Friday, 1 April 2016

Supercharged to summer

In the last post we said to expect an array of summer migrants.  However to begin with things were quite steady; Cool weather and lots of rain saw the river swell up again but few migrants:
We had to make do with the now rather splendid looking winter wildfowl which gradually ebbed away - Wigeon - Will Scott:
Teal - Will Scott:
And Goldeneye - Will:
Whilst they may still be here they are certainly frisky - Brian Colley:

4 pintail dropped in between the 12th and 15th.  Shelduck have been a real success story so far on the South Marsh East; several pairs spilling out into hay stacks of south scrub:
Likewise big number of black headed gulls predictably jostling for position:
It was also interesting to test the new remote camera too and its IR capabilities;  It's still in development but it is intended for later installation in the new reception hide:
In the interlude pending the arrival of summer migrants we set about finishing off the last of the winter works.  The biggest of them was the sealing of the leaky lagoons with the plastic piling.  We were told this goes in quite easily so after just around 24800 strikes with a sledgehammer over several days it merited a picture.  Fair credit to these guys for their efforts:
Sledgehammers also bore the brunt with a steady stream of re-shafting (those we hadn't cracked the heads of!):
A worthy moment as water flows into the lagoon again the way it was always supposed to do:
Another job was to re-float the rebuilt (to BAe spec riveting) tern raft on Watton:
It was interesting to see what the lesser black backed's natural diet had been whilst frequenting them.  Spare ribs:
And ketchup:
Presumably frequent forays to Brid sea front?...Also time for a bit more tree planting with the RSPB wildlife explorers:
Mute swans continue to be interested in North Marsh - Tony Simpson:
Along with little egret regularly feeding - Tony:
And grey heron - Tony:
As ever for those lucky enough otter shows erratically - Darren Smith:
And becoming more secretive again will be sparrowhawks - Darren:
And Will (more pictures on his blog here):
Along with some nice novelty ducks - Mandarin by Mike Myers:
And red crested pochards presumably back for the season - Roy Lyon:
We were somewhat dismayed to see chiffchaffs and sand martins circumnavigating Tophill despite a bittern appearing on SMW briefly on the 20th - which may be the last.  Along with a thin on the ground brambling on the feeders on the 22nd.  But everything changed on the weekend of the 25th/26th when everything arrived on masse.  Chiffchaff started arriving in earnest on the site over that weekend after a few stragglers prior, and are now commonplace throughout - Roy Lyon:
The 25th saw the first little ringed plover on site,  The 26th saw a pair of garganey drop in which was a very nice early arrival - Brian Colley:
Also rolling in were a pair of avocet - further details and photos on Martin Hodges site here.  Common scoter also graced us the same day - with another today on the 31st on O reservoir.  Sand Martins also first occurred on the 26th, with the unusual turn up of the first swallow the same day.  Both are now into the tens daily moving through.  The last couple of days saw up to 4 ruff feeding up on the South Marsh East - again captured on the remote camera:
A few wagtails moving through on the walls too - Brian Colley:
So with the forecast for coming days it'll be arrivals thick and fast on the southerly winds...

For a chance to see some we'll be having the monthly reserve walk this Saturday the 1st April - 10am free with standard admission.

It's also renewal time on memberships now.  Thanks to everyone who has already done so.  Prices remain the same as last year £25 for adults to run til next March - or £17 concessions - all the details on the membership page above.  As ever we scoured the blog and Flickr feed for photos submitted and came up with these as a shortlist of images that would work well for the 2016/17 card - Barn owl by Roy Vincent:
 Black necked grebe by Tony Simpson:
 Cuckoo by Maurice Dowson:
 Grey Wagtail - Brian Colley:
 Hobby - Steve Brimble:
Kingfisher - Matthew Binns:
Lapwing flight - Tony McLean:
 Mute Swan - Keaton Roebuck:
 Nightjar - Martin Hodges:
But the winner picked anonymously by vote over at Bradford was Stoat on North Marsh by Darren Smith. 
Congratulations to Darren who has submitted many photos over the years - he wins a years membership and sees his design made into the new card.  We'll be doing the same again this year so keep the images coming!