Saturday, 6 August 2011

Screamin’ sprawks

The main interest in recent days has been the sparrowhawk family who have been showing excellently in D woods – we managed these snaps on Thursday:

And Mike Day sent these excellent pics from earlier that week:

Unfortunately they have been attributed to fewer kingfisher sightings – but Tony managed one for his site recently. Rory too has been snapping the last of the barn owls here.

Other notable young raptors include the peregrine which has been seen often on the Carrs. An unnamed regular managed to hit a rabbit on the approach road, which two hours later was apparently being scavenged by the peregrine. Presumably it is a youngster that is struggling to catch a square meal. Again it was hunting the Carrs on the reserve walk this morning.

Thinking these blobs may have been something interesting I took a picture and discovered they are a pair of white buzzards – the similarity between them suggests they could be siblings – likely the offspring of the white buzzard which continues to throw people:

Another interesting fledgling was a juvenile cuckoo at Hempholme this afternoon – perhaps suggesting breeding. One would hope so with the three calling earlier in the summer.

On the subject of Hempholme, work is due to begin next week on its restoration to a grazing marsh – hopefully a really interesting new habitat. If it had been completed as intended for this year I would have hoped for a quail with the dozens reported of late. All details of the project are on the conservation page above. That said it did turn up an interesting record this week of green woodpecker – likely a post breeding dispersal as per the nuthatch. As an unashamed reminder of previous improvements have a look at this picture of the 1991 mud bath which is now tranquil south marsh west. Note the portaloo which is sited next to what are now some of the best dragonfly ponds on site!:

Likewise this is the construction of wildlife centre pond – dug out of the former playing field!:

Unfortunately the black-necked grebe has not been seen since Wednesday when David Ware managed this great pic:

For more see his blog here.

Other birds this week have included common sandpiper on D res wall, a couple of flyover dunlin on South Marsh, and a couple of little gull over D res on Thursday:

Linnet on the pump house:

And a line of autumnal looking swallows:

Meanwhile as usual more insects to go at – lesser swallow prominent in the trap:

Along with this sextant beetle Nicrophorus investigator:

And this similar sp. of Silphidae:

And whilst we were looking for grass snakes unsuccessfully on the walk we found this remarkable substitute – an elephant hawkmoth caterpillar on O res: