Again our marsh harriers seem to have jumped ahead of schedule. We considered the birds hatched on the 14th of June on the basis of their activity patterns but it transpires it must have been nearer the 7th as they fledged precisely a week early. Tony McLean bagged the first picture yesterday morning viewable on his blog. By this morning one youngster was sat proud in the willows above the nest:
We'd value any observations in the log as to the total number of young visible at any one time. They are readily identifiable by their bronze heads or as 'Duracell batteries'!. Hopefully some exciting viewing to come as they learn to fly; they'll be hanging around the nest for the next two weeks or so and will be giving some great food passes as the parents encourage them to catch prey in mid air.
However note that the harriers don't tend to perform so well in the heat of the midday sun - much like this grass snake who we found up a hawthorn bush oblivious to our presence and clearly trying to keep cool:
Again - check out our Summer of Wildlife page above for more details on the event this weekend and the latest updates:
Bat walk at Hempholme the other night similar to that we'll be running on Saturday with East Yorkshire Bat Group:
More good news was views of the little ringed plover chick - now barely distinguishable from the adults so it looks like one bird raised which is a success as that's the first in about three years.
Some of you may have noticed the hard work put in by our volunteers; we've been excavating scrapes, ditches and hollows into the drained down South Marsh East. This is to attract passage waders such as greenshank, green sandpiper and better. To do this we need water and whilst it may be far from raining we've been able to now drain the neighbouring South Marsh West by a few inches to top up the East - which we've been unable to do whilst the harriers have been nesting. Keep an eye out for waders on both marshes soon...
This roe deer however was making the most of the abundant celery-leaved buttercup the other day:
Black-neck moth - one of our signature breeding moths of North Scrub on the go on Saturday:
Martin's had some more great insects over the weekend - humid nights yielding 818 moths of 134 different species trapped across two days this weekend.