Goosanders & Goldcrests

26th November 0830-1000am
Coppice Pond:
11 Goosander were on Coppice Pond this morning, suggesting that they may have roosted over night or arrived from a roost in the very early hours this morning.There were at least three adult males with another very scruffy looking male, possibly a younger bird. 2 Common Gulls were among the 25 plus Black-headed Gulls. Good numbers of Coot remain.

Racecourse Plantation:
A large flock of Goldcrests were alongside the path just north from Heather Park. They were showing very well and it was good to see some interaction between them, the flaring of their crests and fanning of tails, as they resolved pecking order issues. In the flock were the usual Tit species and a Redpoll. I also heard another Crossbill fly over. Still no sign of any flocks of Crossbill, just singletons being seen or heard.

Crossgates Barn Area:
40 plus Redwing were feeding in the fields here. A Blackbird was alarm calling due to the presence of a Little Owl in a Hawthorn.

19th November 2005

Birds:
Not much to report as it is traditionally a quiet time for the birdlife of St.Ives. There was a small flock of Redwing and I could hear Fieldfare calling somewhere. There was no sign of any winter finches such as Redpoll, Siskin or Brambling and once again no sign of the Crossbills.

Coppice Pond was frozen this morning, except for a small area at either end on the water. About 30 Mallards were in a group at the Eastern end of the pond, the males were displaying to the females among them. The 12+ Coots had an uneasy truce at the West end due to the reduced area of water.

Insects:
I found a pale brown moth on the path in Cuckoo's Nest Wood, but I have no idea which type it was and had no camera to take a photo to enable ID later.

5th November 2005

Water Rail at Coppice Pond.
I heard a Water Rail squealing at Coppice Pond this morning but sadly couldn't find it.
There was very little else to be sen despite it being a mild pleasant November morning.
There was no sign of any winter Thrushes or finches.

Winter arrivals

29th October 2005

Winter visitors have arrived in St.Ives and the summer migrants have departed. There may still be a chance to see Chiffchaff though I didn't manage one today, which being a mild sunny day was probably one of the better days to get one.

I did see Brambling and Redwing which will hopefully hang around for a while. Bramblings are winter visiting finches which like to feast on Beech mast along with Chaffinches and Tits. The best spot for these is between the exit to Druid's Altar and the Racecourse plantation as there is a mature Beech wood and it is usually full of birds all winter long.

Redwings and their cousins Fieldfare are Thrushes and will be in St.Ives as long as there are berries on the trees. These can be seen anywhere with berry trees and they are usually in sizeable flocks. The resident Thrushes can also be seen in flocks joining the winter Thrushes so you may se 5 species in the same tree.

A Kingfisher was at Coppice Pond today. This is a welcome sight and a more fequent one in recent autumn / winters, possibly due to local breeding succes along Harden Beck.

There haven't been any Siskin or Redpoll numbers to speak of, just small numbers seen occasionally but this should change in the new year. No Crossbills were seen.

Feeding parties have formed and several are roaming the estate grounds. These usually consist of Goldcrests, Long-tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tits along with Treecreepers and Nuthatches. Occasionally Woodpeckers join in.

Other sightings today included:
4 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, 2 Jay & many Goldcrests.

8th October 2005

A short and rather wet walk around Coppice Pond and down into Cuckoo's Nest Wood produced few birds. Coppice Pond had at least 11 Coot and the usual gang of Mallards. A Jay was seen near the mansion buildings and a Treecreeper was doing it's thing, creeping up a tree, near the Pond car parking area.

Crossbill at last!

24/9/05
Bird sightings:

The long awaited sight of Crossbill occurred on Saturday 24th September when a flock consisting of one Crossbill flew from the Blantyre's Rock are heading towards Racecourse Plantation.
(See the link below to find out more about the Crossbill)
http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/c/crossbill/index.asp

At least 2 Chiffchaff are still present as were 8 House Martins though these may have been passing through. I had three sightings of Grey Wagtail but they may have been of the same bird. A pair of Treecreepers were spotted belwo Lady Blantyre's Rock.

Insects:
Red Admiral were seen passing through

28th August 2005

Birds:
still plenty of Chiffchaff calling "sveet" around the estate.
Both Blackcap and Willow Warbler are still present
Swallows and House Martins can be seen feeding over woods
Nuthatch, Treecreeper, & Great Spotted Woodpecker in woods
Bullfinches were seen feeding on Rowan berries at Coppice Bog
Small feeding parties of birds are now being formed
But still no sign of the Crossbills invasion in St.Ives.

Insects : Butterflies
Meadow Browns are still about but weather conditions weren't good for finding butterflies and dragonflies this weekend.

11th August 2005

18.10-19.00hrs Coppice pond area
several Chiffchaffs calling, Goldcrest family party
Immature Coot of various ages on Coppice Pond

6th August 2005 0900-1045

Birds:
Canada Geese with well grown young, Mallard
Sparrowhawk young heard calling again
Moorhen and Coot with young on Coppice Pond
Swallow, Great Spotted Woodpecker
Several Chiffchaff calling around the estate
Goldcrest with young in Racecourse Plantation
Nuthatch, Jay, Goldfinch etc

No sign of any Crossbills in St.Ives as yet

Butterflies:
Meadow Brown, Large White

Dragonflies:
Common Hawker

Crossbills are coming (?)

In recent weeks their have been reports of what could be an invasion by the Common Crossbill into Britain from the continent. This usually means that at some point during August St.Ives will have a varying population. In the past we have had flocks of over 100 Crossbills but we often get smaller flocks.

Crossbills are large finches with the tips of their mandibles crossed, hence the name. They prefer conifer plantations and Larch trees as they feed almost exclusively on the cones.

I will obviously post any sightings as soon as I see or hear some

30th July 2005 - 0730-0900

Birdlife:
Spotted fLycatcher feeding fledged young in trees near
the Harden entrance car park.
Sparrowhawk young heard calling near Lady Blantyre's Rock
Garden Warbler seen near Crossgates Barn
Little Owl seen in Whitecotes Barn wall facing bridlepath
Several Great Spotted Woodpeckers seen and heard throughout
listen for the explosive "Tchick!"call of the Woodpecker
Several Chiffchaff seen and heard throughout, listen for the
nasal "Sveet" call as well as young males trying to sing the
distinctive "chiff chaff chiff chaff"
Nuthatch and Treecreeper were also about with young

Butterflies:
Meadow Brown seen in the horse paddock off Blind Lane

Crayfish in Coppice Pond

The Crayfish in Coppice Pond have recently been identified as the native species, White-clawed Crayfish. More information can be found at http://www.english-nature.org.uk/default.asp

16th July 2005 - 0800-1030 hrs

Birds sightings all with fledged young:
Spotted Flycatcher in the memorial wood,
Little Owl, Nuthatch-lots down Blind Lane, Treecreeper
Great Spotted Woodpecker near the Druid sculpture,
Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Jay
Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch,
Coal Tit, Blue tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit,
Coot on Coppice Pond, Robin, Blackbird,
Pied Wagtail-several on the Turf research lawns,
Swallow, Chiffchaff.

Garden Warbler was behind Betty's Lodge up Blind Lane

Insects
Plenty of Meadow Browns about at the moment

Pond Life in the disused reservoir
hundreds of tadpoles, a few Water Beetles, Cadisfly larvae
Leeches,