Every week 2 members from the WVBS take a walk around Pensthorpe Natural Park and record every species that they have seen / heard and how many they have seen. This is submitted into our recorder, David Gibbons, and he collates all the data and sends it on to the County Recorder.
Below are the results from the recent monitoring visits, including a short summary from members.
Wednesday 4th October.
60 species recorded on this visit. Notable ones included: c300 Greylag Geese, 84 Lapwing, 197 Teal, 38 Tufted Duck, 29 Shoveler, 22 Gadwall, 3 Pintail with the ever-present Mallard. Raptors noted: 6 Buzzard, 5 Red Kite, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel & 1 Marsh Harrier. Herons & Egrets seen: 1 Great White Egret, 1 Little Egret & 5 Grey Heron. Warblers: 2 Chiffchaff & 2 Cetti’s Warbler. Paul & Steve
Sunday 15th October.
A lovely bright morning but the temperature, only 3°, was a bit of a shock! 3 Mistle Thrush from the drive was a good start and a Goldcrest on the way to the Farmland Hide. Lovely views of a Buzzard from here but the feeders were almost completely hidden behind nettles. A mixed Tit flock on the way to the Wetland Hide had the right idea and were sunning themselves at the top of the tree which gave us a lovely view of a Marsh Tit. 2 Great White Egret were a bonus at the Wetland Hide. We searched the Teal but there was no sign of the Green Winged that had been there the day before. The 'Guide in the Hide ' (who was none other than our own David L) spotted 2 Common Snipe so we added those to our list! The walk through the woods was relatively quiet but there was great excitement at the Scrape when after following a bubble trail an Otter suddenly popped up! We had another good view a while later as it skirted the edge of the reeds. A great end to a good day. 42 species in total. Mandy & Nick E
Thursday 19th October.
An overcast, mild day with drizzle at first and showers becoming more persistent as the morning went on. Two Goldcrests in the driveway trees made a good start to the day and working our way around to the Farmland Hide there was a flock of Fieldfares overhead. There were a few more in the hedge to the right of the Farmland Hide, some Redwings in the copse ahead and a Marsh Tit visited the feeder. At the Wetland Hide there was a Great White Egret and a Grey Heron, numerous Teal together with Mallards, Shoveler, Gadwall, 2 Wigeon and a Little Grebe, but no Common Snipe or Lapwing on this occasion. The trees opposite held 7 Cormorants and 2 Red Kites while overhead was a surprise late Swallow and at the water's edge in front a fine Grey Wagtail. The Old Squaw Lake looked quiet at first, mostly Coot and Tufted Duck, but 2 Kingfishers appeared and as a flock of Gulls descended, we found a Mediterranean Gull in amongst the Black-headed Gulls. The Mediterranean still had some black on the wing tips and was likely a second winter bird. We also had a second sighting of a Grey Wagtail, possibly a second individual or perhaps the one from the Wetland Hide. The Woodland Hide gave us the usual mix of Blue, Great, Marsh and Coal Tits, Chaffinches, Moorhens, Jackdaws, a Jay, and a single visit to the feeders by a Nuthatch. The Marsh Tit was colour ringed but too quickly in and out to make out the combination. Making our way to the Wader Scrape we kept a careful look-out in the trees but didn't find any Siskins. Water level at the Wader Scrape was still high, though a little lower than in recent days, and as at the Wetland Hide we found no waders. There were plenty of Ducks (including a female Goldeneye, probably ex-collection) and Geese together with 2 Mute Swans and Coots. In the distance 4 Grey Herons were perched in a tree while at the scrape there was a Little Egret. Cetti's Warblers were heard singing but, as is usual, didn't show themselves. The field behind the hide was quiet for birds but did have 2 Roe Deer. Walking back, we came across a party of Long-tailed Tits before we made a last stop at Moon Water where there was a good collection of Gulls including the day's only 2 Lesser Black-backed. Finally, we enjoyed welcome coffee and flapjacks at the cafe. An excellent day, despite some less than perfect weather, with over 60 species seen. Mammals: Muntjac Deer 2, Roe Deer 2, Grey Squirrel 9. Dragonflies: Migrant Hawker 1. Mandy & David L.
Monday 23rd October.
It was a bright calm sunny morning as we ambled down the drive with hopes of plenty of birds, but it was particularly quiet all the way to the Wetland Scrape apart from plenty of Robins. The high-water level (+10) meant there were no waders to be seen but plenty of Ducks and a lone Little Grebe, while a Red Kite sunned itself in the trees on the opposite side. The Woodland Hide produced the usual array of Tits, two Nuthatch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. We did find a Ferruginous Duck on Makins Mere, presumably escaped from its pen. The Wader Scrape, again with very high water (+40) held a nice flock of Lapwing, more Teal, and a fly-over juvenile Marsh Harrier with four Buzzards sitting in a distant field. There was only one Grey Heron and no Egrets, but we did hear a water Rail squealing, and a lovely male Pintail flew in. Thank fully, the walk back was free of Geese and we only found a few Egyptian and Greylag during the visit. Barry found another two Little Grebe on Old Squaw Lake. Not a particularly spectacular list but a very enjoyable walk which just shows how the birds can change in just few days from the previous count on the 19th before all the rain. I was once told by an ardent Norfolk Birder “The worse the weather the better the birds” how true this was to-day. 50 species. Mammals: Grey Squirrel 9. Muntjac Deer 6, Brown Hare 1. Dragonflies: Common Darter 1. Barry and Ian.