Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 10th,11th and 12th September

Goldfinch (c) JR
Saturday was a washout and consequently very little was seen or reported. Sunday however was a beautiful day with clear, rain-washed skies of forget-me-not blue. The mist was still lying on the moor as I drove down, the tops of the trees appearing like small islands or rocks in a shallow sea at low tide. Along the paths it was possible to see and understand from the sheer number of dew spotted webs just how prolific the spiders are and how difficult it must be for flying insects to avoid their snares.

Web pics (c) Bark

Passage passerines were very much in evidence. Warblers were feeding both in the hedgerows and in the reedbeds, fuelling up for their imminent migrations. There was a family group of Reed Warblers in front of the first screen, the youngsters still begging the adults to feed them but without much success. Sedge Warblers too were creeping about in the reeds but unlike their strident showy characters in spring, kept very much out of sight.
Treecreeper near first screen (c) Derek Lane
There are at least five Cetti’s Warblers around the reserve setting up winter territories their presence normally only revealed by their call. Interestingly walking past often prompts them to call, movement appearing to trigger their response. The one by the entrance to the trail to the first screen will on occasions show itself as will the one in the vicinity of the second screen.

Warblers (c) Derek Lane

The Purple Heron is still very much with us but as ever is very reluctant to show itself. It seems to have taken up residence on Greenaways and the best chance of getting a sighting requires a patient wait, looking out from the pump house.
Purple Heron (c) Andy Last
There is plenty to see even here on Sunday two Hobbies were hawking over Greenaways and another pair over Ashgrave. They were hunting the very abundant large dragonflies that the warm sunshine had got on the wing.
Hobby food (c) Tom N-L
The ditch beside the bridleway is also a regular hunting ground for a juvenile Kingfisher. Often only giving itself away by a sharp call and a flash of cerulean blue as it rockets along the ditch. Just occasionally it is possible to spot it perched up on a reed overlooking the water. Kingfishers do not breed on the reserve but their numbers always go up at this time of year as young birds and post breeding adults find a place for the winter.
Kingfisher over the ditch (c) Bark
Whinchats are abundant on the reserve at the moment. There were six out on Greenaways on Sunday morning and a further three at Noke, there have also been several in July’s meadow along with a juvenile-plumaged Stonechat.

Whinchat and juv Stonechat (c) Andy Last
There was also a Wheatear at Noke near the farm and another on short grass on Big Otmoor. Meadow Pipits have started to be much more obvious and are getting together in larger flocks. There were several perched together on the barbed wire fence at Lower Farm. A careful look shows that their claws are even longer than the spikes of the wire they are perched on.

Wheatear and Mipits at Noke (c) Bark
The cattle had wandered over close to where we were on the bridleway and there were over twenty Yellow Wagtails feeding carefully around their feet.

Yellow Wagtails (c) JR
On one evening this week at least one hundred and ten of them were seen going in to roost in the reedbed. They are joining the Starlings that already roost there, they already number well over four thousand. This volume of birds attracts interest from raptors and the other evening all three of our resident Marsh Harriers were in attendance as was a Sparrow-hawk and the regular juvenile Peregrine.

Starlings (c) Tom N-L

Late news has just come in (Tuesday lunchtime) of an Osprey catching a fish from the dish in the south eastern corner of Greenaways before being chased off by a crow still clutching its lunch. Just going to prove that this is a time when anything at all could turn up.
Small Tortoiseshell (c) Bark

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