Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Panshanger Park and Kings Mead

Panshanger Park and Kings Mead - 23rd September 15

Weather: Sunny early on, clouding over later. Fairly strong wind.

Bird Total: 28
Plus: Cattle; Grey Squirrel.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Bluebottle; Crane Fly; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly; Midge; Nursery Web Spider.
Plus: Comma, Large White, Speckled Wood butterflies.
Plus: Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

After a couple of days of poor weather, today was forecast to be sunny until mid-afternoon. A good call this time and, although it was a little windy, it was quite warm in the sunshine.

Today Barry and I decided to visit a couple of new places. Neither of us had been to either Panshanger Park or Kings Mead, so we had to rely on the SatNav to get us to our destinations. We found Panshanger with not too much of a problem, but we faced a few difficulties later on, finding a parking spot and then the entrance to Kings Mead.

Unfortunately both Reserves proved to be a little disappointing. Possibly because we didn't really know where to go or maybe it was that time of year. We did have a pretty good walk around but the birding proved to be a bit thin.

Panshanger Park comprises a mosaic of habitats such as lakes, river, woodland and reed-bed.

A view of the Panshanger lakes.
We arrived a little after 10, after being caught in heavy traffic. We then hotfooted it down to the lakes. The Osprey had long gone, unfortunately, but it looked like it had taken a few birds with it, as there didn't seem to be much about. However, we did see four or five Little Grebes; a pair of Little Egret; several Shoveler and a flyby Great Spotted Woodpecker. We walked what we thought was a circuit of the area, finishing up by walking through the Woodland. However, it was very quiet. By far the most numerous species here were the Dog-walkers.

We then set off for Kings Mead. After wandering up and down the road, trying to find a golf-course to park the car, we eventually realised that said Golf Course was closed, with building work going on. Parking the car under the flyover, we headed into the Reserve.

Kings Mead is a collection of water meadows with a combination of ditches and flood-water. |It's quite a big Reserve but we tried to cover as much as we could, before the clouds came over. We walked straight to the West and East Pools, where we could see plenty of wildfowl, including Shoveler and Teal. Overhead we saw a lone Buzzard and then a Kestrel hunting over one of the Meads. The only wader we saw all day was a lone Lapwing. A Chiffchaff showed well, briefly, while we were having lunch.

On the odonata front we spotted quite a few Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers, some posing quite close to us. There weren't too many butterflies around, just one or two Speckled Woods and a few Large Whites, the usual for this time of year. There were disappointingly few insects about.

There have been some good birds here recently, but all had departed. Earlier in the day a regular bird-watcher here had seen a Stonechat and some Lesser Redpoll, but they had eluded Barry and I.

A fairly disappointing day but it was nice to be out and about in the warm sunshine. Rain is forecast tomorrow but the changeable weather continues with more sun the following day.

The silly season continued on the trains, with another late arrival.

A man was complaining to a rail-road engineer.
'What's the use of having a train schedule if the trains are always late.'
The rail-road engineer replied:
'How would we know they were late, if we didn't have a schedule?'