Thursday, 18 July 2019

Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th July

Reed Bunting (c) JR

A changeable weekend with a warm and sunny day on Saturday and a much cooler fresher day on Sunday.
Things have quietened down on the reserve except at the first screen where the Black headed Gull colony from Big Otmoor seems to have decamped to en masse. The gulls are still breeding, and chicks can be seen at every stage of development.
BHG family (c) Bark
On one or two of the nests that are on the edge of the reeds there are still adult birds sitting on eggs. They are very noisy neighbours to each other and behave aggressively to any other birds straying close to their young, even if they pose no threat at all. The colony generates a great deal of noise and they can be heard from the main bridleway path. 

Short and squat to tall and elegant (c) Bark
Several Little Egrets now are using the muddy spit at the back of the lagoon as an area to rest up on. When one of these birds landed on the edge of the island where the bulk of the gulls are nesting it was dived at repeatedly until it moved away. Its reaction to a threat is interesting, as it transforms from a tall sleek bird into a short fat one with all its finer longer feathers puffed out.
Marsh Harrier (c) Bark
On the edges of the lagoon there are at least twenty or so post-breeding Coots. Their aggressive behaviour towards each other now seems to have mellowed and they potter about, occasionally setting off in columns that scuttle across the mud in their smart black plumage like mourners late for a funeral.
Oystercatcher (c) Bark

The muddy areas are getting much more extensive and are attracting one or two waders. This week an Oystercatcher was feeding in the shallows and a juvenile Little-ringed Plover was running about catching insects on the edge of the reeds. 
Juvenile LRP (c) Bark
The Common Tern colony at the second screen is still very active although there are now fewer birds sitting and there appear to be fewer chicks. The adults are still bringing in plenty of fish and can be seen hunting along the River Ray and in the main ditches around Greenaways. Arriving with a fish is a noisy business and it takes several passes and false landings before the incoming bird lands and presents either a chick or a partner with a meal.
Fish delivery (c) JR

The bridleway Sedge Warbler is still performing for the camera and still presumably trying to attract a mate or hold a territory. It puts an enormous amount of energy into belting out its song which has some peculiar and unique whistled notes in it, before flying up in a parachute display. It has been doing this nonstop now for over three weeks !
That Sedgie again (c) JR

Tit flocks are everywhere now and have a smattering of odd warblers amongst them. The Redstarts are back on the southern side of the moor now. I saw a minimum of four on Saturday, two of them were juveniles with fairly short tails and were very speckled. I have a strong feeling that they must be breeding not too far away. 
Juvenile Redstart (c) Bark
There are currently three Common Cranes about the moor. There is our regular pair, that are never more than five or six metres apart and always fly together, and what we assume is the lone female that was present earlier in the year. 
Knapweed (c) Bark
The pair are being spotted most days on the northern side of Greenaway’s feeding in amongst the long grasses, occasionally they can be seen flying out onto the MOD land to feed.

Bumblebee (c) Bark and Gatekeeper (c) Paul Wyeth
Presumably they are taking the Grasshoppers that seem to be particularly abundant this year. As you walk through any of the grassy meadows, they can be seen pinging away from your footsteps. At this time of year nature really is at its most prolific.
This weeks mystery bug. A wasp sp. (c) Paul Wyeth.

1 comment:

  1. The mystery bug is an ichneumon wasp - probably gasteruption jaculator