Monday, 13 April 2009

Afternoon Walk at Stoke Park.

At long last the weather improved and we drove to Stoke Lake & Watermeadows for an early afternoon walk.
Initial sounds on reaching the Wey Navigation were a Blackcap singing from deep in the wooded area plus Great & Blue Tits, Greenfinch and Chaffinches moving through the branches overhead. On the water were 3 male Mallard and one female with 10 chicks.
Following the path to the lake we saw Jay, Blackbird, Robin and Chifchaff calling. The next sound was the call of a COMMON TERN flying overhead. Hopefully they will take up residence on the raft on the lake and successfully breed providing there is no disturbance this year from 'hooligans' swimming out to the raft and destroying their man-made habitat.
Other species on the lake were Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, a Great-crested Grebe and many Canada Geese mostly hauled up on the island. The one below was blowing bubbles as it drifted passed us.
On my last visit (21st Feb) I was delighted to see the return of Skylarks. This species is very much under threat from loss of suitable habitat and the open grassland above the lake has been a prime nesting site in the past but difficult to protect without fencing off a very large area. Guildford Borough Council have put up signs requesting visitors to keep to the recognised paths and to keep dogs under control. Let's just hope that everyone complies! As we headed for the lower marsh a Skylark ascended in song flight.
The boardwalk across the marsh has still not been rebuilt and the only sighting at some distance was a Deer hiding in the grass.
On our way to the lock there were more sightings of singing Blackcap and Chiffchaffs plus Dunnock and Jay. Two Pied Wagtails were perched briefly on the bridge before being disturbed by activity at the lock including this steam-powered boat.
From the lock we walked back along the Wey Navigation listening to vocal Wrens singing and saw two more male Blackcaps.
Throughout our walk we saw a few butterflies, including Yellow Brimstone's & Orange Tips who due to their active flying defied any photos, but this Peacock sat still just long enough!
A Mute Swan that has been getting down and dirty.
A Greylag on the wet meadow. First he shakes his wings & then stretches up on his toes.

Using the bins we were able to locate 2 Egyptian Geese way out on the grazing fields, but no evidence of Grey Wagtails at the weir...probably disturbed by the large number of bike riders and walkers.

26 comments:

  1. Some lovely shots today, a good was had I assume, we also had a good day at Dungeness.

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  2. A full day Frank, with some lovely pictures to go with it.
    I hope the Terns manage ok without the idiots disrupting things this year. Things like that make my blood boil! And the Skylarks too, let's hope people show a bit of consideration to what's around them, and obey those signs.

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  3. Lots was seen! I can't believe you have ducklings all ready.

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  4. You saw such a wide variety of birds! I'm envious. The photos are all great, but I especially love the Swan shot.

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  5. Looks like you had a great walk!! You certainly got some beautiful pictures! The ducks look funny with their wings like that..Ha! And the ducks and babies are so cute!!

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  6. Great shots Frank! I love the butterfly shot and the mute swan! The Greylag is so funny to see because I have my own here on this side of the Atlantic.

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  7. ...already you have ducklings...and they are already getting big. I like the shot of the Common Tern...we don't get them around Cincy very often! Looks like a beautiful day with lovely scenery too...

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  8. Your mute swan was stunning!! Excellent photos today!!

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  9. Really enjoyed reading about your day. Always great to read about other peoples appreciation of the wildlife around them - some brilliant photos! We have had an excellent weekend here in shropshire for both the weather and new arrivals, first swallows back last night. hope my garden and local patch blog can develop like yours!

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  10. Awww... mallard babies!! Love that Mute Swan photo. :c)

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  11. Lovely afternoon out and photos Frank. We saw Skylarks last evening about ten minutes walk away, we have seen them there for years and long may they remain!
    How sad to read what the yobs did to the Terns habitat, that sort of senseless act makes my blood boil!

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  12. A good outing by the sounds of it with some great pictures too!

    The Mute Swan is lovely - even if he is a tad dirty!!

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  13. Phil & Mandy. Thanks, not bad for a couple of hours out with Anita as a 2nd pair of eyes always helps.

    Keith & Jan, I fully agree. There will be a few regulars keeping an eye on things so let's hope all goes well this season.

    Lynne & Kelly, Mallards are generally early spring breeders so should see lots of little ones over the next few weeks.

    Jayne & Montanagirl. Thanks, swans are usually very obliging.

    Ginnymo. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the little ones.

    Kim, yes I'm keeping my eye on yours!

    Steve B, Shelly & Graham. Thanks.

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  14. C Green. Thanks for joining the "Earlybirders". Shropshire is not a area I know so I will be keeping an eye on you.
    I will add a link to your blog very soon so you should get some extra visitors. Good blogging, Frank.

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  15. Thanks Tricia. I've often seen 'winter' geese in Norfolk with reddish heads due to their feeding location but rarely on a Swan locally, perhaps they are just cleaner!

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  16. Franck, I can't believe that you already have he chicks! oh wow, I can't wait to play with my camera with them ( just a way to say this... I am not playing with them, sure)
    and this grey lag, awesome streching!
    thanks for sharing

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  17. Hi Val. Just remember we are a lot further south & probably warmer than you. I also saw young Coot chicks but too far away to capture.

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  18. Frank, I love reading your posts. So informative.

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  19. Thanks Matt, I just like to tell it as I see it. As a 'watcher' I am still struggling to capture the quality of images that I would really like.

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  20. Great Blog Frank.
    Pictures with words, love it all.
    John.

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  21. John, thank you very much.

    Leedra, it was good to get out after 3 murky & wet days. Glad you like the Peacock.

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  22. Hi Frank,
    Yeh, well good post, and I'm also amazed that you already have chicks. The breeding season did not start yet over here and you are so impatient to get there!!!

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  23. Hi Chris. I am sure we will wait for your pics of chicks & enjoy them long after ours have started to fatten up!

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