Monday, 30 June 2014

We three kings

Whilst the blog posting may be a reference to our current celebrities it is also a reference to the icy grasp of winter! That's 'ur lot folks - first green sandpiper on the 21st, followed by dunlin on the 23rd, greenshank on the 26th and common sandpiper on the 29th.  Breeding seasons been and gone and they're heading back south - as I always say spring starts in December when the Tawny's start scrapping over territories.  So on this cheery note a look at some of the summers highlights - barn owls successfully bred on the North Scrub - an initial 3 birds appeared as two when Robin Arundale of the Wolds Barn Owl Group arrived - but the eldest may have already jumped.  Pictures by John Hesslewood of the nest box team:
Needing lots of voles - Bill Eggleton:
Tufty family on North Pond - John Coish:
Mayfly sp. by Bruce Pillinger:
And emergent damselfly nymphs around the reservoir walls by Roy and Lukas:
If only they paid more attention to the stencils!:
Bee orchid by Chris Bell - Nest box team man Terry Mahoney managed to get the count up to a probable all tome record of 199 around the O reservoir last week.  What's so good about this year if you're an orchid is unknown:
Common Blue by Roy Vincent:
Along with ringlet:
At least one osprey was still hanging around last weekend - great shots here by Andy Marshall:
Roy Vincent:
And perhaps also for the future - cracking shot of a common crane coming in to land on Watton NR by Tony McLean - more details on his blog:
Marsh harriers still good enough for us though - North Marsh pair doing well - Darren Smith:
And Bill Eggleton:
Roe deer on North Marsh by Tony Simpson:
And Roy Vincent:
And otter briefly - John Coish:
But the show stealers as ever... Kingfisher season 2014 is now in full swing! Tony Simpson:
Chris Bell:
John Coish:

Bill Eggleton:
Bruce Pillinger:
Alan Wrightson:
Roy Vincent:
And this big bird showed well at numerous birding sites on Saturday - Bill Eggleton:

News of a couple of events this weekend too:

It's national moth night this weekend and to celebrate Martin will be allowing onlookers to join him this Sunday Morning at 10am at the wildlife centre.  Its a drop in event so no booking necessary - hopefully a muggy night will produce a trap full of impressive species.  A fitting tribute to the milestone 550th species recorded at Tophill Low since 1993 last weekend in the form of poplar kitten - details on Martins blog.

In the afternoon by popular demand too will be a botanical walk with Alan Marshall - our resident botanist and finder of hybrid St.John's wort and other such delights.  Again drop in to join him at 2pm on Sunday 6th afternoon.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

too many too late

Star bird of the last few days has undoubtedly been the two ospreys on the river Hull around North Marsh.  Picked out on Friday morning Maurice Dowson got these great shots;
We've been hoping for a few years now that ospreys may settle at or near Tophill Low - there's certainly no shortage of habitat for them in the area.  These birds will both be sub-adults on walkabout prior to breeding in future years - hopefully they like what they see? There's been speculation as to whether one of the birds may be the satellite tagged one which went through Flamborough and Spurn.  Details are here.  Certainly the bird in our pictures shows no tag - or indeed any rings which is an oddity these days for ospreys - more pics by Roy Vincent:
And Alan Walkington:
They've been moving around the river - more details on Erich's page.  That said the marsh harriers were suitably unimpressed by new neighbours - the North Marsh pair seeing them off aided by the local buzzards and sparrowhawks too; pictures by Alan Walkington:
Roy Vincent:

And Andy Marshall:
There are currently two pairs of sparrowhawks breeding as we are aware - here is the nest of one we found on last weeks breeding bird survey:
Most of the tawny owls around the reserve have fledged and gone - the team ringed this adult bird the other weekend; Graham ages the bird:
Released back into the woodland:
New life too all around - we've popped another 50 greater water parsnips in with Bryan Mallison in recent days as part of the ongoing and successful re-introduction programme - and in doing so uncovered this fawn in the grass outside Hempholme Meadows hide:
Another female with two fawns was snapped by Maurice Dowson on North Marsh:
No the biggest herbivore as we now have the belted galloways back in Hempholme Meadow.  Bee orchids seem to be one of the best years on record, with as many as 98 recorded so far around the O reservoir hay meadows - pics by John Pickering:
And Roy Vincent:
Also the best year yet for the hairy dragonfly - confirmed ovi-positing this year they're now common across the reserve after appearing just a few years ago.  These remarkable pictures by Roy Lyon show one eating a mating pair of damsels;
The female is left unharmed with the abdomen of her former mate still attached:
Four spotted chasers smart too; Roy Lyon:
Some late great crested grebes showing promise on South Marsh East; Maurice Dowson:
Along with already successful pochard, gadwall and mallard broods; Roy Vincent:
And a seeming return of black headed gulls to a quieter marsh sans lesser black backed's; Andy Marshall:
Other sightings in recent days have also included red kite, garganey, cetti's warbler, little gull.  Red legged partridge on the access road by Christine Watts:
Young blackcap in D woods by Roy Lyon:
Grass snake by Jonathon Roe:
Great spotted woodpecker Roy Lyon:
Lime hawkmoth by Roy Lyon found in the traps by Martin Hodges - more details as ever here
All places are now filled on the final otter walk of the year - but instead the new stars of the show have started the annual performance - back by popular demand; Kingfishers now increasingly regular - first shot by Christine Watts:
We'll be clearing out views and readying perches tomorrow...