Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Our friends in the North Marsh

This weekend saw the continued presence of wading birds on South Marsh East. Thursdays good weather predictably saw the final disappearance of the curlew sandpipers but the good showing of ruff continues with up to 11 on an evening and 5 present this afternoon:

Up to two greenshank, a water rail and a snipe have been present too:

This kestrel was hunting it today:

And strangely a black-headed gull decided it would have a go at this ‘hovering lark’ too in an obvious mimicry a few feet from the kestrel which it did to passable level:

This buzzard had a harder time though – why this individual deserved a battering from around a 100 black-heads when others pass with indifference is anyone's guess:

Meanwhile Martin recorded 5 marsh harriers through of at least 3 individuals – lending weight to our thoughts that the Hull Valley appears to be quite an important migratory route.

Thanks to Dave Croft of the East Yorkshire Chalk Rivers Trust (see link) who sent us these photos taken a few years ago of Tophill from altitude demonstrating just why it attracts migratory birds in an otherwise open landscape (note we do not advocate low level flight immediately over the Reserve for obvious reasons):

Flyovers have been a big story with golden plover, dunlin, redpoll, skylark, meadow pipit and even siskin all over as per Michael’s blog.

The D reservoir has seen the continuation of the black-necked grebe which has been in residence for around 6 weeks now. Martin recorded further good gulls with again yellow-legged and 4 mediterraneans over the weekend – as ever the illustrations on Jess’s blog.

But as usual it has been north marsh which has held most of the photographic opportunities. By all accounts Saturday was an excellent day in which most of the stalwarts came out to play – roe deer captured by Mike Day:

Fox pouncing on a vole sequence again by Mike:

And also courtesy of Alan Walkington at the same time!:

And a flyover common buzzard too:

Kingfisher from Mike:


Along with osprey (again) – seen virtually every other day since late July:


And ‘moth of the moment’ – red-underwing in the hide:

Tony McLean too also has more stunning photos on his blog along with excellent grass snake pics. Rory too has many helpful tips on his blog – which perhaps enabled him to get this outstanding pic of both a kingfisher and a grass snake together viewable on flickr here.

Whilst tree felling at Hempholme is complete work has yet to start on landscaping. In the meantime we are just starting constructing a new sand martin colony on South Marsh West. This structure will be of block construction and will hopefully look similar to these structures at the Lancs Wildlife Trust Brockholes NR (well occupied despite only being finished in late May):

And the successful Lincs Wildlife Trust Whisby quarry:

Thanks to both these Reserves for their guidance in the spec. The finished structure should be viewable at close quarters from the ‘L’ hide giving some excellent photographic ops when (hopefully!) occupied.

As such there will likely be a lot of disturbance around that area in coming weeks. However views from the back to back hides may be productive for species like water rail this week as we are currently dropping levels by a few inches to ease construction of foundations so keep your eye on these margins again like last year:

If all these dark nights are getting you down then do what this herald moth is about to and go to sleep all winter and emerge in Spring!: