The word on everyone's lips for the last couple of weeks is 'what's happening with the marsh harriers?' We can reveal that they are nesting on the reserve this year - but unfortunately not in last years location on South Marsh West.
We have last years pair on North Marsh back again (which were kept low profile as the back up plan). We're ok with publicising them as they are very well tucked away - the best description is featured at the end of this blog entry from a couple of years ago.
So why haven't the South Marsh ones come back? They've been seen in the area and even at the nest site but haven't settled. Three reasons we reckon why not;
1 - The oil seed rape crop this year has grown - a freezing spring following winter floods last year stilted growth and removed this now favoured breeding habitat. This year it was in full flower in March.
2 - The neighbours - last year we drained South Marsh East for management and the main residents all summer were a peace loving and tasty family of little ringed plovers. Contrast to this year and the black headed gull colony is back with a vengeance - along with some menacing relatives. Regular Darren reported a harrier attempting to land at the nest last week was mobbed so heavily it couldn't put down - or even sit in the tree behind
3 - And finally the law of sod - we installed a camera a few months back overlooking last years nest site in the hope we'd get some great views! Bit like taking a camera on a fishing trip...
Barn owls are currently feeding 3 chicks and the tawny owls have already entertained many in the car park some great shots here from Darren Smith:
dunlin at Watton on the 8th, 10th, 12th,
wood sandpiper on SMW on the 14th - pic by Karen Williams
blog for all the moth news.
There have been a few otter sighting of late - there are a few last minute places left on Friday night's event - £5 per person - ring 01377 270690 to book before hand. Tony McLean snapped this one at the back of Watton NR last week: