Sunday, 6 March 2011

Official spring notification

Winter is offically over – that’s not to say it won’t snow! – but as far as the wildlife is concerned things have warmed up sufficiently to bite the bullet and grasp spring. The most obvious sign has been the mass movements of geese lately – a lone egyptian goose was on South Marsh East on Saturday – photographed excellently by Alan Walkington below:

The same flock is regularly reported on the East Yorkshire Birding forum at North Frodingham. When the reserve walk arrived it had gone but was replaced by this nice white-fronted goose which showed well for a few minutes:

A lot of pink-feet have been recorded in the vicinity heading north, and a flock of 500+ fieldfares was on the approach road first thing. After a recent lull we have had a spate of sightings this week. Barn owl has been showing well over the last couple of days – obviously making the most of its Hull Daily Mail feature tomorrow! Mandy Sears got this picture of barn owl recently:

Tawnys as usual have been very vocal even in daylight, with great spotted woodpeckers drumming everywhere. There is seemingly a little grebe pair on every water body chuckling away, and a water rail was squealing in North Marsh first thing. Little egret showed late on at Watton, with a further a three flying over D res late on – again with the two red-head smew, though one seems to be rapidly turning into a first winter male:

Oystercatcher have been regular:

Curlew and redshank were both about today with lapwing showing an interest in the marshes. 4 Goosander were present on D res mid afternoon today, and we have had two separate mediterranean gulls reported yesterday and today. Various reports of buzzards have been logged, but trumped by Jeff and Chris’s red kite sighting over O res this morning. This is the third occurrence of this species in 6 months – perhaps reflecting an ever expanding wolds population. Peregrine falcon was possibly glimpsed both Saturday and today, along with the kingfisher – which crossed the D res and dislodged a grey wagtail today. I believe this spurred Tony on to stay another hour – am sure the photos will follow on his blog when he finally emerges from North Marsh here! Moth trapping turned up the same species as last week in smaller numbers. Brambling are still prevalent on the feeding station. A drake pintail was also showing well on South Marsh East – photographed on the reserve walk here:

A very interesting find was an otter spraint on the walk – and as this time last year (see link) the clear remains of a grass snake within it. My research on otters suggests that grass snakes are a known occasional prey item, but clearly they are regularly exploited when dozy freshly emerged individuals make a Spring delicacy:

This is also a reminder that the blog is now one year old – thanks to everyone who has helped supply info and pictures and hopefully it will serve as a good reference in future.

I made a late trip to check the sluices and found many reed bunting roosting aound South Marsh West:

But remember never to leave valuables on show in your car – when you get back you never know what miscreants may be hanging around…