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Wildlife in April 2015

Posted: Monday 4th May 2015 by WhisbyWarden

Birch at Whisby, Magpie WalkBirch at Whisby, Magpie Walk

Wildlife in April 2015

Birds.
The WeBS count of 18th produced; 8 Canada Goose; 95 Coot; 13 Cormorant; 13 Gadwall; 49 Greylag Goose; 8 Lapwing; 3 Little Grebe; 14 Mallard; 17 Moorhen; 10 Mute Swan; 4 Oystercatcher; 10 Shoveler; 21 Teal; 89 Tufted Duck.
Unusually, Barn Owls were seen twice during the month on 8th over the Wardens’ office and on 28th on the Pike Drain culvert bridge nearby.
A co-ordinated sweep of the whole reserve produced a total of 64 Blackcaps. The first of the year was seen on 4th.
The Black-headed Gull colony seems to be well up to strength on Thorpe Lake. The Grebe Lake islands, (especially Bruce’s Island) are less well favoured.
3 Black-tailed Godwits were a good find at Grebe Lake on 24th.
Bullfinch pairs were recorded at Coot Lake and Teal Lake.
5 Buzzards circled together north-west of the Visitor Centre on 17th. 1-3 were seen in similar circumstances on other occasions.
A co-ordinated sweep of the whole reserve on 10th produced the highest count of 55 Chiffchaffs. This fell to around 33 on each of the following two weeks. There is very often a false peak during the early migration period.
Migrant Common Sandpipers featured on Teal Lake, 1 on 14th, 2 on 24th, and Thorpe Lake, also 2 on 24th.
The first Common Tern of the year was 1 at Teal Lake on 18th. Around 5-7 appeared there during the last week.
Dunlins passed through Teal Lake during the last week; 6 on 26th and 2 on 28th.
There was a fairly late Fieldfare at Redland’s old yard on 4th.
The first Garden Warblers of the year were 2 at Teal Lake on 21st.
The last Goldeneye of the winter was at Teal Lake on 20th.
There were two records of singing Goldcrests in the tall Leylandii trees south of Grebe Lake; on 18th and 28th.
At least one pair of Great Crested Grebes nested at both Thorpe Lake and Grebe Lake.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed at Plover Beach area on 13th.
The only Green Sandpiper reported was at Teal Lake on 6th.
‘Yaffling’ Green Woodpeckers were recorded at near Willow Lake and at Round Pond. Others were seen at Teal Lake and Sandhills.
The first Greylag Goose brood on the water was a pair with 6 goslings at Coot Lake on 22nd.
House Martins appeared on 11th when 15 were at Teal Lake.
1-2 Jays were frequently seen in various localities.
Kestrels were apparently unconcerned with the disturbance of the ground at Redland’s old yard. A pair were copulating on the nestbox at Redland’s old yard on 25th. Also seen at Thorpe Lake and Teal Lake.
There was a moderate showing of Kingfishers, at Grebe Lake and Teal Lake.
The first Lesser Whitethroat was at Teal Lake on 22nd.
Nearly all of the Little Egrets recorded were at Teal Lake with a maximum of 3 on 6th.
The first Little Ringed Plover was at Teal Lake on 11th, then up to 3 on 6 occasions, nearly all at Teal Lake, until 6 were present there on 28th.
Mediterranean Gulls slowly built up to a count of 3 adults and a 2nd summer sub-adult by mid-month onwards.
The first Nightingale arrived on 11th and 12 were singing by the end of the month.
A Nuthatch in large trees along the southern shore of Teal Lake on 15th was only the fifth ever recorded at Whisby.
The Thorpe Lake Oystercatcher pair settled early onto eggs, followed by a pair at Bruce’s Island, Grebe Lake. 2 were also at Teal Lake on 4th.
The first Reed Warbler was at Coot Lake on 15th.
Sand Martins remained extremely scarce until about 40 were recorded at Teal Lake on 27th, and 100+ on the following day. There was no sign of breeding behaviour again at Thorpe Lake although 100+ hawked over the water on 29th.
The first Sedge Warbler was at Teal Lake on 15th.
1-2 Skylarks sand over adjacent agricultural land early in the month.
Up to 8 Snipe remained at Teal Lake, and 4 at Grebe Lake both during the first week, but 2 were also flushed from Grebe Lake at Big Island on the surprisingly late date of 22nd.
At least 2 Sparrowhawks were reported from various localities during the month.
The first Swallow was at Teal Lake on 4th and small numbers were widely distributed subsequently. 50+ were at Thorpe Lake on 29th.
A maximum of 26 Teal were counted at Teal Lake on 4th.
Up to 3 Tree Sparrows used the feeders throughout the month.
1-2 Treecreepers were seen at the Oakwood throughout the month, with the odd sighting near Willow Lake and Grebe Lake.
A Water Rail squealed at Big Island, Grebe Lake on the unusually late date of 15th.
A Whimbrel flew calling over Teal Lake on 22nd.
The first Whitethroats were at Coot Lake and Teal Lake on 21st and rose to 4 by the end of the month.
At least two Willow Tit territories had been identified by the end of the month.
Willow Warblers arrived on 7th and increased rapidly until a sweep across the reserve revealed 66 on 24th.
A male Yellow Wagtail was briefly at Dave’s Island Thorpe Lake on 24th and one flew over the reserve on 28th.

Butterflies.
Brimstone, Comma, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Orange-tip, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White and Speckled Wood were all recorded.

Dragon/Damselflies.
A few Large Red Damselflies were recorded from 20th.

Reptiles.
A rather early Common Lizard was spotted at Teal Lake on 15th.

Mammals.
Muntjacs were seen at Willow Walk on 11th and Magpie Walk on 26th.
Roe Deer were at Grebe Lake railwayside on 19th and Willow Walk on 24th.
 

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