Thursday, 8 May 2014

A swift entrance

Swifts have been the big arrival since the last post - many hundreds in recent days moving through site.  The greatest spectacle has undoubtedly been the pair of garganey on Watton NR which turned up on the 29th of May and showed well for Saturday's reserve walk - unfortunately no pictures yet of these showy birds.  The last report on Hempholme Meadow on Sunday the 6th too was a tempting prospect, but perhaps the three snipe are a more likely and still notable breeding success.

Marsh harriers still continue to tantalise us.  It's a certainty they will nest in the environs of the reserve this year - but where is yet to be determined. They keep visiting last years nest site but have not been seen carrying any material yet - for interest the first logged incidence of this was the 05th of May last year; so what are they up to?..

There are still a few stragglers heading north - up to five pintail in recent days, 3 scaup were on O on the 27th and 1 on D on the 2nd, and this common scoter was giving some of the best photo ops of one ever at Tophill for Brian Colley yesterday on the 7th after arriving a day earlier:
Likewise barnacle goose on South Marsh by Brian:
Elsewhere wood sandpipers on Watton on the 26th and South Marsh East on the 1st were notable records of this scarce migrant, common sandpipers have been regular, 1 whimbrel on the 2nd and a white wagtail amongst 14 more pied's on the 5th.  Common terns have arrived and a pleasing 6 were logged on the 5th which will hopefully settle down to breed soon - Brian Colley:
Elsewhere some species have already bred - long-tailed tits on first broods by Roy Vincent:
Plenty of sedge warblers - Roy Vincent:
Common whitethroat - Brian Colley:
Orange tips:
Some cracking shots of all things invertebrate on Paul Ashton's blog here from the weekend including the latest emergent damselflies, and also on Steve Routledge's blog here.  For those who prefer beasties with a spinal column Roy Vincent snapped this Roe Buck at North Marsh:
And Andy Marshall showing the water voles under the hide survived the mink:
Otter is a regular piscivor on the North Marsh and has been showing well in recent days - thank to David Johnson for this one:
I've finally found time to add the otter walk dates on the events page above.  We're teaming up with Dave from Wolds Birding to offer the first on the 16th of May with another on the 30th and the final on the 13th of June (all Friday nights).  They are priced at £5 inc admission this year and will start at 7pm.  As ever otters never guaranteed 'but we always see something.'  Strictly book in advance only as places are limited - ring 01377 270690 for further details and bookings. 

And as and finally... If you like your vertebrates really big check this out! Grey seal snapped by Martin Hodges from the river bank at Tophill the other day - more info and pics on his blog here.