|Wheatear between the screens (c) Bark|
|Large Dragonfly ovipositing....Brown Hawker??? (c) Bark|
|These boots are made for walking!!|
|Long Meadow Redstart (c) Badger|
|Another (c) Badger|
|Reedbed Whinchat (c) Badger|
|Eclipse Garganey(c) Badger|
Autumn passage is now well under way and increasing numbers of waders are beginning to move through. There were still at least ten Green Sandpipers present over the whole weekend. On Sunday a Sparrowhawk made a low stealthy approach to the muddy areas out from the first screen and almost succeeded in grabbing one. In doing so it made them easy to count as they flushed noisily. Two Greenshanks, two Redshanks and a Ruff were seen flying over the Ashgrave scrape/lagoon on both days. Lapwing numbers are continuing to build and at least two hundred were seen coming in from the north. Different parties of Snipe could be seen from time to time, as passing raptors caused them to flush, groups of over twenty individuals were common. In the hedgerow along the path between the two screens there were Whinchats present on both days and Wheatears on Saturday. At least six Redstarts were present on Saturday morning. Kingfishers are now being seen regularly on the perches in front of both screens and Water Rails are often picked up pottering about on the reedy edges visible from the first screen. On Saturday an eclipse Garganey was present in the same area.
By ‘scoping from the footpath on the western edge of Ashgrave it is possible, with patience, to scan parts of the Ashgrave lagoon. As well as a large number of Black Headed Gulls there were two immature Lesser Black Backs and a slightly larger immature Yellow-legged Gull, a first for the year. Also of note among the commoner ducks were a female Mandarin, six early Wigeon and over twenty Shoveller. At least six Little Grebes could be made out, two pairs of which were feeding young. At least twenty five Gadwall were on the Northern lagoon in front of the second screen.
Little Egrets are ubiquitous, as are Grey Herons,which are so often taken for granted and barely noticed. With water levels good as we move into autumn, we can anticipate winter wildfowl with more confidence that was possible this time last year.