To be fair one we did tip one out of a box... This individual was re-released on the reserve from Peel veterinary clinic at Hornsea after being found exhausted next to the road at Bewholme. It could be representative of the influx to the area and had perhaps travelled a good distance?
However vast hordes of egrets were never really the target of our endeavours. Really its been about waders. Near nightly it seems black tailed godwits alight but often are gone by the following morning - an excellent Tophill count of 39 were present on the 26th - best for some time:
On past form the peak of the autumn passage is August the 15th. For members evenings seem to be yielding good results at present. We also need to bag a wood sandpiper (or better) which is a fairly obvious omission at present given those elsewhere and the quality of food on offer here.
Not strictly a mud lark but hidden in the fringes has been the bittern. An early arrival it may well be with us the rest of winter. It (or one?) was being chased about by herons on south marsh the other week and a few days ago Dave Hobson captured it on North Marsh:
here - and a smart pine hawkmoth for starters:
Dredging isn't just a problem for parsnip though. Last summer we never got the level down on Watton NR despite our best efforts to unblock outfalls. Again this summer we made three separate rodding trips to no avail. However on the final trip we realised the issue; The non-return valve into Barmston Drain had been sheared off by the digger and left in the depths:
This meant water is free to come back into the pits and as the level is kept up for irrigation over summer in the drain, the key summer period of wader passage all mud is covered - water howling back in here:
A deep sea salvage to rival the Mary Rose was launched and the hulk recovered from the bottom of Barmston Drain. After some skilful in house fabrication and out house welding it was ready for re-fitting - Pete Drury.
Freshly re-installed its now working a treat:
And is perhaps the best kingfisher perch on the reserve.
The level has already dropped on the pits by 4" and we hope to get the 'muddy triangle' back for late summer. Incidentally the Easingwold cattle will be munching their way in anytime soon. Likewise the Tophill Galloways are currently munching North Scrub. Hempholme Meadow has just been hay cut and is well worth a look for waders on the open aspect too.
If you've ever fancied volunteering on the reserve we can never have too many rakers at this time of year. Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays we have gangs helping round the site working hard most of the time:
Contact us for details.
Hay cutting also benefits these guys:
Plenty about but a bale moved on the Hempholme hay dump revealed hundreds of eggs last week and was quickly replaced. Potentially thousands of snakes are due to hatch any moment, and unfortunately will be substitute earthworms for hungry blackbirds and thrushes in parched conditions.
Another species breeding in proliferation too has been barn owls. 2015 was a fruitless year both here and across most of the UK (the first since 2006 we haven't had a chick off). But boom follows bust on the vole front, and 2 chicks were ringed by Robin from the Wolds Barn Owl Group two weeks back - Terry Mahoney:
However these two chicks hadn't even fully fledged before the parents had already laid a second clutch in the other box. Two broods has happened before but not simultaneously. For more details on the ringing programme in south scrub see here. Perhaps the best highlights since last time here have been a juv cetti's - again confirming breeding success on the reserve, and marsh tit showing a continued presence and expansion in the southern site.
Next season we hope will be another good barn owl year too, as we hope to broadcast them on telly in the new reception hide. Indeed most monitoring of the brood this year has already been by remote camera and is working well.
The building works have been developing apace. Most landscaping is near complete now with the new access ramps near finished and the extensive new pond dug with southern hawker, common darter already ovipositing and diving beetle moved in. Alas unbelievably marsh frog has already colonised the pond after just 2 days. So once the machinery stops there'll still be no peace... A good write up on Erich's blog here. Otherwise I will do a specific post related to the new build soon...
Next event coming up is the bat evening on the 25th of August at 9pm. Led by East Yorkshire Bat Group specialist Geoff Wilson it should be a great night. Free with standard admission - book in advance on 01377 270690.
Beyond this other things that spring to mind!; Currant clearwing new, butterbur moth new, brown argus back on the reserve, small coppers about, breeding treecreeper, herons fledged, kestrel family active, otter seen, marsh harrier, hobby about, peregrine about, garganey still three present, wigeon back in... Too much about this time of year and not enough time...