Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th September

Bird of the week: Little Stint (c) Mark Chivers both pics
 Calm grey starts to the days this weekend but giving way mid morning to warm sunshine. The moor seemed very still with barely a breath of wind and as I arrived on Saturday morning all I could hear was a very quiet sub-song coming from a Willow Warbler feeding in the briars and a couple of Chiffchaffs calling along the Roman Road. On Saturday I had the place entirely to myself until mid morning, which was its own particular pleasure. As over the last few weeks, finding a mixed feeding flock is always rewarding and this weekend was no different. In amongst the Great Tits and the Long Tails were all the expected warblers including a Garden Warbler and several Blackcaps. Along the trail to the first screen I was pleased to find the first returning Stonechat of the autumn in company with a couple of Whinchats. 
Whinchat (c) Bark
It was a single male but by Sunday it seemed to have moved on. A Wheatear was on the large pile of manure just beside the gate onto Closes on Saturday morning. There were still five Redstarts and a single Spotted Flycatcher in Long Meadow.
Harrier (c) John Reynolds

Two over the reedbed (c) Bark

Lone male? over Greenaways
There are currently at least three and possibly four Marsh Harriers hunting over the reserve, at one time on Sunday morning three were visible at the same time and later a mature male was reported and none of those three were mature males....hence possibly four. At one time two Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, two Kites and a Common Buzzard were all occupying the same sector of the sky, and clearly from their interaction, not happy to share it.
The interest this weekend however switched away from passerines and on to waders. At least two
Common Sandpiper Monday (c) John Reynolds
Green sandpipers were present and most easily seen on the Greenaways scrape. On Sunday they were accompanied at times by a very inconspicuous Ringed Plover. There was still at least one Black Tailed Godwit favouring the lagoon in front of the first screen and also a Greenshank that came and went from time to time calling loudly. Two Ruff also dropped in on Sunday.
Calling Greenshank (c) Bark
The highlight was a Little Stint that turned up in front of the screen on Sunday afternoon. There was also a Little Ringed Plover with it that really served to emphasise the tiny nature of the Stint. On Saturday morning a Golden Plover was heard flying over yet another indicator of the changing seasons. I am sure that the passage of waders is not yet over, as the water evaporates more and better feeding areas will be exposed and so we might look forward to other passage visitors. Perhaps a Pectoral Sandpiper, a Lesser Yellowlegs or some other exciting and unusual American visitor will return and spend some time out on the moor.
Grey Heron (c) John Reynolds

Strike ! (c) John Reynolds

Heron (c) Andy Last

Little egret pics (c) Andy Last
Even without the waders there was a lot to see at the screen with Herons and Little egrets performing out on the lagoon and even the odd Bittern flying past. From careful observation there would appear to be at least two Bitterns present. The Egrets in particular are hoovering up the small fry in the shallows. The fish are also being targeted by several Kingfishers that are becoming increasingly tolerant of observers and taking advantage of the perches around the edges.
Kingfisher on a convenient post (c) John Reynolds
Over the next few weeks there will be lots to look out for and perhaps a few surprises, its a great time of year.
I'll be watching too (c) Bark

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