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.