Thursday, 17 July 2014

Homeward bound

Still the star bird of the moment is the common crane - some great shots and updates on Erich's page.  It seems that when it is disturbed off Leven or Arram Carrs it takes refuge on Watton Nature Reserve where it was seen again on Monday.  Meanwhile we're still getting the occasional osprey record, with two over the O res again on Monday.

We're getting into wader season now with the vanguard of southward bound migrants passing through.  Four black tailed godwits this evening resting on south marsh east, with six on the 4th and 7th.  Two common sandpipers were present on the 5th with other records of singles regularly.  A greenshank dropped in on the 12th and a green sandpiper on South Marsh West on the 5th and Hempholme Meadow on the 13th.  As a result we'll be dropping the levels on all the marshes in the coming few days to start exposing some mud for feeding habitat. 

Otherwise its the tail end of the breeding season.  Marsh harriers are perhaps the best bird on site again on North Marsh - but have perhaps eluded us due to the remote nest site.  There's not been much activity of late and an earlier summer would suggest they have fledged already - but we have not seen the results.  Buzzards on the other hand have certainly bred - but just outside the reserve - Steve Brimble:
The terns have managed to hatch young; with two chicks on the Watton rafts and at least one chick on the southern marsh new island - John Coish:
And Andy Marshall. 
Shelduck have hatched chicks along with this tufted brood on North Pond - Brian Colley:
Chiffchaff by Tony Simpson:
Long tailed tit by Tony:
With sedge:
And reed warbler too:
Likewise Mal Jones:
Barn owls are active feeding their young - incidentally this year sees 50 chicks reared at Tophill Low since the first in 2003 - Tony Simpson:
Nice to see the otter holt getting some use - unfortunately not by intended residents but a handy perch anyway - Tony Simpson:
Roe deer too by Tony:
And the intended ungrateful recipient - still showing regularly if erratically including today - Tony:
Kingfishers are still a crowd pleaser - Eddie Laker snapped this one on the resurrected sign (we thought we'd used it as kindling until we found it in the undergrowth!):
Alan Wrightson:
Mal Jones:
And Tony Simpson:
That said they have a perfected a new technique to fox the photographer - hover hunting rather than perching by Steve Brimble:
A pike in SMW by Dave Ware - not a duck eater yet...
Young roe deer on North Marsh by Steve Brimble:
Puss moth by Dave Ware on Martin's moth trapping event - details here:
So going forward we're looking at wader season - who knows what may turn up...

Monday, 30 June 2014

We three kings

Whilst the blog posting may be a reference to our current celebrities it is also a reference to the icy grasp of winter! That's 'ur lot folks - first green sandpiper on the 21st, followed by dunlin on the 23rd, greenshank on the 26th and common sandpiper on the 29th.  Breeding seasons been and gone and they're heading back south - as I always say spring starts in December when the Tawny's start scrapping over territories.  So on this cheery note a look at some of the summers highlights - barn owls successfully bred on the North Scrub - an initial 3 birds appeared as two when Robin Arundale of the Wolds Barn Owl Group arrived - but the eldest may have already jumped.  Pictures by John Hesslewood of the nest box team:
Needing lots of voles - Bill Eggleton:
Tufty family on North Pond - John Coish:
Mayfly sp. by Bruce Pillinger:
And emergent damselfly nymphs around the reservoir walls by Roy and Lukas:
If only they paid more attention to the stencils!:
Bee orchid by Chris Bell - Nest box team man Terry Mahoney managed to get the count up to a probable all tome record of 199 around the O reservoir last week.  What's so good about this year if you're an orchid is unknown:
Common Blue by Roy Vincent:
Along with ringlet:
At least one osprey was still hanging around last weekend - great shots here by Andy Marshall:
Roy Vincent:
And perhaps also for the future - cracking shot of a common crane coming in to land on Watton NR by Tony McLean - more details on his blog:
Marsh harriers still good enough for us though - North Marsh pair doing well - Darren Smith:
And Bill Eggleton:
Roe deer on North Marsh by Tony Simpson:
And Roy Vincent:
And otter briefly - John Coish:
But the show stealers as ever... Kingfisher season 2014 is now in full swing! Tony Simpson:
Chris Bell:
John Coish:

Bill Eggleton:
Bruce Pillinger:
Alan Wrightson:
Roy Vincent:
And this big bird showed well at numerous birding sites on Saturday - Bill Eggleton:

News of a couple of events this weekend too:

It's national moth night this weekend and to celebrate Martin will be allowing onlookers to join him this Sunday Morning at 10am at the wildlife centre.  Its a drop in event so no booking necessary - hopefully a muggy night will produce a trap full of impressive species.  A fitting tribute to the milestone 550th species recorded at Tophill Low since 1993 last weekend in the form of poplar kitten - details on Martins blog.

In the afternoon by popular demand too will be a botanical walk with Alan Marshall - our resident botanist and finder of hybrid St.John's wort and other such delights.  Again drop in to join him at 2pm on Sunday 6th afternoon.