Friday, 27 March 2015

Egrets Eclipsed

The great natural phenomenon last Friday was interesting to witness - if not for the blotted out display it was interesting to witness the reaction of wildlife to the event.  We noted two little egrets heading down river as they often do at dusk to roost on Watton, a large flock of woodpigeons flying up to roost in Ken's Wood and a small assemblage of black headed gulls on D res:
It also caused confusion for one member of the reserve who spent the duration of the event cleaning his glasses trying to work out why it had gone so dark on North Marsh.

However the next great herald of spring arrived on Sunday with the first little ringed plover of the year on Watton Nature Reserve.  Perhaps slightly unfathomable is why we have yet to see a sand martin on the reserve - a very late season for them here at any rate.  On the flip side the first couple of willow warblers in South Scrub were a reasonably early addition to the summer line up in addition to now plentiful chiffchaffs.

Just passing presumably were two jays last week.  They're a species yet to really get established in Holderness but perhaps as more woodlands mature they may move in, much like the expected nuthatch arrival.  A further 8 whooper swans perhaps saw their passage out and Martin doing an early stint last Saturday witnessed a large (4+) passage of kittiwakes through the reserve on strong easterlies presumably trying to secure their place in Springwatch next week.  Meanwhile the newly partnered red crested pochard remains present on D res with the scaup as since November.  Kingfishers are showing unseasonably well on North Marsh at present; thanks to Steve Brimble for these shots:
Although the kingfisher observers aren't always as benign as the photographers:
Grey heron:
Also seen on north marsh in recent days have been yet more mink - the 9th, 10th and 11th since September in what is truly a plague like proportion this winter.  Thanks to Cameron Thompson for these not so welcome pictures:
That said big thanks to volunteer Chris whom has put the hours in yet again and seen all removed as of yesterday using our new mink trapping rafts which appear to do the job.  Heartening too were these droppings on the Hempholme Meadows raft - showing there are still water voles about:
The first grass snake was seen last weekend and the first two taking an icy swim in North Marsh this afternoon.  6 little egrets were on Hempholme Meadows last week, with 18 redshank on South Marsh East and the dunlin now moved through.  Some nice sunsets on the clearer nights like by Pete McKenzie:
As ever to see some of the above why not pop along to the reserve walk on Saturday the 4th at 10am - free with standard admission.