Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Arctic to Mediterranean in a week

From a northern European glaucous gull last Thursday we went to a southern European yellow-legged gull on Saturday. This Mediterranean cousin of our herring gull is a near annual visitor to the reserve and was picked up by Martin on Saturday and again by Neil on Sunday. Also present was a migratory lesser-black backed gull showing more signs of summer. No photo of the bird but the following from northern Greece a few years back shows the species:

Otherwise the pintail was showing well over the weekend on O reservoir and South Marsh East but no sign today:

1-2 red-head smew have been present most days, along with 3 goosander. The lone white-fronted goose has also been on D reservoir fairly regularly.

Thursday and Friday saw some more excellent views of the woodcock pair at the wildlife centre again as below:

There were some indications that three may have been present, but their peace and quiet was spoilt by this female sparrowhawk which killed and ate a female blackbird over the course of a couple of hours:

In the meantime the male sparrowhawk made repeated attacks before finally getting a yellowish finch sp:

Coupled to this one of the wildlife centre stoats also ran across the meadow giving good views below:

The trail camera has picked up an 80% ermine leaving the den, so hopefully there will be more footage to follow. A few people have been asking on where is best to see the stoats – but again the trail camera reveals they are very erratic with no ‘best time to see.’

The end result is the woodcock have moved off, but more likely because of the frost which sees them disappear into the deeper woods where the ground is softer. Likewise the willow tit has not been seen for a week – but was seen in D reservoir woods on Sunday – hopefully returning to its breeding site. The woodcock will likely return as the weather warms up again. Michael Flowers group managed some good views of the bird on Thursday along with the fox, and David Ware too managed some shots for his blog.

Otherwise 5 bullfinch were at the Southern site again today:

This black headed gull was hoping for an easy meal behind the goldeneye:

20 mute swans are present on the access road but no whoopers:

And this redshank was one of several on South Marsh East:

This Saturday will see the monthly reserve walk at 10am – hopefully taking in some of all the above. Normal admission applies, all are welcome.