Sunday, 10 October 2010

Red letter days

I guess most of you who read this blog will have also seen autumnwatch - so well done Tony and commiserations to Jeff who didn't get on - but the winning photo was a fine achievement! The kingfishers have continued to show well since at North Marsh.

The wader movement appears to have slowed now with only a late common sandpiper to report today on D reservoir wall. However 4 common crane over-flew the car park heading east on Thursday. The red in Friday came courtesy of a Red Kite - picked up by Jeff Barker over the Northern site, and also the first flock of 60 redwing over the reserve. By today they were actively feeding in the hawthorns around D res. Once again office work prevented the search for interesting birds amongst the tit flocks, but having the camera ready to try and get the next sparrowhawk attack on the centre feeders did come in handy to get this wren through the window.

This mute swan has been hanging round South Marsh West all summer and sports a white on red leg tag '339' - I've had a quick search but can't turn up any specific info other than there was a programme in South Yorks which is likely where the tag came from - so any info would be appreciated.

Another shout of assistance will be with these caterpillars - in my opinion the most interesting find in the bat boxes today despite 30 being found! We were unsure what this was when cleaning a box - it looks like a car sponge - but on investigation these over-wintering caterpillars emerged - perhaps 30 or so being in the structure. The 'sponge' is actually silk - and is massively strong. We popped them back in a bird box to continue their winter undisturbed but suggestions are welcome:

More common residents were this noctule - of which one was found:

And this - one of many - nathusius's pipistrelle:

Yet another 'comments welcome' I discovered this white winged gull on D reservoir on Friday night amongst the approx 25,000 common and black headed gulls - it being fairly un-missable. An absence of any markings roused interest and hope of rarity - but the best we can come up with is a leucistic common gull. However the head and its 'buoyancy' in the water seem to give it an almost kittiwake appearance? Thanks to the HVWG boys and AWbirder for their assistance in trying to make something of it - once again any suggestions are welcome. Apologies for the grainyness - but it was nearly dark! Searches for the bird again on Saturday and Today failed to find it again.

Finally some of you may have seen the path to the back-to-back hides is out of action. We are currently replacing the rotten steps with an access ramp for wheel chair use - and creating two great new dragonfly ponds at the same time.