It felt a little more like summer this weekend with bright sunshine and no rain for a couple of days. On both mornings when I arrived there was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the car park field. Although not like April and May there is still a dawn chorus to be heard.
|Little Egrets going to roost (c) Tom N-L and Roosting (c) JR|
What are most noticeable now are the mixed feeding parties of newly fledged Warblers and Tits, with custard coloured blue tits and warblers that still sport a few downy feathers and remnants of a gape. Along the bridleway I watched a young Reed Warbler still being fed by the parents despite being out of the nest. A Nuthatch in the bridleway oak trees was an unusual sighting on Sunday morning.
|Long tailed Tits and a juvenile Chiffchaff (c) JR|
On both mornings there were Snipe drumming overhead and “chipping” from the sedges and tussocks. It seems likely that they have had a very successful year, the wet weather has ensured that the ground has remained soft and suitable for birds that need to probe for their food.
|Chipping Snipe (c) JR|
On Sunday morning there were over two hundred Lapwings on Noke Sides. Scanning through them I could see that at least a third of them were juveniles, they have slightly “nicotine stained” faces, have shorter tails and shorter slighter crests. It suggests that our breeding Lapwings have had a good year.
|Reedbed Bittern (c) JR|
I spent some time on both days watching Bitterns from the high seat on the eastern side of the reedbed. We are observing and recording to see if there is any pattern or significance to their movements within the reedbed. It is important to establish where the best and most productive feeding areas are.
There were very large numbers of
Swifts feeding low over the reedbed on Saturday morning. It was a little
disconcerting at times to have them whizzing past at eye level at times almost
parting my hair!
|Bittern (c) Norman Smith|
|Close Swifts (c) JR|
Marsh Harriers are still patrolling over the reedbed and Greenaways. We have seen them carrying prey items into the reeds and emerging without it, I saw such an event on Sunday. This morning (Monday) Paul Greenaway saw the first very uncertain flight of a juvenile bird over the reedbed before it crash landed in a low bush. Thus proving that they have bred successfully for the second year running. We have no way of knowing yet how many have been fledged but over the next week or so it will become clear. Once again we will have the pleasure of watching the food passes and squabbles as the young birds start to fly properly. It once again highlights the quality of the habitat that the RSPB have created on what was once poor arable farmland.
|Kestrel (c) JR|
A Kestrel was seen twice on Sunday carrying off prey towards the south of Ashgrave. They have not been recorded breeding on the reserve itself but often adults and newly fledged young appear down on the moor as the summer progresses.
|Black Hairstreak (c) Pete Roby|
The sunshine has encouraged more butterflies and dragonflies to emerge. Black Hairstreaks have been recorded last week and this weekend along the bridleway and the Roman Road, both pristine and rather tatty individuals have been spotted.
Many more large
Dragonflies are now on the wing, there were significant numbers of Brown Hawkers
seen on Sunday. As a result, the Hobbies are taking advantage of this abundant
food supply and hunting along and over the ditches on Greenaways.
|Darter sp. (c)Tom N-L|
Parties of eclipse ducks and well grown ducklings are on the southern reedbed loafing and preening out their old plumage.
There are now a pair of Great Crested Grebes transporting at least
two stripy chicks around on their backs, always good to see.
|Actually three chicks! (c) Norman Smith|
|Wycliffe and Maple Glory (c) Roger Wyatt|
Soon there will be post breeding Kingfishers taking advantage of the fry in the shallows and the first returning waders will be on the scrapes. Sometimes the year seems to go round too quickly.
|Otmoor Hare reacting to news of Brexit. (c) JR|