Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Turds everywhere

Sunday morning and one of our visitors popped in to tell us the site was covered with 'thousands of turds' - questioningly Derrick and myself asked again:- 'Turds - everywhere'.  Thinking we were in for a good poo event that afternoon we had a look at the back of his camera - TOADS!.  Anyone familiar with the Hull accent will appreciate vowels are often pronounced 'eughh'.  As one of Michael Flowers course members pointed out perhaps Philip Larkin had a totally different meaning in his poem! (see here).  Anyhow toads certainly were everywhere and considerably later than usual as with most things this year - thanks to Roy Vincent for these shots:
We did come across some turds on the afternoon event too - a useful comparison of mink scat and some rather water blown otter spraint:
The prediction last week was that Spring would arrive this week and it certainly did! Hundreds of sand martins on the reservoir tonight:
Also stacks of swallows and house martins.  The two Pete's Dove and Casey even bagged swift over the car park on Saturday night - jet propelled on these southerly winds.  I managed the first yellow wagtail on D res wall on Saturday - thanks to Roy L for this pic:
Along with numbers of pied wags too:
Brian Bielby hit a peak of 14 on Sunday.  Meanwhile Martin bagged the first willow warbler of the year at the southern end of site Saturday too - himself revelling in a moth trap actually getting into double figures - details here.  Sunday saw John Wilkinson get the first sedge warbler of the year at the north and, with Michael Flowers getting more today.  John also managed an unseasonal Jay too.  The latest arrival was again by Brian today - common whitethroat near D reservoir this afternoon. 

A nice passage bird was picked up by John Leason on Saturday as we'd hoped on the drained Southern Marshes; an alpina race dunlin which display longer bill, chestnut on the black and extensive black on the chest. Further details here. Also visiting the marshes again are four avocets today - unfortunate as we have now drained them.  As stated last time though their chances of success were limited with the fox situation as was, and hopefully the habitat will be improved for them in future.  Thanks to Chris Bell for these images of grass snakes also on the go around site: 

Along with kestrel:
And little egret:
Still on Hempholme tonight:
Along with paired up Gadwall:
And even grey partridge which is a nice endorsement of the habitat:
Otherwise the other highlights included red necked grebe on O reservoir - not seen since Monday when Steve Routledge left it to go chasing funny teal... check out the report here and also Paul Ashton's excellent blog too which features many of the summery invertebrates also on the go.  The ring necked duck was still about on D res yesterday and looking smart - thanks to Roy L for this:

Roy Vincent:
And John Coish for these:
Finally thanks to volunteer Rob Quarmby of the unfortunate barn owl the team found the other week.  We've set Wolds Barn Owl Group man Robin Arundale on the case - who has had other recent casualties too.  Two birds recovered at Skerne last week were both 50% underweight.  It would seem this year there is a vole crash - the opposite of last year when massive numbers attracted multiple short eared owls and hen harriers, both of which have barely been seen this year.  Hopefully our barn owls will survive to breed this season...