Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The call of Spring

There are various signs of spring but the definitive is always the call of the first chiffchaff on the reserve. This year Niels Jensen managed the first on site on Friday, with another five or more heard across the site by Saturday. Little-ringed plover also arrived back on Saturday – but still no sand martin! Osprey is another likely bet in coming days, but the water is already warming up as evidenced by the first grass snake taking a dip as in Claire Marshall’s Flickr picture and also Roy Vincents great pics from today:

Keeping out the way of these monsters under the hide was a bank vole seen by Alan – also on Flickr – and thanks to David Marritt for this picture of water vole in the drain near Struncheonhill:

The northern end of the site has still been giving the best views of the hen harriers; we have the same first winter male at present ‘grey’ as photographed by Mike Day earlier in the month and again by Keith Appleton here:

We have been collating the photos to pass on to the local raptor group – another is ‘rufous’ as photographed yesterday by Roy Vincent:

And is perhaps still not clear for sexing but could be a female given the hue?

This is in addition to at least one adult male this winter and 'ringtails' which could be these two above or more? – so like the short-eared owls it looks to have been a great winter for them too.

Roy has also been testing out the new hide at Hempholme and got these great snaps of bullfinch:

And treecreeper in the vicinity:

The rest of the week has seen a pair of crossbills earlier, continued glimpses of bittern at North Marsh, with the lesser redpoll still on the D woods feeders, two short-eared owls and two little egrets at Hempholme, two green sandpipers on the river, three snipe on South Marsh West with the two snow geese popping in and out, return of egyptian goose on North Lagoon, dunlin on Watton NR and occasional woodcock.