Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The year terns

Southerly winds have blown in the birds in a big way - but to start with there are still a few wintry species to experience.  Ivan Nethercoate picked up a rarity this winter - short eared owl hunting Wilfholme Carrs on Saturday the 29th with Martin Hodges observing two there a day later.  A ring tail hen harrier was present over Hempholme Meadows on the 25th.  the curlew flock is still present in numbers of up to 70 on Watton NR with numbers of fieldfare.  A female scaup has been a fixture on the reservoirs all week and was still present today and had been joined by three common scoters on the 1st.  Leaving too were 280+ golden plover heading north on the 22nd.  The kestrels seem to tantalise us annually before leaving to breed elsewhere - Cameron Thomson:
Passing through has been this drake pintail here trying to impress a lady by Mal Jones - still about:
Also through have been the first of the little gull passage - 3 on the 1st.  Sand martins have been a fixture with a daily 20 or so over the res and hitting a peak of 50+ today.  A med gull was present on the 28th.  There's been a movement of pied wagtails with up to 9 seen including a continental white on the 1st and a number of skylarks and meadow pipits.

New arrivals have come thick and fast chiffchaffs like this one by Andy Marshall hit a peak counted by Brain Beilby of 14 across site:
March 31st appears to have been perhaps the most important day of the spring migration with Les and Margaret Bardwell bagged the first little ringed plover of the year in the morning, and Lee Johnson the first swallow later that afternoon along with the first blackcap on North Scrub.  Brian Beilby found the first willow warbler of the year in South Scrub on the evening.

And very notable was the common tern picked out by Wendy Wright today on D res - As I can determine at the moment this is the earliest ever record at Tophill - beating my own set in 2011 on the 8th of April (here) by a substantial 6 days! It would appear according to birdguides that this is the most northerly common tern to date. 

Barn owls have been active - pictures by Cameron Thomson
And Cameron snapped these too; otter on North Marsh again for this lucky enough (showed Thursday to Saturday consecutively)
Old news now; but great to see has been a lot of breeding activity from water voles on North Marsh.  Similar latrines up at Hempholme appear to show a thriving population (with a lack of mink)
Readying other habitat too have been the RSPB wildlife explorers - building the snake refugia for this breeding season:
Not long now will be sedge and reed warbler along with whitethroat and house martin.  To see some of the above the reserve walk will be on as ever on Saturday the 5th at 10am - free with standard admission.