Thursday, 13 October 2011

Grey days

The last few days have seen a Tophill rarity – grey plover overflying D Res, courtesy of Michael Flowers group – all the details on his blog.

There is some thought that when we saw them again later they may have been attempting to land at Hempholme Meadow near the new scrape. In any event it has already pulled in three pied wagtails and one grey – indeed it might be almost as good as it looked in 1946!:

Thanks to Duncan at the works for this aerial photo of Tophill prior to the reservoirs – showing what an excellent habitat it must have once been. Hopefully we can resuscitate a small portion of this and the flora communities at Hempholme.

Still lots of prey around for two kestrels and a barn owl in the interim though:

Hobby seems to have moved on – no sightings for a couple of days and no great performance since last Thursday. Likewise jack snipe put in its final appearance on Saturday, (illustration on pink cuckoos) but crossbills are still moving through as per James’s blog photo.

Apparently the BTO are reporting a big influx of siskin and lesser redpoll this year – which we have also seen – and presumably the crossbills are tagging on. Winter has arrived in the form of redwing and mistle thrushes in number today – and regular Dave already has brambling on his feeders! We have now re-located our feeders to D woods pond for this winter pending wildlife centre works.

Incidentally the BTO are also after data on redwing and fieldfare this winter via birdtrack - all the details here.

Otherwise a straggler black tailed godwit has been on Watton most of the week along with little egret resident at the moment. This afternoon saw a late report of garganey too. South Marsh East on the other hand appears to have lost much of its interest now as levels reach their autumn low.

However at full height is now the sand martin colony of South Marsh West – render going on during Tuesday:

And ready for marking up yesterday ready for hole drilling today.

The job ought to be finished by early next week.

Still no come-back on bonaparte’s gulls. More certain though was a yellow-legged gull picked up by John earlier in the week. The gulls reveal their usual mix here – lots of black-headed’s and common’s in this photo:

With 3rd winter herring gull ssp. argenteus left, lesser black backed middle and a group of greater black backed right (commons at front):

We have done our best to try and make the most of what can be an impressive spectacle – whether the gulls did enough to make the final cut we’ll just have to wait and see…

Don't try this yourself! - we got permission from Natural England to film from the walls on the SSSI which is D res:

Even if we don’t get on it then tune in for Spurn Point tomorrow night (Friday)!