Monday, 18 August 2014

Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th August (Part two)

Both Pics (c) Tezzer

It was cooler this weekend than I can remember for quite a while and although it warmed up on both days autumn was in the air both in the weather and in the wildlife. It was yet another weekend when lots was going on and there was lots to be seen.
Juvenile Turtle dove (c) Bark
I was especially pleased to find a couple of juvenile Turtle Doves in the car park field and then on the wires by the pump house. Fortunately I managed to get a reasonable record shot of one of them, which close examination at home has confirmed it as a juvenile and not just wishful thinking on my behalf. They managed three broods on the moor last year and perhaps they could still be in the process of producing a third, the last juveniles found in 2013 were not seen until mid September.
Greenshank (c) John Reynolds

Green Sand (c) John Reynolds
The shallow scrapes on Greenaways are attracting passage waders with Green Sand, Greenshank and a young Little Ringed Plover present on both days this weekend. Sadly we could find no sign of the Stint Sp. reported on Friday. Out at the first screen, where most of the action has been recently there were a pair of Black Tailed Godwits as well as up to thirty Snipe. 
Blackwit at the first screen (c) Bark
As I have already said in a previous posting  there was a surprising piece of hunting when a Grey Heron took, flew with and then swallowed a very large Jack Pike. 

Both Pics (c) Bark
In contrast a couple of diminutive fishermen gave superb close views from the same place. I have frequently seen Pied Kingfishers hovering while they hunted but seldom seen it from our native birds. One particular bird hovered frequently a matter of metres out from the screen allowing Tezzer to take some quite extraordinary pictures one of which is at the top of this blog posting. The same individual spent some time sitting on the island just in front of us allowing even me the chance to get some decent pictures.

Kingfisher on island (c) Bark
Seven species of raptor have been seen this week and we now think that there may be three different Marsh Harriers around. At one moment on Sunday morning we had two marsh Harriers two Kestrels and  a Red Kite all in the same patch of sky at the same time. The Red Kites and the Marsh Harriers can have very contentious interactions.
Harrier and disgruntled Lapwings (c) John Reynolds
Another sign of autumn is the return passage of Whinchats with three present up by the farm at Noke. Redstarts are also being seen frequently along the paths and in Long Meadow, both adults and juveniles. Sometimes all that can be seen is a flash of that red gold tail as one swoops out of a hedge to seize prey. The old name of “Fireflirt” seems particularly appropriate, that beautiful flash of warm gold tail also seems to presage the colours of autumn.

Fireflirt (c) Andy Last
Lizards at the screen (c) Bark
Common Lizards seem to have bred well if the numbers on view at the “Lizard Lounge” are anything to go by. I saw six at the same time on Sunday.
I am grateful to Tom Nicholson-Lailey for sending me some great pictures of the Starling roost, which is currently getting under way. At least four thousand birds have been estimated and as the season progresses their numbers will be swollen with more birds coming over from the continent. At present they are coming in to roost right in front of the screen giving spectacular views.

Starling Roost (c) Tom Nicholson - Lailey

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