Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Saturday, Sunday and Monday 18th,19th and 20th July

Feeding Goldfinch (c) Mark chivers
Both visits this weekend were notable for the large roving flocks of mixed tits and warblers. They are especially obvious beside the bridle way and through the car park field. They really do contain a complete mixture of our breeding small passerines. Yesterday I picked out three species of tits Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow  Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and on Saturday one juvenile Grasshopper Warbler as well. There is clearly safety in numbers and it is interesting how different species recognise each others alarm calls, almost like speaking foreign languages!

Willowchiff and Whitethroat (c) Bark

Long-tailed Tit(c) JR
As well as these juvenile flocks there are large numbers of young Reed Buntings, often hopping about feeding on the paths. Goldfinches too seem to have done well but in their case the juveniles stay around the adults in a species discrete flock.
Marsh Harriers were very much in evidence both over the reedbed and roving further afield. On Sunday morning there were three different individuals out from the first screen. One of them looked less familiar, appearing darker and with a smaller and less distinctive creamy cap. The three of them were interacting before two of them went down into the reedbed in their familiar area. Whilst watching them I had a flypast from a Bittern and I understand it was seen no less than three times on Friday.
MarshHarrier (c) JR
The Great Crested Grebe family continue to provide good value at the first screen and are having no difficulty finding enough fish for three chicks and two adults. They are feeding on fingerling pike and the occasional Rudd. I watched a chick swallow a small pike that was just a bit too long to go right down and it swam around for five minutes or so with the fish tail sticking out of its mouth like a strange pantomime moustache.

Grebe selection (c) JR
There is a pair of Little Grebes present with chicks but they are much more shy and retiring. Little Egrets are ever present now and there are significant numbers of juveniles amongst them noticeable by their paler bills and greyish legs. They must be breeding nearby but there is no evidence that they breed on the moor yet.
Little Egrets including juveniles (c) JR

On Friday a fine Whinchat was seen and photographed on the fence surrounding Big Otmoor. It seems an early date for this species to return as we tend to expect them  to come through and stay awhile in mid to late August.
Early Whinchat (c) Pat Galka
Wader passage is now really getting underway. On Monday there were four Black tailed Godwits of the islandica sub species.  The first Wood Sandpiper of the year was found on Monday evening taking our year list on to one hundred and forty one. On Friday there were at least two Ruff present and there has been a steady number of reports of Green sands.

Islandica Blackwit, Wood Sand and Ruff (c) Badger

In the next few weeks Brown Hairstreaks, one of our most important butterflies, will be on the wing. Already there  have been reports of Purple Hairstreaks being seen one was found nectaring on brambles on Sunday morning in Long Meadow. Let's hope that they have as good a season as the much scarcer Black Hairstreak had earlier this year.
Painted Lady (c) Pete Law

No comments:

Post a Comment