Monday, 17 March 2014

Saturday and Sunday 15th and 16th March


Lovelorn Beardie (c) Bark

Shovellers over the reedbed (c) Bark

Oystercatcher (c) Badger

Shelduck (c) Badger

Amourous Grebes (c) Andy Last
Chiffy (c) Mike Flemming

Calling Curlew  (c) Mike Flemming

Singing Songthrush (c) Andy Last
Comma (c) Darrell Wood
Small Tortoiseshell (c) Bark
I was chatting to a friend as we walked round on Sunday. We were reflecting that there is a time early in every spring when it all seems to go quiet for a couple of weeks. All our excited anticipation of new arrivals and rarities seems to get ahead of events. It was a bit like that this weekend. There was stunning weather and perfect water levels but neither my anticipated Garganey or Wheatears showed up. It was probably more to do with my impatience than than anything else, I must learn to wait.
There was plenty to see, but only one addition to the yearlist, an Oystercatcher that was feeding around the pool in front of the hide on Saturday morning.  The carpark area is loud with birdsong in the mornings and Chiffchaffs are now adding their signature call to the soundscape. There are still significant numbers of ducks around but they are much more scattered over the whole reserve, large numbers are loafing out of sight on the Flood Field and only show themselves when flushed by one of the regular Peregrines. There were also a pair of Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlins amongst them. One of the Godwits was already starting to moult into its brick red breeding colours. Redshanks and Curlews can be heard all day calling and flying in display. There appear to be more Redshank present than I remember last year but that is speculative rather than definite. Five Shelduck were present on the lagoon on the western side of Ashgrave on both days.
Reed Buntings are prominent and again there seem to be really good numbers of them, it may be that the mild winter has resulted in a better survival rate. Several small parties of Tree Creepers were seen both along the bridle way and in the oaks behind the first screen. The female Bearded tit was seen regularly and appears to be on her own. She is very mobile and very vocal, which suggests a bird in search of a mate, perhaps the male seen earlier in the year has succumbed to a predator or has moved on. Both Barn and Short-eared Owls were seen over the weekend, I had a very close encounter with a Barn Owl which I flushed from bush, it was so close I could have touched it, I don’t know who was more startled me or the Owl. Two Otters were seen along the bridle way early on Saturday morning.
With clearer nights and no fog there will be more migratory movement and our summer visitors will start to arrive soon. I’m looking forward to next weekend already.

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