Sunday, 5 October 2014

Jack out the box

This weekend saw a firm change in the year.  Hobby are generally quite showy in late September and this year was no exception, neither is the traditional last date which is usually within a couple of days of the 30th of September.  Most hirundines and warblers are gone though 2 chiffchaff were singing on the 28th, with one of the last willow warblers - Brian Colley:
Even if the warblers have gone there are still a few migrant hawkers:
The last common tern was logged by Martin on the 21st - who has also migrated south in the annual pilgrimage to Sagres in Portugal; expect some great raptor reports on his return.  We'll settle for a red kite down in the valley however - Brian Colley:
With the more familiar common buzzard:
And ketsrels:
A couple of peregrines this aft, with marsh harrier daily - and plenty of sparrowhawks about - if not seen then crime scene:
The probable highlight; osprey excepted on Tuesday and Thursday - was jack snipe.  Volunteer Pete Drury spotted this one under the SME hide last Thursday:
Snapped too by Roy Vincent - exceptional views of a secretive bird:
One was flushed from Hempholme Meadow during management work last Saturday - along with 5 snipe; part of a wider and continued flock still on SME - 28 yesterday.  A single ruff was a straggler on the 24th.  Even if the exotic waders have moved through the little egrets are still finding the marsh frogs a tasty morsel - Roy Vincent:
 And Darren Smith:
Noticeable today were big movements of wildfowl; a couple of red crested pochard are still about with two on D res today, with 5 pintail on Thursday.  This Scaup was on SMW last week by Brian Colley:
Shoveler now moving to the reservoir:
As the light fades the gulls are moving in; a white crust described on O res this aft - Pics by Brian Colley of D res in the week:
On most observations the Mediterranean gull can be found amongst them but take some picking out - nearly as much as these characters - Brain Colley:
Also undertaking management have been the volunteers - we're currently working on North Scrub clearing routes for the new fence line this autumn for further conservation grazing.  The idea is to control invasive hawthorn and willow before it completely smothers the grassland:
Nothing like a good fire; South Scrub after a warm September is barely recognisable from a couple of postings back - regrowth of all grasses minus thatch:
A bit of water parsnip planting - another 30 plants into South Marsh West - Mike in the mud:
Elsewhere otter seen on North Marsh yesterday - and some cracking fungi about at present.  If you are thinking of enjoying them please sample them photographically only.  As has recently been relayed in the popular media there have been a lot of cases of fungi poisoning of late - and perhaps worse is the loss of interesting species that could be enjoyed by others around the reserve - such as the loss of the prince last week... details here.