Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 15th August 2015:-
Canada goose numbers were normal this month, with 100 birds feeding in the early morning on the grass of the public park. Egyptian goose numbers peak at this time of year, and there were 45 birds mixed in with the Canada geese, similar numbers to last year, so the increase of this species may be levelling off. The goose moult is over, but many white feathers from Mute Swans float on the lake. Swan numbers remain high at some 60 birds, including just three young birds. Some Coots breed late and some young chicks were seen. The fifty Coots is a high number for this time of year. It will be interesting to see whether the winter influx of Continental birds brings another record number. Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 15th August 2015:-Fish-eaters were scarce with lone Cormorants, Great-crested grebes and Grey herons, and no terns. There was much less weed in the lake than there was last summer, perhaps because the swans are keeping it down? There were some 100 starlings feeding out on the grass in post-breeding flocks, perhaps supplemented by some early arrivals from the Continent? There were no Swifts nor martins seen, but the Swift leaves early on migration. Interestingly, I heard two House martins flying over the stadium towards the lake a week ago on a visit to log plants. So, although I’ve had none on my monthly visits, small numbers call by still. Even the late breeding songbirds have now mainly finished breeding and are moulting, so I saw few Blackbirds and tits and no Blackcaps, Chaffinches, Chiffchaffs, Dunnocks, Greenfinches, thrushes nor woodpeckers. Robins are resuming singing, however. The only goldfinch seen was interesting, as it was feeding on creeping thistle seeds in the “wildflower meadow” by the brook. The thistle is a natural colonist there and some might consider it to be a “weed” in this context. The goldfinch obviously hadn’t been told! Some large Woodpigeon youngsters were still being fed by their parents at the nest, but most were out on the grass feeding independently as were the family parties of Carrion crows and Magpies. Water plants flowering in the upper brook included Great-hairy willowherb, Redshank, and Water mint. A white-flowered Cyclamen was seen by the main track in the western part of Horse Close Wood. There’s a good crop of acorns this year and so far only a small proportion are affected by the knopper gall.