|Whinchat (c) Ewan Urquart|
|...and from the other side (c) Ewan Urquart|
|Spot Fly (c) Bark|
|Linnet (c) Bark|
|Lesser Whitethroat (c) Bark|
|Rather battered Brown Hawker (c) Bark|
Passage migration is well under way. It is a much more relaxed and leisurely affair in Autumn when compared with Spring, when birds are driven by their breeding imperatives. Now they are feeding up, completing their moult and putting on fat for their journeys. Often they can be found in mixed flocks and at other times in family parties. This weekend we have had a fall of Whinchats on the moor and the ones and twos of last weekend had been replaced by a loose flock of about nine or ten birds in July’s Meadow and at least eleven or twelve out at the Pill. They were feeding and flycatching from the hedge that borders the Hundred Acre field, they were very active and lively, their fresh plumage epitomising the colours of the season.
In Long Meadow and in the Car Park Field there were still up to three Redstarts and two Spotted Flycatchers. There were plenty of warblers to be seen with large numbers of Lesser Whitethroats very noticeable in their very smart grey and white plumage. In one bush alone on Sunday morning there were at least fourteen. They always seem to be much easier to see at this time of year. There are several parties of Linnets to seen around the reserve with one very active group along the path to the second screen. There have only been a handful of Wheatears recorded on the moor over the last couple of weeks and it is likely that they are moving later this year due to the good weather now or perhaps even in response to the late spring.
Hobbies are taking advantage of the abundance of dragonflies and there have been up to six hunting over Greenaways and the reedbed. The adult female Marsh Harrier was seen over the Flood Field and the reedbed and there are still three juvenile Kestrels in residence. There are larger numbers of eclipse ducks to be seen out on the lagoons with Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveller and at least ten Wigeon amongst them. There are about twenty Teal on the rapidly diminishing pool in front of the hide. Waders are scarce on the reserve at present due to the lack of muddy feeding areas for them, but Green Sandpipers and Snipe were seen on both days.
The week ahead looks as though it will be warm and calm and we can hope for even more in the way of passage migrants, perhaps even our own Wryneck, which would be so much better than the one that I failed to see on the Downs!