds. Some time was spent trying to see a Goldfinch in the trees bordering the road, but only the sharp-eyed ones amongst us suceeded. Rounding the end of the lake a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen flitting through the trees,while a fleeting glimpse of a Jay was seen in the churchyard. Coming towards the church Colin pointed out a House Martin and Swift in the sky above us and drew our attention to a Goldcrest, which he had located by its call as it darted about in the evergreen.This was the end of a most interesting and informative walk and talk.
Read report below from last year’s Bird Walk:
On 8th May 2011 we held a Bird Walk led by local ornithologist Colin Potter. About a dozen of us gathered in the car park to meet at 8am. At a quick glance the only birds in sight were the ubiquitous wood pigeons feeding on the grass. Swifts, summer visitors to this country, had just arrived in large numbers Colin told us and he pointed out the unmistakable silhouette of the bird high above us with its crescent shaped wings.
Colin identified the song of a goldfinch and sure enough one was perched in a tree nearby and a small flock flew over. The group moved off towards the Finham Brook, where a goldcrest was heard but not seen, together with a chiffchaff. The kingfisher, which had graced the stream clearing party the previous day, unfortunately did not put in an appearance. Great tits were on the wooden fence bordering the defunct bowling green, feeding on insects, while the hedge sported wrens and a chaffinch.
Moving towards the decking, Colin pointed out a grey wagtail teetering along the path with a grey back and yellow plumage. On the water there were several male and female mallards and the no fishing sign was a convenient perch for a lesser black backed gull. A solitary moorhen with its red and yellow bill wandered along the mud at the lakeside, and a dunnock searched the decking for food. A female blackbird flew across the treetops chaperoned by her mate, while a crow, jackdaw and magpie were spotted. Part of an eggshell was found and Colin identified it as that belonging to a blackbird. From the path we saw a grey heron had arrived on the edge of the water and when disturbed it claimed the no fishing sign as its resting place. We rounded the edge of the lake and Colin heard the song of a reed warbler and pointed out the flitting brown bird in the vegetation. A noisy party of Canada geese came over the swimming pool to land on the water and a stockdove was spotted. When we stopped by the churchyard a solitary swallow flew over our heads and a robin bade us farewell as we left the car park after a most interesting and informative walk.