Friday, 8 November 2013

I don't want to go mum!

The belted Galloway cattle have now left for home (down the road at Beswick), with the calf born on the meadow the most reticent to leave having to be physically loaded into the trailer to join mum!:
We've been enclosing the south scrub over the last couple of weeks in an operation now virtually complete bar some fettling by the volunteers - so expect to see some new belties reappearing for some winter grazing in the next couple of weeks! Roy Lyon:
Fine fettling of the Hempholme Meadow tidying up and spraying off unwanted reedmace and poplar suckers the cattle hasn't got to dislodged 3 common and 1 jack snipe along with multiple water voles.  There was even a lonely common darter still on the wing on one of the scrapes today.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the last couple of weeks was on Tuesday last week when a short eared owl flew through Watton NR heading north mobbed by jackdaws.  There seems to be good numbers of voles about this year; but there haven't been many reports of shorties at migration points yet - so maybe this winter is good for lemmings?

Otherwise 17 whooper swans were a nice highlight on D res - thanks to Jeff Barker for these:
And Roy Vincent:
Unfortunately we heard via Wilfholme birder Ivan Nethercoate today that two had hit power cables just south of Watton NR - killing one adult and injuring a juvenile which is in veterinary care now - a great shame when they've made the long journey from Iceland.  Goldeneyes are arriving like this one by Mal Jones:
And a nice selection of wildfowl on Watton by Brian Colley.
Elsewhere up to three cetti's warblers have been calling on the southern site - indicating a presumed winter of activity to come.  Cream crown marsh harrier yesterday and an escaped falconry bird with jesses reportedly like a lanner falcon.  Goosander, water rail, pintail, little egret, marsh tit, willow tit and golden plover have all been on the scene too with a sizeable curlew roost in the pitch black this evening on South Marsh West.  Mediterranean gulls have been present in numbers of up to two on most roost watches which have seen some spectacular counts of late - thanks to Roy Lyon for these:
Otters continue to show occasionally - on North Marsh on Tuesday - check out Jeff's pic on Flickr.

And thanks to Andy Nunn for this brown long eared bat resting up in one of the hides last week:
We've also had two separate reports of UFO's at the reserve this week - Steve Hines captured this image of a 'green UFO' over D res:
And Brian Colley reports this 'alien message' on the steps of O res:
Debate is open as to whether this is life from another planet making contact?  Perhaps the local fox had the answer to this beautifully composed work on Hempholme Meadow complimenting initial composition by the belted galloways; we think it worthy of the 'turder prize' for modern art...
You'd pay a fortune in London to put that on your wall you know.