Between now and October you can help us raise funds to improve the walled garden at Markeaton Park simply by shopping at our local COOP stores.
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Bird watching is always quiet in July to September, and with temperatures in the 70’s, birds were very scarce to-day.
Inevitably, a couple of Common Buzzards were seen soaring over the park, and towards the end, House Martins were chasing food over the lake, interspersed with dipping their beaks in the water for a drink as they flew threw.
Swifts were flying high, and it will not be long before they head south.
Just 15 species for the 90 minute walk with most sightings on the lakes. Plenty of juveniles, Coots in particular, and a pair of adult Mute Swans were repelling the public near the Mundy centre bridge, to protect their cygnets.
Next walk is Sunday 19th August, and Dawn will be leading the September (16th) walk whilst David is in Cyprus.
On a glorious day with no cloud, but loads of people, 5 birders took the beginners walk at Markeaton park.
The fine weather brought out the public, and unfortunately for us, the number of dogs not on leads, meant that we were seeing very few birds in the wooded areas. So a count of just 20 species was low by our standards.
2 male Mandarin Ducks on the duck pond, plus a couple of Nuthatches were well seen, but the highlite and Bird of the Day was a female Goosander that flew into the duck pond area, and after a couple of fishing dives, flew back to the main lake.
Credit to Philip for that one and which we have named Philip. (Bit tough being a female bird!!)
Some of the nest boxes made at the recent nest box making session were spotted on the walk, including No 1 which was the one of the 3 nest boxes sponsored by Pamela. If you are looking, they have all been painted green, with a number on the base, and there are 28 in the park plus 2 in the Walled Gardens.
Having cancelled the walks for January and March 2018, it was good for the walk to get back to normal in April.
11 people enjoyed a pleasant walk with 22 species sighted. Highlights included..
A pair of Mallards with 8 ducklings the first noted breeding report for 2018.
As happens at Markeaton, Nuthatches were very much in evidence and quickly scavenged the bird food we placed at strategic places.
Summer migrants are starting to arrive, including a single male Blackcap, and a Chiffchaff.
At the end of a 90 minute walk, we returned to find a pair of Mandarin Ducks on the duck pond by the craft village.
The 30 new nest boxes made at the recent FOMP nest box making session, have been erected around the park, with a Robin nest box and a Blue Tit nest box in the walled garden. We watch with interest!!
David Bennett The Allestree Birdman blog.
February Bird Walk Report
The January 2018 Bird walk having been cancelled due to a surprise snow storm, 11 people turned up for the first “happening”, in February. This was the highest number of people on the walk and show that the Derby Live advertising is helping us.
Sadly the birds did not read the publicity and were quite thin on the ground. Pamela, coming as usual, heavily laden with bird foot brought out a good variety at the feeding table, and for a shear show of numbers, Nuthatches ruled the day.
Bird of the Day (BOD to fellow birders), was a perching Kestrel, visible for just long enough for us all to see before it went hunting.
David Bennett The Allestree Birdman blog.
David Bennett, a Volunteer Ranger at the Severn Trent reservoir at Carsington Water, introduced a regular monthly Bird Watching for Beginners walk in 2006.
A similar walk was introduced by David at Markeaton Park, Derby in January 2017. In the first year, there were 11 walks, 43 bookings, enjoyed by 25 different people.
Each 90 minute walk was led either by Dawn or David, with Dawn covering the 2 months when David was not available. The walk tended to follow much the same route, although in May to September, a route taking in woods was preferred for seeing Summer migrants.
49 different species were logged as follows:-
Seen on and in the water 14
Woodland and land birds 29
Flying over birds 4
Summer Visitors 2
The choice of “Bird of the Walk” produced different results, with popular votes going to Kingfisher, Goosander, Green Woodpecker, Tree Creeper, Little Grebe, Goldcrest and Little Egret.
The walks will continue in 2018, still at 10.30am on the third Sunday of every month, and starting from the Walled Garden, with the first walk on Sunday 21st January 2018.
The young gardeners getting their certificates for completing 6 months of work and study in the Walled Garden. Well done boys, it was a pleasure to work with you.
Toyota arranged for apprentices to come and complete some projects for the Walled Garden this June. The projects included making us new trestle tables to display plants for sale, building us cold frames to harden off our young plants and they also provided a sliding dividing screen in the Bothy to enable us to make better use of the room.
We couldn't resist sharing some pictures of the cheerful tulips in the Walled Garden. Thanks again to the staff at Little Eaton garden centre for your bulb donation last autumn.
Easter Sunday saw 8 people join the Bird watching for Beginners walk at Markeaton Park. The threatening wet weather did not materialise, and the birders had a cracking walk, identifying a record 26 different species.
A handsome male Mandarin Duck got things off to a good start, shortly followed by both Mistle AND Song Thrush. Putting some seed on the bird table very quickly lured down a couple of Nuthatches, and they were joined by Great, Blue and Coal Tits.
People new to birding benefited from being able to see, and compare at the same looking(!), both Woodpigeons and Stock Doves. Similarly Greylag Geese and Canada Geese could be compared.
In a short walk through the woods behind the Mundy centre, seeing and hearing a Chiffchaff singing, (a Summer migrant) was good but the hi-light was spotting a Tree Creeper doing what they do, creeping up a tree, together with a second Tree Creeper following behind!!
Not surprisingly the bird of the morning was the Tree Creeper, although Nuthatch came a close second.
The next walk will be Sunday 18th June, but note there will be no walk in May.
Our Volunteers took part in a Willow Weaving Workshop under the expert guidance of Emma Parkins, community artist and willow sculptor. Volunteers made wigwams for the Walled Garden to support climbing beans and sweetpeas. They also made willow hurdles/garden edgings. The weather was reasonably kind and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and were justifiably proud of their creations.
More details of Willow and Natural Art by Emma can be found at www.junkymonkey.co.uk (under galleries-willow).
Bird Watching for Beginners - Walk Highlights from February and March 2017
Sunday 19th February was a bright light morning, so the four people on the second of these new bird walks had very clear views of the birds in the park.
Within the first few minutes, everyone saw a lovely Treecreeper fly across, and do what Treecreepers do – creep up the trunk. And then after a while, drop down to the next tree, and start creeping up again.
Most of the usual suspects were around and upward looking vigilance spotted three smart Greylag Geese flying over, followed by a meandering Buzzard.
Nothing different on the feeder station near the ha-ha, so we progressed to the rowing boat kiosk for a good view down the lake, and set about clarifying the difference between Coots and Moorhens (“Bald as a Coot” for the black Coots with the white helmet!).
David pointed out three Goosanders, including one handsome male, and just about located a Grey Heron tucked in on an island. Walking along the muddy waters edge was rewarded by there being fewer members of the public, and so more birds, with twittering Long Tailed Tits all around. But the jewel of the walk was seeing a single Little Egret on the North Island.
Sunday 19th March was not the best day for birdwatching but the promised walk still took place. It was a somewhat windy day, and the birds were doing what most sensible people would do… Hunker down and keep warm!
Three people came for the walk, and a fast flying Sparrowhawk was a good start.
After waiting for some animated canine friends to move away, David put some seed on the empty bird table at the feeding station. That attracted a Blue and a Great tit (and the same action near the duck pond quickly attracted a Nuthatch). For perseverance, we awarded the Blue tit the “Bird of the Day” award!!
A circuit of the main pond found nothing other than the usual suspects, but we know that by the time of the next walk (10.30am Sunday 16th April…Easter Sunday), the summer visitors should be more conspicuous, so well worth joining that walk.
Links to pictures of the birds mentioned:
Treecreeper Greylag goose Buzzard
Coot Moorhen Little Egret
Goosander Sparrowhawk Long-tailed tit
Blue tit Great tit Nuthatch Grey heron
This wintery weather may be getting you down but take a look at how beautiful the park is looking this Autumn. Don't let the cold put you off, get your coat and wellies on and come for a walk in this special landscape.