Bird Champion Daniel Canning has been exploring the Wild Trail!

Posted by: Sarah Ryan
Posted on: 23rd August 2016
Posted in: Birds, Native Species

Daniel Blog title

Native bird champion Daniel Canning has been back at Knowsley Safari, investigating the Wild Trail in the summer sunshine!

When I visited on Monday, it was a lovely morning and very warm.  We headed straight to the Wild Trail.  On our way, around the fairground we were greeted by blue tits and great tits.  Arriving at the Wild Trail we saw 3 robins hopping around the European Moose enclosure.  We also saw (and heard) a Great Spotted Woodpecker on a dead tree in the European Moose enclosure.  After a quick wander through the rest of the Wild Trail, we added Nuthatch, Goldcrest and Jay to the list. We stopped and waited at Mizzy Lake, to look and photograph the Great Crested Grebes feeding and Mallards in eclipse.

Blog 2 - Female Blackcap

After a while of looking and photographing, the first surprise turned up. A little group of 3 Grey Wagtails by the fence running through the middle of the lake. A few minutes later, I heard a high pitched call, and saw a Kingfisher flying over my head into the Wild Trail woodland and beyond. In its beak was what looked like a fish or something like that, so I guessed that it may be feeding young. We waited by the lake, to see if it would return. 5-10 minutes later, the Kingfisher came back, and flew in to the trees and bushes on the other side of Mizzy Lake, out of view. A couple of minutes later, it flew out of the bushes and was heading towards the Wild Trail. When suddenly, out of nowhere, a second Kingfisher appeared by the fence close to the beginning of the Wild Trail, and both the Kingfishers had, what looked like from the distance I was from it, a little fight. The fight was a brief blur of blue and orange, before one of them gave up; and flew straight towards me! At the last moment, it veered into the Wild Trail, leaving me gobsmacked at what I had just seen!

Blog 2 - Great Crested Grebe

For about an hour, the Kingfishers entertained us, although we only saw them in flight. I now think they were feeding their second brood of young in their nest (a tunnel in a sandy bank, bank as in the edge of a river or something, not the bank where you get your money) far to the left of the Wild Trail, possibly on Lord Derby’s estate.

Blog 2 - Kingfisher_a

One thing this has shown me is that it pays to linger in one place and to be patient.  So why don’t you go down to Mizzy Lake and see if you can spot the Kingfishers!  I’d advise going as early in the day as you can, the earlier the better.

So without further ado, here are the sightings (most of which I have told you about, but oh well!)


Wild Trail:

3 Robin

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

1 Wren

2 Nuthatch

1 Jay

1 Goldcrest

3 Great Tits

1 Chaffinch

Mizzy Lake:

2 Great Crested Grebes (1 adult, 1 young)

2 Kingfishers

40 Canada Geese

1 Jay

10 Greylag Geese

2 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls

8 Coots

20 Mallard (Mostly males in eclipse)

5 Tufted Ducks (2 adults, 3 young)

3 Grey Wagtail

2 Black Headed Gulls

3 Moorhen (2 adults, 1 young)

3 Blackcap (1 adult female, 2 young; in an ivy covered bush/tree to the left of the path, by the fence)

1 Grey Heron

2 Little Grebes (1 adult, 1 young)

Article by: Sarah Ryan


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