Monday, 14 May 2012

Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th May



Garden Warbler

  Whitethroat       Above Pictures (c) P. Barker

Common Tern Courtship (c) Pete Styles
There were definite signs of spring this weekend although the wind on Saturday was still keen and chilly.
Warblers of all the expected species were taking advantage of the better weather to shout their messages from the hedges and ditches. Whitethroats are now back in really good numbers and making up for lost time. Sadly Cettis has not been heard for a couple of weeks and they seem unlikely to breed again this year although we still hope.
The moor outside the reserve is still holding a considerable volume of water. My BTO survey area, which takes in some of fields to the north of the reserve as well as the flood field was in part flooded and I was surprised to find a pair of Shelduck swimming around on what is usually a hay meadow. A pair of Garganey were in the paleo–channels of the flood field along with eleven Tufted Ducks. Although late the Green winged orchids have benefitted from the water and are looking wonderful in the fields to the south of Charlton. Turtle Doves are back but not yet in full voice unlike Cuckoos that are.
The flooded fields have attracted large numbers of gulls. They are principally Lesser Black Backs, Herring gulls and Black Headed and I assume that they are feeding on grubs and worms that have succumbed during the flooding. There have been two reports from different observers on different days of a large white winged gull, either feeding amongst them or being mobbed by them. The observers feel that because of its size it was most likely to be a Glaucous gull. Any other sightings of this bird or even better photographs would be really welcome. With the floods being as extensive as they are it is not easy to view these large shifting flocks an attempt to get out to the Pill yesterday was thwarted by water over welly tops!
Wheatears are still in evidence on the moor with three beside the hide and several others on Greenaways and the Flood. The pair of Common Terns continue to go through their nuptial displays, as the superb sequence of pictures by Pete Styles shows (viewable on the blog.) Skylarks seem to be the default bird on the moor at present and on the surrounding fields, there is no time when you cannot hear them singing, a continuous element of the soundscape.
Hobbies were spectacular on both days with at least fifteen hunting over Greenaways and the reed bed on both days. Some perching out on fences and gates and giving really good views. A Marsh Harrier was seen again this weekend but is not spending much time around the reedbed and may be roaming over the wider area of floods.

Hobby (c) Jon Mercer

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