Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pulling the plug

August sees the height of the wader passage so to try and better our chances we have been draining down the southern marsh to expose plenty of new mud:

Likewise the work by volunteers to prepare the mud island on North Lagoon has managed a common sandpiper as a good start:

Still on the marshes are the late common terns however – this ringed individual on O Res. gantry appears to be just passing through:

The two chicks are still growing well:

But their parents still need to make sure the coast is clear – particularly with the sparrowhawks about:

In case you were wondering just what the chicks were hiding in we left Botanist in residence Alan Marshall on the island whilst we were strimming the others last week - his haul included:

Water mint Mentha aquatica
Skull cap Scutellaria galericulata
Gypsywort Lycopus europaeus
Broad leaved dock Rumex obtusifolius
Field forgetmenot Myosotis arvensis
Water forgetmenot Myosotis scorpioides
Great hairy willowherb Epilobium hirsutum
Nodding bur marigold Bidens cernua (pictured below)
Clustered dock Rumex conglomerates
Water bistort Persicaria amphibia
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris
Prickly sowthistle Sonchus asper
Water figwort Scrophularia auriculata
Redshank Persicaria maculosa
Good king henry Chenopodium bonus-henricus
Eared willow Salix aurita

Another possible tern predator is the fox – seen here stalking ducks on the North Marsh yesterday. Thanks to Steve Reed for the photo:

Likewise in the past we have seen that stoats can climb vertical brick walls, swim the marshes and now they have mastered the art of free flight as evidenced by Mike Day’s great pic from North Marsh here:

Likewise he got these great pics of a young curlew over the car park:

An ichneumon sp.:

And evidence of breeding wrens:

Further work has been continuing with the volunteers – cutting the reed-beds here

This work should make for good snipe habitat – which are about if you look carefully:

But on a bigger scale we have started the Hempholme Meadow project today – already a few of the poplars down:

Hopefully a lot of the existing historic flora community will flourish – like this meadowsweet:

Unfortunately not to stay are these alder buckthorns – however we will endeavour to try and transplant them using a digger:

Thanks to John Coish for this pic of the black-necked grebe which was still on D res on the 9th:

And still here at 4pm today:

Along with the grebe the main interest has been ospreys – seen daily since Sunday all moving South. Once again though beware of the white buzzard (now family) – often encountered near Angram Farm. Martin meanwhile has been making an early start this year on the D res gull roost – already picking uo a med gull on Saturday. The kestrels have dispersed – photographed again by Steve Reed:

Both Rory and Tony have been getting further great pictures of the kingfisher.

John Coish also got another great pic of the humming bird hawkmoth:

This willow beauty was in the visitor centre this morning:

And some rather grisly proof that otters predate marsh frogs (I assume the slug did not kill it!):