Monday, 20 May 2013

Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th May

Hobby (c) Bark

Cronking Raven (c) Bark

Roe Doe on Ashgrave (c) Bark

Common Tern at second screen (c) Bark

Sedgie one way (c) Bark

and facing the other way (c) bark

Grass snake on the reeds (c) Bark

Two Heron chicks (c) Badger

Early morning Barn Owl (c) Mark Chivers (Early Birder)

After a week in the Mediterranean the moor seemed chilly on Saturday but on Sunday it was the perfect May morning warm, sunny and calm. It was extraordinary how green it had all become in the ten days since my last visit. Not just one shade but a vibrant range of fresh lush greens as all the trees and hedgerow herbage makes up for lost time.

There was plenty to see. There had been two Barn Owls hunting over the reedbed on Saturday and on Sunday one was still sitting on a post and patrolling over the footpath at seven thirty in the morning. A Hobby alternated between the posts at the side of the bridleway and the oak trees giving exceptional views, later on Sunday afternoon there were at least twelve feeding over Greenaways. It was very encouraging to see two separate pairs of Turtle Doves on Sunday morning, one pair favouring the Roman Road area and the other the wires by the pumphouse. There are two Common terns that appear to have taken up residence on the tern raft and one of them was definitely creating a nesting scrape. They are very territorial, chasing off a stray Black Headed Gull that tried to perch on the raft.

The Herons in the dead oak tree in front of the hide have two newly hatched young. As the chicks grow they will be making frequent feeding flights and should show well. This is the first successful hatch from this location for three years. A pair of Gadwall on the closes, near to the hide, have seven “gadlings” and elsewhere there are a number of Greylags and Canada Geese with goslings in tow. Ravens were seen and heard both days with one being harried off by a pair of Carrion Crows.

The Curlew Sandpiper seen during the week has moved on along with the six Dunlin that it was accompanying, I have also had confirmation of the Spotted Redshank seen several weeks ago. This brings our year tally up to one hundred and thirty nine species. I have also had a report of a Cettis Warbler heard along the visitor trail that runs south from the hide and would welcome any corroboration.

There were Hairy Dragonflies on the wing this weekend and two species of Damselfly were also reported. Snakes are to be seen basking beside the visitor trail when the sun comes out. The flattened reeds beside the ditch next to the bridle way is an excellent place to spot these reptiles. As the weather warms up it will be worth looking carefully at the area of broken pots and logs by the first screen to try to see common Lizards. Birding in the Med is exciting but it was nice to be back with the familiar at such a beautiful time of year.

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