Friday, 15 March 2013

Seven's a crowd

It's spring - allegedly!.  Despite what the thermometer may say the nest box team had the first osprey of 2013 on Tuesday - reportedly perched on one of the owl boxes at Hempholme Meadow.  Michael Flowers had the first chiffchaff of the year today - for more details on his recent visits check out his excellent blog as ever here.

Again the little egrets have been a highlight on Hempholme Meadow.  Fed up of driving past them I took the time at the end of today to try and get some pictures and was rewarded with a nice maxima of 7 birds:
All were feeding actively on what were observed as some small fish - but possibly a lot of odonata larvae? - the main method of feeding being to stir up the sediment with ones toes before striking; so presumably it's something dwelling in the mud that does not readily swim off:
Oystercatchers back too - two pairs on site:
Teal snuffling about:
And plenty of lapwings ready to take up residence:
Yesterday this cracking group of redwing were on show at the water works lawns - pics by Roy Vincent:
And a couple by the editor:
Roy also got these great pictures of a group of eight goosanders on D res on Sunday night:
We often see them come in to roost on the res in late winter - Martin too has some great shots along with some of the mediterranean gulls also present on Sunday on his blog.  The drake scaup was also present on Sunday too.  Yesterday however Roy got these startling pictures of the female goosander consuming a jack pike of similar proportions - payback for all those tufted duck chicks on South Marsh West last summer?:
The red head smew is still present on Watton NR - logged yesterday - not really a vintage winter for them.  Marsh tit was again picked up around the feeders yesterday.  Best of the rest was an otter running across Standingholme meadow in Tuesday's blizzard and meadow pipit and skylarks in surrounding fields.
On a separate note we're coming into renewals time for annual membership permits.  Prices for annual membership 2013-14 are slightly increased at £25 for adults and £17 for concessions (65 and over / registered disabled).  Please note day permit prices will also increase on the 1st of April to £3.30 for adults and £1.50 for concessions. 

All this will be on the visiting page above shortly - along with new renewal forms.  The new permits are still in print at present so we should be ready to take renewals at the end of the month.

For all the updates on the reserve and facility improvements why not pop along to the reserve open meeting on Sunday the 31st of March at 2.30pm - all welcome for a final visit to the old wildlife centre.  Work progresses on the new toilets and should be ready for late April.

So - on the subject of membership renewals, we ran the competition to submit a picture taken at the reserve to form the basis of the new permit.  We received the following entries - red legged partridge covey by John Hakes:
Running cub by Roy Vincent:
Otter cubs by Darren Smith:
Otter mum and cub by Steve Brimble:
All were anonymously voted for by the Yorkshire Water office team and there was a winner...
Well done to Michael Preston for Fieldfare and berries!  Michael's picture forms the basis of the 13/14 permit and he also wins a years membership. 

Thanks again to all who entered - we'll be running the same again for 14-15 - entries close on the 31st December so get snapping!