Sunday, 22 April 2012

A spot of ruff weather

You could be forgiven for missing it – but on Thursday summer truly arrived. A south easterly spin on the low pressure brought in a flush of species. Common tern was a first for the year over the O reservoir but didn’t stop. Reed and sedge warbler are now resident back on South Marsh West, with plenty of blackcaps, chiffchaff (hvwg):
And willow warbler (hvwg):
Blue tit (hvwg):
The black headed gull colony continues to grow year on year despite the ominous clouds:
With these two full of the joys of spring yesterday:
And 2X18 has secured a prime spot on the equivalent of Park Lane – the breeze block. For some reason these ‘objects’ we put on as cover for tern chicks fleeing harriers are a source of endless fascination for the gulls:
We’ve also seen quite a good wader passage. The avocets continue to stay and have been seen mating on the bare island near the back to back hides where this lapwing resides:
We’ll see whether they stay – they often seem to disappear but could potentially be feeding on the new scrapes on the river Hull berm? Alan amongst others has pictures on the Flickr page. Also using the marsh have been the same 8 ruff for the last week with a dunlin yesterday (left of shot):
It’s nice to see them in breeding plumage and this flame-haired individual challenging the rest of its group has been a real highlight:
There are more good pics on Michael Flowers’s blog here. Andy Nunn also has a whimbrel on Watton last night – a first for the year and one of likely only handful of sightings each year. The rest of the week has also seen peregrine over O res and red kite in the area; suggesting that both these once rare species are becoming ever more common as breeders now. Marsh harriers we often expect and again have been showing, with a lot of Kestrel activity this year – thanks to Andew Blagden for this one:
Plenty of passage swallows and house martins. Still lingering from winter are the short eared owls on Standingholme fields – to go any time now but still giving photo ops as per Flickr. We have had up to 8 little grebe reported on South Marsh East (hvwg):
I am not sure of the mutual benefits of this, but there was clearly some benefit to both the wigeon and little grebe in this hunting which took place for 10 minutes or more:
Though the wigeon was clearly dominant:
The gadwall too also got itself a little grebe to assist too:
What to expect in coming days? yellow wagtail are already being reported at Spurn - but the real prize at Tophill will be upland migrants; wheatear, chats, redstarts and even a ring ouzel could be a possibility. The barren meadow at Hempholme could be good for all of these. Thanks to David Marritt for this picture of a deceased (what I think from the picture but difficult to scale) pygmy shrew on the path through D res. Possibly left by a fox or stoat which don't seem to favour them - apparently due to the scent glands on their flanks:
When pond dipping with the Wildlife Explorers yesterday in the small pools on the way to North Marsh (near the kingfisher signs), we observed the rare water shrew. Judging by its reluctance to leave the area we suspect it could have had young. If someone wants a real photographic challenge the water shrew could be a good one as they are very seldom encountered. Stay on the path and wait quietly and patiently and you may just get lucky... However the big news was Martin's finding of the earliest ever Yorkshire large red damselfly last Saturday - all the details on his blog. If you want to get into odonata yourself this summer then make sure you check out Paul Ashton's excellent site here.