Trip reports

Hainault Country Park Walk on 16th Dec 2018

Hainault Country Park Walk on 16th Dec 2018
Mike Condon

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Our last walk of the year started on a cold but bright morning. A Heron called as it flew and landed in a tree close by, giving a nice view through the scopes for our first spot!

Black-headed and Common Gulls lined up in a row on some wooden posts, which was a nice way to compare these two species, with Common Gulls being the larger birds and almost like a smaller version of a Herring Gull in looks.

The small lake was partly frozen and we watched Moorhens walk gingerly across the surface. We carried on walking around the lake and we startled a couple of rabbits in front of us and they hopped away before disappearing. Some corners of the lake remained unfrozen and here a couple of pairs of Shoveler were feeding as a group in a circular fashion, they do this because the bird behind will filter the water with its special bill that's disturbed by the one in front.

At the edge of the forest we noted a mixed flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits were on the move 'roving' through the trees.
We came out to the large open grassland area and we heard a Green Woodpecker calling and also briefly glimpsed it as it flew away. One of the group pointed out what looked like a large nest like formation in a tree, it was in fact an example of 'witches broom' disease. This occurs when a mass of twigs or branches forms creating the appearance of a broom like growth often as a result of some other underlying issue with the tree that causes stress points.

Up ahead of us we noticed a Buzzard take off from the ground and land in a gorse bush, it then began to preen itself giving our group cracking views through the scope of its plumage against the lovely green colours of the bush. The bird eventually took off again flying at very close range past us.
A Kestrel perched up for a while in a tree as did a single Redwing in another.

Entering back into one of the wooded trails we could hear several Mistle Thrushes voicing their loud 'rattling' like alarm call, obviously something had upset them. We stopped for a while to see what was the cause - we did see a couple of Magpies hanging around nearby so perhaps the thrushes were un-nerved by them. We also heard a Nuthatch calling and a brief burst of a March Tit as well.

As we walked through the last wooded part of the route, we could hear Jackdaws noisily calling around us and also a Great Spotted Woodpecker betrayed its presence with its sharp 'kick kick' call, which we eventually located above us. To finish with we managed to spot another Nuthatch moving from tree to tree in search of food. We all then headed to the café for a nice welcome hot cuppa!

Total number of different bird species seen: 32