Monday, 9 June 2014

Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th June

Juvenile Lapwing (note face colour and fringing) (c) Bark

Siblings in front of the hide (c) Bark

Shortened Crest (c) Mark Chivers

Juvenile Redshank (c) Bark

Grey Heron (c) Mark Chivers

Male and Female Broad Bodied Chasers (c) Bark
Occasionally very wet on Saturday especially in the morning and warm, beautiful and sunny on Sunday. The moor is looking stunning at the moment, still in the first flush of summer lush and green.
There is lots to be seen and the “springwatch effect” meant that by eleven on Sunday morning the carpark was completely full and visitors were having to park up the lane.
There is already a strong indication that this is going to prove to be a very good year for our breeding waders, although the results of monitoring and survey work will not be formally known until the autumn. I am seeing many more newly fledged Lapwing chicks in amongst the flock of post breeding adults, than I remember seeing over the last few years. The juveniles are recognisable by the ochre tinge to their faces and their comparatively short crest. There are also good numbers of young Redshanks to be seen flying around together in family groups of four or five and also individuals feeding and preening in front of the hide. The RSPB staff found twelve newly fledged Snipe on a survey last week and there are still good numbers to be seen and heard drumming over Greenaways and Big Otmoor.
It remains to be seen how other species fare but there are already plenty of young birds moving around the hedges in mixed parties whilst the adults set about producing second broods. There is also more positive information on the Turtle Doves and their chances of successful breeding. There are now at least three birds present and only one lonesome calling male, the other two birds being seen are behaving much more as a pair, the next thing to look out for is juveniles, they are capable of producing three broods in a good season before returning south. The bird calling from the oak tree on Sunday must be one of the most photographed ever. At one point on Sunday there were five mega lenses being aimed at it simultaneously and not a pair of binoculars in sight.
The Glossy Ibis, which from recent photos appears to be moulting some of its primaries, continued to make the rounds of its favourite feeding spots, sometimes disappearing for hours at a time. It seems to have taken to roosting in the dead tree with the herons nests, in front of the hide. The Herons look as though they have four chicks between the two nests and the youngsters can be seen being fed and at times teetering unsteadily on their platform. Out at the second screen three Common Terns are raising two chicks on the tern raft. Their hunting was frequently interrupted by need to challenge Kites, Black Headed Gulls and a Lesser black backed gull all of which entered their airspace while we were watching. They are feisty in the extreme and not the least bit intimidated by the size of their opponents.
A Marsh Harrier made irregular appearances at the reedbed over the weekend. With the increase in dragonfly numbers the Hobbies, up to four at times, were feeding close to the bridleway at times. Their fast low hunting technique is one of the great spectacles of summer on the moor. In a week or so the Cuckoos will depart but on Saturday morning five individuals were seen at the same time, in three or four weeks we may again be seeing Reed Warblers feeding their enormous “lodgers”.
More dragonflies of more species are now emerging and some pristine individuals could be seen on Sunday in the sunshine. Butterflies too will become more numerous and interesting as we move into high summer. Once we have passed the summer solstice I am looking forward to returning migrants, but until then will enjoy the richness of the season.

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