|Female Garganey and youngster (c) Roger Wyatt|
The summer has moved on apace and the grass is now so
long out on Greenaways that sometimes the cattle can almost disappear in it. On
our final C.B.C. surveys, grass that only two weeks earlier had come up to our
knees now almost reached our chins and was so dewy that waterproofs were
Flowering Rush (c) Bark
As we have slipped into July the sheer productivity of
the moor has become increasingly obvious, the warm wet conditions have led to
burgeoning vegetation which in turn has encouraged the invertebrate population,
which naturally has been good for breeding birds with nestlings to feed.
species have embarked upon second broods, Grasshopper Warblers have been heard
reeling again in the carpark field and along the track to the first screen.
This usually indicates that they are nesting again.
Robin sunbathing after rain (c) Bark
|Young Tits (c) Bark|
From the screens, on the lagoons and around the
reedbeds the breeding successes of early summer are most obvious. The most
exciting news has been the confirmation that Garganey have nested successfully
on the moor this year and not just one pair!
We have always felt that this
scarce and beautiful duck must breed somewhere on the moor, but for the very first
time we have been able to prove it, thanks initially to a photograph of a
female Garganey with nine ducklings in tow, taken by Roger Wyatt from the
Female Garganey and Garglings? (c) Roger Wyatt
After this initial sighting we have often seen her and her brood
on the edge of the reeds under the willows and amid the floating waterweeds out
to the right of the second screen. Her nine ducklings are now reduced to just six,
but some attrition is to be expected, hence the large broods. They are growing
rapidly and are now about half the size of the female.
Hiding in the waterweed (c) Bark
Over the last week or so
it has become obvious that there had been another slightly earlier brood on the
southern reedbed. Just this weekend we watched an eclipse female and three much
further developed juveniles, out by the willow directly in the middle of the
Female Garganey and one duckling (c) Bark
|Juvenile Pochard at the first screen still to get primaries (c) Bark|
|Tufties (c) Bark|
|Gadwall family with eleven young (c) Bark|
|Glossy Ibis still around and showing at the first screen. (c) Bark|
It has been good to spend time at the second screen
and to watch the comings and goings of all the ducks and as they go into
eclipse plumage to sort one species out from another. Watching the ducks is not
the only interest there however as the Tern raft has been a great success this
Tufty fly by (c) Bark
There were at least eleven pairs nesting on the raft and they have
successfully fledged a good number of young. It is difficult to assess just how
many as as soon as they are able to fly they move off in just a few days.
Fishing Tern in the rain (c) Bark
Common Tern chicks develop very rapidly from small fluffy balls into fully
feathered fliers in what seems like no time at all. Their rapid growth is
fuelled by the constant stream of fish that the parents bring in, last week one
parent bird brought in what was clearly a small pike and too large even for a
hungry chick, another bird we watched this weekend flew around for some time
with a fish in its beak which photographs showed was in fact impaled on its
lower mandible, it eventually passed it to another bird.
Fledged Terns perched on the stums.(c) Bark
beneficiaries of the very healthy fish population have been both the Great
Crested and the Little Grebes, both species having successfully raised a number
parent Tern with a pikelet. (c) Bark
Peering into the waters edge at the first screen yesterday, when it
was especially calm, a huge shoal of Rudd was visible just below the surface
and stretching out three or four metres from the edge. There is clearly a very
healthy fish population and good water quality.
Almost grown Great Crested Grebe (c) Bark
|Bittern (c) Nick Truby|
|Marsh Harrier (c) Paul Tomlinson|
|Little Egret (c) Bark|
Snipe were drumming on Sunday morning as we walked
through the carpark field and along the bridleway.
From the MOD land Curlew could
still be heard calling, suggesting that there are still young birds out there that
are yet to fully fledge.
Sunday morning Drummer (c) Bark
|Anxious Curlews (c) Bark|
|Oystercatcher after a Kite (c) Bark|
Some of the water at the southern lagoon is being
released onto Greenaways and as it does so the shallow areas will emerge as mud
and become very attractive to returning waders.
Already a group of Black-tailed
Godwits have been seen there as well as both Green and Common Sandpipers. The
area of mud promises to be more extensive than in other years and who knows
what exciting birds it might tempt down?
Blackwits (c) Jeremy Dexter Common Sandpiper from first screen (c) Bark
The year-list has gained another two species with a Tree
Pipit being recorded on the MOD land during a wildflower survey and just
yesterday singing Corn Buntings. However there has still not been a report of
Quail, which if it is heard will take the list to one hundred and sixty
different species for the year.
Bullfinch chomping seeds (c) Bark