Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Start of September

Wheatear Long meadow (c) Bark
Very quiet this weekend but still some interesting bits and pieces. Given a good measure of patience Long meadow is a rewarding place to stand. I saw at least three Redstarts in there on Saturday around midday close to the entrance. Earlier on in the morning and much further in, there had been eleven, along with sixteen Lesser Whitethroats and a couple of Spotted Flycatchers.

Long Meadow Redstarts (c) Bark
There were two Whinchats and a very tatty juvenile or moulting Stonechat close to the farm at Noke on Sunday. They were accompanied by a single female Wheatear. By midday there were at least six Whinchats feeding out in the middle of Greenaways in a freshly mown patch of grass they too were accompanied by a Wheatear.
Juvenile Goldfinch (c) JR

There has been some work carried out near the balancing pond at Noke. The disturbance however has not put off a couple of juvenile Kingfishers from taking up residence there. Scope views of them showed the juveniles diagnostic white tip to the bill and still some vermiculation on the breast. A family of Green Woodpeckers can often be seen near the pond, feeding in the close cropped sheep fields and occasionally yaffling loudly and flying up into the big oak tree if they feel threatened. There may still be a couple of late broods of Swallows in the sheep byre. The adults can be seen flying in and out. Swallows are often hawking insects over and around the large oak trees and other times picking flying insects up just a foot or so above the ground. The Swallows are also perching up on the wires around the farm and chattering away. It is easy when they are perched up like this, to see the difference between the adults and the youngsters

Lapwing (c) JR
The muddy area in front of the first screen is still expanding as the water levels continue to drop. It is proving very attractive to Snipe and Lapwings and on Saturday morning hosted a couple of elegant Greenshanks. The Lapwings were frequently flushed by the young Peregrine that has been frequenting Noke Sides and the reedbed for the last couple of weeks. On one occasion it pursued a Snipe out over Greenaways before giving up and on another it tried to grab a Mallard that promptly dived out of sight. As the sheer numbers of birds start to build over the late autumn there will surely be more than just one Peregrine present.

Peregrine above and Greenshanks below (c) Nick Truby
Hobbies are still feeding over and around the reserve. Larger dragonfly numbers are peaking now and they provide the Hobbies with abundant food. The Hobbies will probably stay with us for the rest of the month before following the last Hirundines as they head off on their southward migration. There are always a couple of weeks when Merlin and Hobby are both present at the same time, the latter much easier to see than the former.
It has been noticeable just how many more Greenfinches there are in and around the feeders in the carpark field, there is also a growing population along the bridleway at Noke and in the vicinity of the Wetland Watch. This is a species that is particularly susceptible to an avian form of a parasitic trichomonosis. Their numbers had fallen steeply over the last five years but this year has seen a local improvement in numbers.
Chiffy  (c) Bark

The Hawthorns and the Brambles are heavily laden with fruit and berries; the Blackthorn however has a much poorer crop of sloes this year. This may reflect the wetter conditions in early spring that probably made insect pollination more sporadic.

Finally, the Purple Heron was not reported on Saturday but made a brief appearance, according to RBA, on Monday and was flushed this morning (Tuesday) from the ditch beside the diagonal track on Greenaways relocating to the north eastern side of the field. I have felt very sorry for the number of birders who have made long journeys to try to catch up with the bird, spent ages standing around only eventually to go away disappointed.
Comma (c) Bark
Long Meadow Fire-flirts please view at 1080p HD

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