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Winter Birds in Grosvenor & Hibert Park
Although the variety of birds on offer in the winter may be less than the spring and summer, the bare trees give us a chance to get some great views of the woodland birds, especially as they are now busy establishing pair bonds and territories for the Spring. A walk through the wood on the boardwalks, early morning, will reveal many active Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Wrens, Robins and Dunnocks. Also look out for Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other through the trees and listen for their distant drumming. Occasionally you will here the loud ringing, laughing cry of the Green Woodpecker.
Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Kingfisher are all regular visitors to Grosvenor & Hilbert Park.
Movements on a nearby tree trunk will alert you to the bark hugging Treecreeper and Nuthatch. The former always works his way, mouse-like, up a tree, prising out any juicy grub from the bark, whilst the blue and cream Nuthatch is often seen facing downwards as it forages for morsels.
Goldcrests are often heard before they are seen with their high pitched, rapid, wispy song, but then with patience, soon reveal themselves amongst the branches, always moving and flitting about, sometimes hovering to pick off little spiders and insects from underneath branches, usually conifers.
Colourful Jays are more noticeable this time of year, they have not got the leaf cover to skulk in and alert you to their presence with raucous squawks.
As the mild weather continues winter thrushes are fewer than normal so any glimpses of Redwings and Fieldfares will be cherished sightings. Check out any berry laden bushes and trees and listen for the “zeeeet” of Redwings and the chatter of Fieldfares as they fly over.
Other winter birds to look out for are Redpolls and Siskins. Often seen in small twittering flocks in silver birch trees around the woodland edges and allotments, sometimes with Goldfinches and Greenfinches.
Check out the playing fields for the large Mistle Thrush, collecting worms, they are early nesters and are usually on eggs by February/March.
A Kingfisher has been seen regularly throughout the winter, by the lake and the woodland stream. They move away from their breeding territories in winter and can often turn up in gardens if a well stocked pond is on offer.
The lake itself seems to have a resident group of Black-headed Gulls accompanying the Moorhens and Mallards. The gulls visit the lake to grab any bread handouts and then loaf around on the nearby buildings. The black dot behind the eye is all that remains of their chocolate coloured hood of the summer plumage.
Contributed by John Reeves
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