A few sightings from the past week at Stags Lodge CVP

Buzzards can be seen quite frequently flying across the patch often being chased by a corvid or 3. A good place to see them is perched on the dead tree at the top of Stags Lodge.

 Warblers are a common visitor to the patch with up to 5 Chiffchaff (top) calling across the patch. Blackcap (below male) are a little harder to come across though I have seen up to 4 at any one time and mainly frequent the wooded area across the river lostock. I have only seen the Reed Warbler (bottom) twice on the patch with this one arriving on the 3rd July and hopefully staying longer than the week one stopped last year. It is very elusive but can be heard calling in the left reedbed next to the bench at the pond.
 The Reed Bunting (below) is a rare visitor to the patch with this male being only the second one I've seen here. I first saw it in the trees at the side of the pond and later in the reedbeds.

 Dragonflies etc are a rare visitor to Stags with only a handfull of sightings throughout the year so when I came across these Banded Demoiselle (female above male below)  hawking flies over the river lostock I was glad I had my camera with me. It's only the first time I've seen them on the patch though they may breed along the river somewhere as there are several sites suitable that are close to where I saw them.
 Butterflies have been low in numbers across the patch with numbers only reaching a handfull on any of my recent vists. The Orange Tip is currently the most common sighting (female top and below) with the much larger and stronger flying Peacock (bottom) seen in ones or twos.

Stags Lodge - 5/6th May 2012

With the sun being out I decided to take my camera out on both of the early morning dog walks at the local patch. There was nothing like the patch tick of my last post but a year patch tick of a Swallow (though only passing through) was nice and the male Whitethroat that I’d heard back earlier in the week finally made an appearance on Saturday and a female and a second male were around on the Sunday. I’m pleased to see them back as they have bred successfully that I know over the past 2 years and hopefully that success will continue this year.
Other species around on both days was a singing Song Thrush, one of several on the patch, at least 5 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler. Magpie and Blackbirds could be seen regularly feeding on the meadows as well as Chaffinch  and Greenfinch calling throughout the woodland. On the pond 4 Coot chicks as well as two adults, a single Moorhen and 3 Mallards which had bred with 8 chicks seen several weeks ago but those numbers dwindled down over a week or so and now I haven’t seen any for a while. As I was leaving the patch via the tunnel under the A6 a Jay flew out of the woods at speed swiftly followed by a female Sparrowhawk, the Jay managed to escape as the Sparrowhawk alighted briefly in one of the trees.
*An update for Sunday evenings visit included 2 Greater-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Male & 1 Female Blackcap, Wren, Robin, Dunnock and an Oystercatcher over the patch.

Stags Lodge (Cuerden Valley Park) & On The Feeders - 14th April 2012

The sun was out so I decided to grab the camera when heading out with the dogs with the hope of getting a few photos of the current warblers on the local patch. I heard a newly returned Willow Warbler on the edge of Church Walk Woods and managed a few shots as it intermittently called and preened amongst the top branches.

Heading around Stags Lodge I heard up to 5 calling Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers the first of which I’d heard on Wednesday evening. What I didn’t expect was this Northern Wheatear at the top of the meadows which was soon flushed by one of the many dog walkers making the most of the great weather. It was easily relocated and I kept my own 2 away as I photographed it feeding up before it moved on. For the hour I was there it relocated several times to the trees surrounding the meadows, a great patch tick and maybe a first for Cuerden Valley Park (David Beattie). For my up to date patch list for the year Click Here 


Back at home the feeders seem to be very busy at the moment with both Goldfinch and Greenfinch eating me out of house and home. Collard Dove and Woodpigeon are also regular visitors along with the local Blackbirds, Dunock, Robin, House Sparrow, Blue Tit and Coal Tit (the only place locally that I see Coal Tits!)


Meresands Wood Bittern - 20th February 2012

I’ve taken quite a few visits up to Meresands Woods with the hope of photographing at least one of the 2 Bittern that are showing very well (at least for Bittern) from the Rufford Hide. Both were on show during my 2 hour visit though one only briefly and very hard to pick out in the reed bed. The second bird was very obliging throughout and I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to photograph a Bittern at such close quarters again.

Red Kites, Tetsworth, Oxon - 13th January 2012

The M40 corridor north between Beaconsfield and Oxford is renowned for its large population of Red Kites and I often marvel at their sight whenever I travel along the route. On several occasions I’ve pulled off the M40 and travelled up the A40 giving me chance to pull over and observe them at closer quarters.
After pulling in a layby on the way down from Aston Rowant NNR and observing 2 at distance as well as a small flock of travelling Long-tailed Tit I decided to continue north to Tetsworth, Oxon where I’ve watched small numbers of Red Kites over the village green and also gives good opportunities to photograph them.
After pulling up in a layby opposite the green I watched 10 Red Kite circling over the roof tops and 2 over the green. Numbers for the day must have been around the 100 mark with 3 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk adding to the raptor numbers along the stretch.
 Above Red KIte below one of a small group of travelling Long-tailed Tit