Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Wimbledon womble

At the last check on Sunday it would seem the little ringed plover chick is still surviving.  The marsh harriers are still doing well; we have two more harrier walks this coming weekend at 2pm - that said their performances last weekend were somewhat stilted by the heat.  Observers had reported on Sunday morning feed visits every fifteen minutes before 9am, and then nothing for three hours.

The kingfishers appear to be back on form again today after a blip last week - few sightings on North Marsh last week but many happy observers today.  Perhaps they were sulking because we'd removed the 'no fishing' sign having let it run its course.  Our volunteers have carefully cleared around the greater water parsnip and installed some new perches including a beautiful and specially selected semi-rotten moss covered post.  We made the mistake of installing sawn off branches the first year - selecting photogenic perches is now an art form exceeding that of the photography!

The main development of the week has been the steady trickle of northern waders heading south.  Common sandpiper and green sandpiper have been seen in singles on Hempholme and Watton NR like this individual by Tony McLean on Sunday:
He also snapped the highlight of autumn so far - wood sandpiper (left of the heron!):
A crossbill seen by Martin Hodges also added to the autumnal colours - part of an influx in recent days so keep listening out in the pines and spruces of the car park and D woodlands.

Insects therefore are the pick of the moment - like this longhorn beetle leptura quadrifasciata:
We also took advantage of a quiet Sunday afternoon during the Wimbledon match to survey Hempholme at its height.  Grypocoris stysi - a capsid beetle was another nice one on a flag iris: 

For better pictures of both this and other fine beetles check out Paul's and Martin's blogs which illustrate the wader potential the scrapes hold amply.  Both purple heron and little egret have been hiding out on here in recent times.  This sedge warbler was snapped by Martin Lonsdale - most are now on second broods now and the ringing team have updated their blog here:

Cetti's warbler went quiet as soon as its fame was announced - we take it that the young have fledged and the birds gone quiet - although brief bursts were heard on both South Scrub and Hempholme Meadow on Sunday morning.

You may also have seen our advertised open weekend on the 20th and 21st of July this year in partnership with the BBC Summer of Wildlife.  We're still closing down a few details of the event - but a page with the developing programme of events will be appearing above later tonight...