Wednesday, 19 February 2014

An otter show off

Undoubted show-stealers of the minute seem to be the otters which have been showing to many very well on the North Marsh at entirely sociable hours.  First off thanks to Roy Vincent for these:
Followed by Chris Cox
And Michael Flowers
Also visit Dave Tuckers excellent blog for a great film of them here.

Certainly it appears to be always the same mother with two cubs with the separate dog otter passing through occasionally.  Presumably this is the same which bred back in summer just yards from the harriers on South Marsh.  These are the same animals which we've recently discovered hunting the O reservoir having learnt how to climb the concrete steps to exploit their own personal ocean of 170 million gallons.  The trail camera captured this shot of them back in October:
That said even they may have found it a bit rough a week ago tonight - the storms brought a few trees down around the reserve, not least this sycamore (as is always the case with trees its the ones with no obvious faults) which narrowly missed one of the houses:
Thanks again to the volunteers who rapidly had it cleared and the firewood donated in lieu of fence.  Elsewhere this little project was best left to the professionals - not looking for aliens but stripping out the former wildlife centre:
Other worldly though was the male hen harrier which showed a week last Sunday on Struncheonhill and Leven Carrs.  Its since been complemented by a ring tail (or female in other words) around too - Andy Marshall snapped the male over North Marsh yesterday evening:
Sometimes its not all about the exotica though - rare and exciting can be found in all spectrums.  Martin as ever has been putting the hours in on the D res roost uncovering oddity gulls (comments welcome) as debated on his blog here.  Along with a caspian gull on the 15th there have been several Mediterranean gulls and Geoff Dobbs located the kumlien's gull for the second time ever on the 17th which may account for Paul Bishop's possible iceland on the 12th. 

Interest too in the undergrowth in the form of this new weevil for site Anthonomus pedicularius found by Andy Nunn.  At some stage it will be incorporated into the lists above - but this winter has just not been cold enough to get round to it!:
The best of the rest have included great white egret on the 10th with up to 5 little egret, 32 pink footed geese were heading north on the 10th and short eared owl on the 16th at north marsh.  Barn owl, marsh harrier, willow and marsh tit and pintail are all daily sightings at the moment with water rail scrapping over territory at the moment like this one on South Lagoon by Andy Marshall:
Spring's certainly here - oystercatcher and shelduck back on breeding grounds are the confirmation. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Greyt sighting

Undoubted bird of the week showed up on North Marsh at 15:30 today - Bill Eggleton captured these shots of a stunning male hen harrier:
The resplendent bird appeared off the river and hunted the area around Hallytreeholme and North Marsh for around five minutes:
Shortly before 17:00 whilst on the telephone I was lucky enough to see the bird flying over the picnic tables of all places! So hopefully it'll grace us for a while yet.  Marsh Harrier also put in an appearance in the afternoon.  Otters have been showing very well in the last week; showing repeatedly all week on North Marsh and others - Bruce Pillinger got these great photos:
Along with Eddie Laker's too:
For those trying to spot the entrance to the new holt it's in the middle of this pic (we removed a couple of tree stumps that had the potential to regrow and block the view at huge input - but we are now 'done'):
This common buzzard too was over on Saturday's reserve walk:
And kestrel by Bill:
Predation has been the order of the day - this short tailed vole was the unhappy morsel for this grey heron:
Much happier was this bank vole that lives under the paving slabs under the feeders:
Above them the usual action - long tailed tits:
And the ubiquitous marsh tits:
We've been getting a bit worried the marsh tits have seen off the rarer willow tits - but Michael Flowers confirmed they are still very much present on Wednesday.  More details of Michael's visit here.  Other sightings have included yellow legged gull on Wednesday, and the pair of scaup still on D res:
Med gull was on the roost on Sunday night with little egrets regularly on the flooded Hempholme Meadow.  A fine drake shoveler on South Marsh by Bill: