Monday, 25 April 2011

Don’t count your bramblings too soon

Likely the final purple heron update is that a ‘dark heron that certainly wasn’t a grey’ was last seen on Sunday 17th briefly behind the tree line by several. There have been no further reports since so we assume it departed.

As a result I have had a break from blogging since my posting marathon last week – but it doesn’t pay off as now I have to catch up! We have also been attempting to film otters with BBC Inside Out; did we see any? You’ll just have to wait and see when the programme runs around October…Just as a proviso if you are thinking of looking for them please remember the reserve closes at 6pm – to stand a chance you need a. membership (see above), b. patience and stealth, and c. a lot of luck! We have the ‘See a…otter’ event running on the 11th of June – as per the events page above. Book in advance necessary – otters not necessarily certain!

The main noticeable influx since has been wading birds with green and common sandpipers, ringed plover and curlew all passing through the reserve in small numbers. This spring passage is usually swift and unobtrusive – we tend to see more of them on the return journey in late summer. Why do the birds stop at the reserve? - fairly simple - click on Martin's picture here. (I should point out they are usually none biters!)

The best migrants so far have been a honey buzzard picked up by the nest box team on Tuesday passing overhead along with the usual common. We’ve also had another garganey - this drake stopped of briefly on Saturday night and was found by Mr Eggleton before flying off north.

He also managed to get this excellent picture of a marsh frog (a
definite contender for the ‘win a 2012 permit competition’!):

The HVWG boys managed to pick up a Scandinavian rock pipit littoralis on Watton NR on Thursday along with a cream crown marsh harrier over D res yesterday.

Other migrants arriving include the first garden warbler yesterday, and sedge warblers, reed warblers and lesser whitethroat in their droves.Cuckoo is now very vocal and was sounding around North Scrub/Marsh yesterday and today for Jeff Barker and Tony McLean.

Michael Flowers popped in a week or so back – getting these nice pics of the roe deer.

Little grebes too will be a signature bird for many – staving off the boredom of recent purple heron vigils:

Not to mention many tufted duck:

Michael’s bird watching courses re-start for the new term soon and he still has places available here.

We also thought he may have had the last brambling on site on Tuesday the 12th, but subsequently I still had one on the feeders on Saturday here:

And Martin picked one up calling this morning. Also conspicuous by their absence have been a lack of wintering goldeneye since Thursday – challenge to anyone who can still find one as a last?

Not content with getting last of records Martin has been pulling forward the records again with common blue, azure and blue tailed damselflies by 5 days each, and knocking 3 days off the four spotted chaser record – all the details with the latest fungi and moth news on his blog here. The HVWG boys managed a hairy dragonfly yesterday – again bringing forward the records.

The melanistic rabbit is still on the go also:

Tawny sat unobtrusively in D Woods next to the path:

Thanks to the Group, the Environment Agency and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Future Jobs Fund team under Gareth Dixon for teaming up to get the tern rafts established on Watton for the season…(all pics from HVWG):

And just in time - this tern was inspecting them Friday – with a further 4 apparently doing so this afternoon, besides 3 on the ‘old’ Southern Marsh islands– great work!:

Thanks to David Marritt who had this red kite just as you turn off from the A164 to Tophill last week – again suggesting the expansion of this species. I too have seen them further North than usual this year so it looks good on all fronts:

Both Martin and myself suspect we have had hobby sightings this weekend beyond Tophill. Mine was near Wetwang but it was the usual drive by birders’ sighting – do I get a positive ID or crash the car! – I chose to let the bird go on this occasion…

Other new species to expect in the coming days include passage black terns – plenty elsewhere in the country of late, more little gulls, interesting grebes and also the first swift for site is still up for grabs at the time of writing!

Pond dipping tomorrow (26th) at 1pm – still places available, and reserve walk a week on Saturday (May 7th). Also well worth considering is Maurice Gordon’s one day wildlife photography class on the 8th – cost £20 and still places available – book now to avoid disappointment.