|Feeding Goldfinch (c) Mark chivers|
Both visits this weekend were notable for the large roving flocks of mixed tits and warblers. They are especially obvious beside the bridle way and through the car park field. They really do contain a complete mixture of our breeding small passerines. Yesterday I picked out three species of tits Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and one juvenile Grasshopper Warbler as well. There is clearly safety in numbers and it is interesting how different species recognise each others alarm calls, almost like speaking foreign languages!
|Willowchiff and Whitethroat (c) Bark|
|Long-tailed Tit(c) JR|
Marsh Harriers were very much in evidence both over the reedbed and roving further afield.
morning there were three different individuals out from the first screen. One of them looked less familiar, appearing darker and with a smaller and less distinctive creamy cap. The three of them were interacting before two of them went down into the reedbed in their familiar area. Whilst watching them I had a flypast from a Bittern and I understand it was seen no less than three times on Friday.
|MarshHarrier (c) JR|
The Great Crested Grebe family continue to provide good value at the first screen and are having no difficulty finding enough fish for three chicks and two adults. They are feeding on fingerling pike and the occasional Rudd. I watched a chick swallow a small pike that was just a bit too long to go right down and it swam around for five minutes or so with the fish tail sticking out of its mouth like a strange pantomime moustache.
|Grebe selection (c) JR|
|Little Egrets including juveniles (c) JR|
On Friday a fine Whinchat was seen and photographed on the fence surrounding Big Otmoor. It seems an early date for this species to return as we tend to expect them to come through and stay awhile in mid to late August.
|Early Whinchat (c) Pat Galka|
Wader passage is now really getting underway. On Monday there were four Black tailed Godwits of the islandica sub species. The first Wood Sandpiper of the year was found evening taking our year list on to one hundred and forty one. there were at least two Ruff present and there has been a steady number of reports of Green sands.
|Islandica Blackwit, Wood Sand and Ruff (c) Badger|
In the next few weeks Brown Hairstreaks, one of our most important butterflies, will be on the wing. Already there have been reports of Purple Hairstreaks being seen one was found nectaring on brambles on
morning in Long Meadow. Let's hope that they have as good a season as the much scarcer Black Hairstreak had earlier this year.
|Painted Lady (c) Pete Law|