|Juvenile Willow warbler (c) JR|
Two exceptionally hot weekends with just a short heavy shower of rain on Friday the 19th to relieve the heat stress on the moor. By late morning the reserve has been very quiet as everything slows down to manage the hottest part of the day. Despite the weather being the same from day to day there are changes to be detected, that emphasise the point that nature seldom stays still.
|Adult Marsh Harrier (c) Bark|
Out at the reedbed there were about five newly arrived Teal and many other wildfowl that are now gathering together and starting to moult. Over the reedbed we counted four newly fledged Marsh Harriers. They are distinctive in their uniform chocolate coloured plumage, their custard coloured heads and the lack of ability to fly or land well when compared with the adults. Their landings at present are little more than barely controlled crashes, as they have yet to figure out what will take their weight and where exactly their feet are. The three adults that we have identified were hunting across the whole moor and sometimes returning with prey.
|Distant view of the G.C.G.s with two chicks (c) Bark|
|Common Tern (c) Bark|
|Bittern over the reedbed (c) JR|
|Distant record shot of Gropper (c) Bark|
Unusually this last weekend there was a reeling Grasshopper Warbler calling from a low tussock of grass about forty metres out on Greenaways. It was there both days and showing clearly in the open. It clearly had not read the i.d. guide that says that they are skulking birds that sing from within deep cover!
|Juvenile Stonechat from 9th July (c) Luke O'Byrne|
I have been sent a photograph of a very young juvenile Stonechat that was taken on the 9th July at the cattle pens. We did think that they might have bred out at the Pill last year and have occasionally thought that we had seen adult birds out in the north eastern part of Greenaways. Next year we will try to monitor them more closely if they are still here, as it will be a new breeding bird for the reserve if we can confirm it.
|Mistle Thrush (c) Bark and phonescoped Redstart (c) Steve Roby|
Long Meadow is beginning to repay a visit. Last weekend I found a family party of six young Mistle Thrushes feeding under the bushes and out in the freshly mown grass close to the Spinney. This is not a common species on and around the moor. This weekend S.R. found the first pair of Redstarts of the autumn passage. I went to look and we were rewarded by a brief sighting of a female flying out from the cover of a large bush to snatch some prey, it was probably a grasshopper as you walk through the grass they ping off in every direction.
|Young Reed Warbler (c) Bark|
|Brown Hairstreak (c) Bark|
We found our first Brown Hairstreak of the season in the carpark field on Sunday morning. It was on the ground and clearly very recently emerged, its colours were so bright, fresh and clean. There were also several of them on show high up in the “master ash” along the Roman Road, along with some Purple Hairstreaks.
|Froglet ideal for Cranes and Little Egrets|
The Common Cranes are still being seen as they move between feeding areas but with the abundance of grasshoppers and small froglets they do not have to go far to find food.
|Hot Hare (c) JR and Teasel (c) Bark|