Migrant Blackcaps arrived on Hilly Fields in early April this year, perhaps slightly delayed by uncooperative weather. Three males were seen in the park that month, but there was no sight or sound of that other common spring migrant, the Chiffchaff. The highest count during our monthly survey was 60 Starlings. A Greenfinch was heard of which more later. The Black-headed and Common Gulls that had been living off the Hilly Fields worm population all winter were gone. The complete count was 3 Blackbird, 3 Blackcap, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Crow, 1 Collared Dove, 4 Goldfinch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Magpie, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 7 Robin, 60 Starling, 1 Stock Dove, 4 Woodpigeon, 8 Wren.
|Starlings gang up on lone Gull.|
The highlight of our May survey was seeing five Nuthatch fledglings. This is the second, possibly the third year in a row that Nuthatches have nested in the park. Perched on a maple branch close to where the path separates the north and east fields, they waited while their parents scouted for food. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers was also seen and five Swifts soaring overhead at one point. The complete count was 3 Blackbird, 2 Blackcap, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Crow, 10 Goldfinch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Great Tit, 1 Herring Gull, 10 House Sparrow, 2 Magpie, 7 Nuthatch, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Ring-necked Parakeet, 10 Robin, 30 Starling, 5 Swift, 3 Woodpigeon, 4 Wren.
During our June survey, we were surprised to hear two Chiffchaffs singing. As we haven't heard or seen them in April and May, it's unlikely they've nested in the park, but more likely to be visiting from another local site. We also saw a female Greenfinch on the Lane which is not a common sight. Greenfinches are not fazed by humans staring through binoculars at them or pointing cameras and will stay in the same position for as long as it suits them. You can just about see the 'heavy-looking conical bill' (RSPB).
On the opposite side of the Lane, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker preened for at least five minutes which means I should really have got a better photo. But there you are.
The complete count for June was 3 Blackbird, 2 Blackcap, 2 Blue Tit, 4 Crow, 2 Feral Pigeon, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 3 House Sparrow, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Magpie, 2 Nuthatch, 3 Ring-necked Parakeet, 7 Robin, 3 Starling, 1 Swift, 2 Woodpigeon, 6 Wren.
Incidentally, if you're wondering where 'the Lane' is or any other locations mentioned, take a look at our new site map on the home page and right click on it to get a readable version.
Reminder: our new booklet Birds of Hilly Fields, produced by the Friends of Hilly Fields, has been selling well, despite lockdown. The feedback has been good, but we still have plenty of copies in stock. At present, it's available online (see link below) and can be purchased either by itself at £3.50 or with a tote cotton bag and postcards for £10. The link is https://supportmylocal.org/store/rachel-mooney/ We deliver to your door within a radius of 2 miles and all profits go to the Friends of Hilly Fields.