Monday, 22 May 2017

Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th May

Busy chiffy (c) Bark

On Saturday morning at 5am nearly thirty people gathered in the car park for what seems to have become our annual Dawn Chorus Walk. The dawn itself was not as spectacular as in some previous years, the sky more the colour of a mechanics rag than a blazing golden sunrise. However, the birds did not disappoint us. The air was full of the sound of birds staking their claims to territory, declaring their suitability as mates or simply just announcing their presence. It is possible to hear all ten of our regular warbler species within the confines of the Car-park Field and the Roman Road alone. We only heard a brief spell of reeling from the Grasshopper Warblers and failed to hear Willow warbler at all, but the rest were all in good voice.
Cuckoo (c) JR
Snipe were drumming all weekend especially when the weather had improved as it did on Sunday. Cuckoos called and chased in groups of three or four males chasing the single females and vying with each other for the chance to mate with them.
Several Hobbies sat on posts across Greenaways waiting for the morning warmth to encourage their insect prey to take to the wing. They are always numerous on the reserve at around this time in late spring and are frequently recorded in double figures. Eleven were reported hunting on Sunday afternoon.

Turtle Dove feeding (c) Oz and purring (c) JR
One of at least two Turtle Doves called from the Roman road area before relocating to the telegraph poles near the pump house and giving excellent views.
As we made our leisurely way to the first screen we were closely scrutinised scrutiny by a pair of Redshanks flying overhead and shouting raucously, they clearly had youngsters on the ground nearby. On Sunday morning, I managed to spot three of these extraordinary looking chicks. Their legs appear to be far too long for their small fluffy bodies and it made me wonder what a contortionist trick it must be, to confine them within an egg! They appeared and disappeared amongst the sedges sometimes venturing along the edges of the ditches to pick up their insect food.
Redshank and chick (c) Tom N-L
A summer plumaged male Ruff was found on Friday and was thought to have flown off but was rediscovered on Saturday morning. It had been seen displaying to Redshanks flaring up its spectacular feathers like some kind of miniature peacock.
Summer Plumage Ruff (c) Stoneshank
Three Black-tailed Godwits have been out on the Big Otmoor scrapes for most of the week and seem very settled. They look as if they are first summer birds and as such are not going to breed this year. Every so often it was possible to spot a Little Ringed Plover scuttling about amongst the sedges and mud flats. There are several out there and they have been observed mating but it seems to me unlikely that they might succeed in breeding given the huge numbers of potential nest robbers out at the scrapes.
Two of the three Godwits (c) Bark
Elsewhere more and more birds are being seen either carrying nest material or food supplies for early broods. A pair of Mute Swans were on the path to the second screen drying their cygnets out in the morning sunshine, the cygnets looking especially cute and scruffy. I wonder how many of them will make it through to maturity.
Swan Family (c) JR
Terry Sherlock was lucky enough to see a Weasel relocating all her offspring from one den to another close to the cattle pens as can be seen no mean feat!
Weasel (c) Tezzer

1 comment:

  1. This is really good post you share here. I am impressed with your writing and thoughts. I checked all the photos and all are beautiful. Especially the chicks of the Swan are so cute.:)