Monday, 23 June 2014

Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd June Mid Summer

Anxious Redshank (c) Bark

Serene Grebe (c) Bark

Cuckoo awaiting her chance (c) Bark

Goldfinch looking to breed again (c) Bark

Advertising Dunnock (c) Bark

Tufty and offspring (c) Bark
Elusive Ibis (c) Badger

One of the last of the class of 2014 (c) Bark
The Summer Solstice arrived with real summer weather, warm and sunny. Already the effects of a mild spring can be seen in the large numbers of newly fledged birds in the hedgerows. Whilst in no way an empirical judgement my strong feeling is that this has been an exceptionally good year for breeding passerines and also for our breeding waders. Many adult birds are now singing their readiness for a second brood, while others can be seen carrying nesting material. There are still Lapwings and Redshanks with unfledged chicks on most of the fields, but now a passing Kite will only get a few parents coming up to challenge it and the Kites visits are much more sporadic and random.
A large number of ducks in various stages of moult and in eclipse plumage are loafing on the southern lagoon in front of the first screen. There are also still occasional Tufted Ducks, Pochard and Gadwall swimming about with newly hatched ducklings in tow. The water levels on this part of the reedbed have been lowered significantly and this should give us some nice muddy margins and good feeding areas for returning passage waders. Two Oystercatchers favoured the new scrapes on Big Otmoor and were present both days.
The Glossy Ibis was still present this weekend but was very reluctant to show itself, the grass is now very high across the reserve and even herons dropping down into it disappear. The Heronry has two pairs of chicks that are getting very large on both of the nests. It will be very interesting to see how the heronry develops over the next few years and whether or not the ever present Little Egrets will move in as breeders.
A Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over both the reedbeds and over Greenaways. Three Ravens, one a younger bird spent over an hour perched up on the fence in the middle of Big Otmoor, perhaps suggesting local breeding. Hobbies as usual took advantage of the very abundant dragonflies. Cuckoos were still trying to deposit eggs in Reed Warbler nests and at least three were present.
As is usual at this time of year when the birding goes a little quieter, interest shifts to the abundant and varied invertebrate life on the moor, especially Dragonflies and Butterflies. A Clouded Yellow was seen over the weekend and good numbers of Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns and Ringlets could be found. July’s Meadow (to the south of the main Hide) is particularly good as it has a rich flora and is being managed partly for butterflies. I failed to find any of the Black Hairstreaks that were reported last week from the footpath just outside the carpark, but they are on the wing and are worth seeking out. Any records from around the reserve would be welcome. Next month  the Silver Washed Fritillaries will be on the wing and sometimes straying out of the woods onto Ashgrave. The silver in their name does not reflect their stunning orange- gold colouration and I really look forward to seeing such beauties on the reserve, flitting in the sunshine like flying tangerines.
Finally after the negative vandalism reported last week it is great to have the opportunity to report something much more positive. When coming through Beckley it is worth stopping and having a quick look at the newly decorated phone box, a brilliant artwork from the children of the village primary school, their teachers and parents. Well done.
Bug Supplement
Black Tailed Skimmer (c) Badger

Clouded Yellow (c) Badger
Marbled White (c) Bark

Skipper sp. (c) Bark

Ringlet ? (c) Bark

Red Admiral (c) Bark

Long Horned Beetle (c) Bark

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