Friday, 19 August 2011

Scorched earth

Devastating as this may look we have been doing a lot of reed bed management on the South Marsh West island. The burning helps reduce the organic content and stops the island from ‘drying out’ through litter accumulation whilst controlling succession admirably – we checked for sedge warblers first!:

Here is the end result – a patch work of open ground, dense reed bed and wet hollows that should favour views of many secretive species such as water rail, snipe – and maybe even a spotted crake. Just visible is a channel we have dug next to the tall reeds to help draw them out – one to keep an eye on:

This week has seen few waders – only a green sandpiper yesterday on South Marsh East. We are putting together a study on wader use and invertebrate life in the marshes – so any observations you have on wader feeding (or if they are just resting) are welcome in the sightings book.

This kingfisher was conducting its own survey on aquatic life – here catching a newt in Mike Day’s excellent photos. I don’t know whether it checked if it was great-crested – I’m not sure whether a schedule one species can be charged with eating a schedule five?

Apparently Mike had three kingfishers today – which looked more like a territorial dispute than a happy family:

Vince Cowell too has more excellent shots on his website here.

Mike also had this fine southern hawker:

The sparrowhawk family are also still present in D woods:

These fine butterflies were on D res on Wednesday – Painted lady:

10+ common blues:

And several wall browns:

Likewise David Ware shared many of these views which are on his blog here.

Lots of people have also noted the recent invasion of hoverflies – Martin has some of the 31 species so far recorded at Tophill Low on his blog.

Other bird sightings include black-necked grebe – still present this afternoon. Ospreys over daily from Sunday to Wednesday. The newly fledged common tern chicks on South Marsh East and a young hobby over D res.

This marsh/pool frog was below North Lagoon hide – for more aquatic life we are running the pond dipping event this Sunday at 1pm and there are still places available – phone 01377 270690 to book:

Also worth noting are Michael Flowers Birdwatching Courses restarting in September with places still available to find out all the best locations to bird in East Yorkshire. All the details are on his site.