Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 28th September 2015:-
Swan numbers are stable at 60 birds, although today I saw five well-grown cygnets. It’s possible that the extra two are large enough to have flown in, but I may have missed them on previous counts. In support of the theory that it’s waterweed that has attracted the swans to the lake, the second highest September Coot count in the last 30 years was recorded: 115 birds is well above the historic average if less than last year’s 160. Coots also thrive on waterweed. Great-crested grebes have had a good breeding season on the lake with two sets of young birds. The long-term increase in Tufted ducks has given us a record September count of 30 birds. But the notable bird record was a Nuthatch calling in Horse Close Wood: this species breeds in Ashen Grove Wood, but is heard in Horse Close Wood only in the autumn. Like the abundant young Grey squirrels, they doubtless were attracted there by the good crop of acorns this year. With the moult over, resident song birds are starting their autumnal singing: Robins, Wrens and Great tits were all in song. House sparrow numbers remain low, with just the one heard, similarly the 10 starlings contrasts with September counts ten times this number in the 80s and 90s. Apart from the good acorn crop, there’s keys on the Ash trees, fruit on the Hawthorns of the hedge beside the Golf Course and Sloes in the hedge on the north-east boundary with the tube line. Just about enough for some Sloe gin! Leaf fall is just beginning on the Field maples and Limes. The Horse chestnuts are red-brown, but that’s from a severe infection this year with the leaf miner moth caterpillar.