Monday, 29 April 2013

Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th April

Sedge in song (c) Bark

Whitethoat in carpark field (c) Bark

Coot Family (c) Bark

LTT Roman Road (c) Bark

Cuckoo flypast (c) Mark Chivers

"Grey Arrows" over Ashgrave (c) Mark Chivers

Greenaways Blackwit (c) Wayne Bull

Common Buzzard (c) Pat Galka
 After the all the harsh weather and flooding of recent months, this weekend the reserve was awash with birdsong and it really lifted the spirits. Vociferous Sedge Warblers and more rhythmic Reed Warblers called from the ditches and the reedbeds. The hedgerows were full of song as the other warbler species sought to make up for lost time taking up territory and pairing up. Over it all and almost continuously one or another Skylark cascaded its notes over the fields. At least three singing male Grasshopper Warblers reeled monotonously in the car park and sometimes could be picked out from amidst the froth of blackthorn flowers. At least two Cuckoos were calling on both days and could be seen flying fast between their songposts with their deceptively raptor like flight.
Lapwings are now flying up to challenge Crows, Kites and a Raven that are invading their airspace. A Black Tailed Godwit showed well in the second scrape on Greenaways and the birds of the weekend for me, were a pair of Whimbrel stalking around the sedges out on Ashgrave and easily viewable from the hide. Wheatears and Whinchats are still passing through and could be seen up at Noke and along the visitor trail to the first screen. On Sunday morning a drake Garganey was dozing at the back of the southern lagoon and two Barnacle Geese were feeding out on Ashgrave, the Whitefronted Geese have now finally departed. During the week several Hobbies have been seen and we regularly get a real influx during the first week of May with anything up to twenty birds perched on gates and fences of Greenaways and flying up to feed on the slow moving dangly legged St Marks flies.
The only other summer visitors that have yet to arrive arrive are Turtle Doves. They are our most threatened breeding bird and without their soft purring call, summer on the moor would just not be the same. I hope that over the next couple of weeks I will be able to report their safe arrival.

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