Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A slow tern of events

Pictured below are the last of this year’s common tern fledglings which have now all departed south – or maybe not?; An exceptionally late pair have just hatched their two young last week, which will likely fledge in September. Looks like this year not only will we have the reserve’s earliest but also latest common tern records. Hopefully that will mean this year 3 pairs of birds have raised 6 young – unfortunately down on the last three years for reasons unknown. Perhaps this late breeding represents some calamity on their Spring migration?

Other notable fledglings include the perpetrators of this massacre:

Our resident sparrowhawks are still making a huge racket in D woods – these youngsters on display this afternoon. Apparently mum has been dumping woodpigeons on the path giving a number of observers great views:

Kestrels still hanging about on ‘O’ res:

Meanwhile Tony has been waving off the barn owl chicks here which have appeared to all fledge this last week or so.

The best rarity of recent times has been the black necked grebe present on D res since Sunday - the first for over a year and pictured here:

Other visitors have included quail calling from the vicinity of the river on Saturday, wheatear on the access road, dunlin and snipe on the marsh, and this small group of six black-tailed godwit:

For those wanting to learn more about what was seen where and when of all forms of wildlife the Hull Valley Wildlife Group annual report has just been published and is available from the Reserve Wardens keenly priced at just £6 and is well worth it:

Alternatively it can be purchased by post from the group secretary or membership secretary.

I should also mention we also have copies of the 2009 Yorkshire Bird Report priced at £10 along with some of the 2008 report now available at £5 – see a reserve Warden:

Thanks to John Coish and HVWG for these photos of the humming-bird hawk moth still around and the work being undertaken by the volunteer team on Sunday to finish off the wader island on North Lagoon:

Clearly this has improved prey availability as evidence in Alan Walkington’s grey heron pic:

A fine perch being in its beak. Their smaller cousins were on South Marsh East again – three little egret courtesy of HVWG:

Alan also got these great snaps of an emerald damselfly:

And gatekeeper:

This red admiral was one of a conservative 56 counted present on the buddleias this afternoon at 4pm:

Other insect interest includes a digger wasp sp. in the Warden’s base:

This Cassida sanguinolenta was on the grass cutter – closely related to the aptly named ‘green tortoise beetle’

For more insects check out Martin’s blog for his excellent photographic sequence of a common darter emerging:

Despite a possible mink sighting on Watton NR last week we remain blissfully free in Tophill – this mink sampling bed showing nothing but water vole tracks and droppings:

An interesting find was this hedgehog skull.

Finally thanks to the Tophill and HVWG volunteers for their assistance in evicting the menagerie from Watton last week. The farmyard goose however remains at large and is followed with reverence by the assembled greylags and canadas, as at twice their size it is truly a king among geese…