News archive

March 2008

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Water rail feeding at waters edge

If you go into the woods (Part II) ....... !

We proved the 'doom merchants' wrong and had a wonderful day at Marbury Country Park ! The weather forecast was for heavy rain and gale force winds but we had none of it! The sun shone for most of the day and an excellent day was had by all. After a short walk we spent a very productive half hour at the hide over- looking the feeding station and Budworth Mere. The feeding station attracted blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits plus chaffinch, reed bunting and a single bullfinch. Nuthatch regularly came down to the bird table giving excellent views, down to no more than10 feet away, of a bird usually seen high in the trees. Underneath the bird table blackbirds, robin, dunnock and wren intermingled with mallard and a water rail feeding on the spilled seeds from above. Beyond the feeders on the mere we had excellent views of 42 great-crested grebe (some in full summer plumage whilst others still 'sporting' the winter look!), a number of cormorant (one of the continental form with its white head), little grebe, shoveller, teal, pochard, tufted duck and gadwall. Bird of the day was a lovely kingfisher, which flew past the hide not once but twice with its plumage shimmering in a mixture of lovely blues, greens and reds in the sunlight. Of we set again for a walk around the park seeing 3 great spotted woodpecker drumming, calling and chasing each other. Again we were never far from the song and contact calls of nuthatch; blue, great and long tailed tits as well as robin, blackbird, song thrush and wrens. Overhead a couple of buzzards soared in the thermals produced by the sun and were mobbed by a kestrel not happy that they should enter its territory. Alarm calls filled the wood just before a sparrowhawk flew through the canopy of the trees. Two black swans amongst the resident mute swans were an odd find. Many of the water pastures featured a number of lapwing and a single snipe, which proved particularly difficult to see, were the only waders to be seen. Sadly lesser spotted woodpecker proved elusive but hey, that's birdwatching!