Monday, 29 September 2014

Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th September

Chiffy (c) Bark
Back after a fortnight and the Indian summer goes on. Its as if the season is teetering on the edge of change, like a swimmer on the edge of the sea dabbling their toes in the water but reluctant to dive in. It felt very much as if nature was holding its breath on Saturday and it was very quiet and still, by Sunday we were basking in warm sunshine from the start and there was much more activity to be seen.
It looks very much as if the Cettis Warbler that has been heard once or twice in the last month or so has finally found an area to its liking. It was heard on both Saturday and Sunday in the hedgerow and ditches near to the second screen. As well as calling occasionally with its characteristic shout, it could also be heard chuntering away with a complex and much quieter sub-song. It is so good to hear once again what had been a characteristic sound of the moor until the severe winter of 2011/2. 
and again (c) Bark
There are also a fair number of Chiffchaffs present with the tit flocks and at least two Reed Warblers are still here.
The bittern on flyabout (c) anon
The Bittern put on a splendid flying display on Sunday morning. It appeared to be mobbed by some Black headed gulls that put it up from the northern edge of the southern reedbed and then pursued it out across Greenaways as far as Ashgrave, it then turned back towards us and made a stately flight back towards the reedbed where it did a couple of circuits before vanishing into the reeds. It was beautiful to see it in such bright low sunlight and it was possible to really appreciate the complexity, subtlety and colour of its plumage.
There are a significant number of Stonechats on the reserve now with seven being counted on the path between the hide and July’s Meadow on Saturday and at least three on the way to the first screen on Sunday. There are still Wheatears and Whinchats to be found with several of each reported over the weekend. There was a Whinchat hunting from the heavily cropped hedge on the way out to the Pill on Sunday morning.
A Grey Wagtail landed on the mud bank in front of the first screen briefly on Sunday morning and then rapidly made off towards Ashgrave, it is always a nice bird to seen as they are not common on the moor. 
Geese on flyabout (c) Bark
From time to time all sounds are obliterated by the honking of the huge flocks of feral geese that are currently to found on the moor. They presage every move with a honking that starts off fairly quietly but steadily rises to a crescendo until they take to the air en masse. This happens several times each morning as they commute between the lagoons on the reedbed and their feeding or resting areas. Herons ,Egrets and Kingfishers continue to put on a great show at the first screen.
Grey heron (c) Mark Chivers

Little Egret (c) Mark Chivers

Kingfisher (c) Tezzer
There were still at east two Hobbies present on Sunday. On Saturday morning a Kestrel spent a long time persistently mobbing three juvenile Common Buzzards that were sitting on posts on Ashgrave. There was no sign of the Marsh Harriers this weekend and I did not hear of any sightings last week it could be that they have moved on now for the winter.
Seven Swans a'swimming (c) Bark
Two Redwings flew over on Sunday an augury of what is to come in October, while at least a hundred hirundines, mostly swallows, hawked low over the reeds on Saturday morning pausing only briefly before moving on.
The delight of autumn colour (c) Bark 
October will soon be upon us and winter visitors will start to flood in to exploit the bounty in the hedgerows. This weekend however it is the return of the Cettis that has given me most pleasure, it is always good to get something back where you feel it belongs.
Still busy Hornets  (c) Bark

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