Trip reports

Mid Week Walk at Thorpe Park

Mid Week Walk at Thorpe Park
Peter Hambrook

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Weather: Drizzly at first but soon becoming sunny with a light breeze. 14C
Only a select band of four made this one, with Chris being new to our mid-week walks. Several small birds were flitting around the farm while we waited for all to arrive but only goldfinches were identified. A small flock of Canada geese flew past but did not land and a mistle thrush could be heard singing, but out of sight.
Out on Manor Lake a pair of shovelers were visible from the car parking area and others turned up during our walk. Close to the farm it was fairly quiet with only a heron or two, mallards, mute swans and a moorhen in evidence, but as we moved on to view the lake the usual mass of tufted ducks and pochards could be seen. Nigel then spotted a male goldeneye far out on the lake and this was soon joined by a female, with both diving for food, while several great crested grebes and two greylags were nearby.
Resting on the tern rafts were a good number of cormorants and a few black-headed gulls while a few moorhens poked around near the island and a scattering of wigeon could be found further out. As we progressed along the road a bird suddenly flew up into a lakeside tree - a kingfisher! Just as I was about to let Chris view it through the telescope it flew off and, because of the change-over, I failed to spot where it had gone. The others were investigating a singing robin and also missed it, which was rather unfortunate. We moved on to a spot where St. Anne's Lake can be viewed. Here there was also lots of activity, with plenty of lapwings resting on the floating dividers in the water-skiing area, plus some eight herring gulls, several pairs of gadwall, more great crested grebes and masses of coots and black-headed gulls.
Heading back towards the cars we came across a party of tits, including several long-tailed, at which point a significant increase in noise levels heralded the arrival of some 70 more greylag geese. As I scanned the reeds near the farm for anything else of interest I re-found the kingfisher and this time it stayed long enough to give everyone a good, if a little distant, scope view. Next we found several small birds moving through the bushes, one of which was a goldcrest, which showed quite well as it searched for food, while a reedy pool close to the farm had gained a few teal, which rapidly departed when they saw us. We had a quick look at the barn with the owl nest boxes but no owls were in residence.
As befitted the short mid-winter day, this was only a brief visit of about 90 minutes but we saw a good selection of birds and also experienced that real rarity this winter - a sunny morning! By the time I reached home the clouds had rolled in again and all was back to its normal grey.
Peter Hambrook