The day started with an early morning at Arne when we broadcasted the reserves dawn chorus live on the internet. We picked up chiffchaffs, willow warblers, black caps, chaffinches, and greenfinches amongst others. It was great to wake up to and thanks to Paul for coming along to provide commentary.
We had a little bit of excitement when a marsh tit appeared on the feeders for the first time in over a year! These were regular visitors at one time but disappeared after the very cold winter of last year. There call is a loud ‘pit-chu’ which according to Rob sounds a bit like a ‘wild west’ gun fight!
Marsh tit - Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
There are some interesting waders about at the moment with quite a few whimbrels passing through and a number of smart summer plumage grey plovers on the Middlebere channel. There are at least 3 spoonbills about and as it is a bit late for them to still be here they are probably immature non-breeding birds so there is a chance that they may stay in the harbour over the summer.
After a chilly grey start it soon warmed up and turned in to a really sunny day and with ith the warm weather we got a lot of reports of sand lizards on Coombe heath. This is the time of year when the smart green males display and fight for territories and females and can be quite easy to see.
This brilliant male sand lizard was seen on Coombe heath today by pudweena (Mr)
Talking of reptiles remember Our reptile weekend on 19 and 20 May - We are running bookable guided walks on both mornings (spaces still available for Sunday) and then will be giving hourly show and tells after 12pm to show you some of the amazing lizards and snales that call Arne there home! http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-308779
Back at the visitor centre the kestrel cam has been compulsive viewing with a fourth chick hatching yesterday and lot of food being brought in by the male today. It was amazing the range prey being caught including a bank vole, a slow worm, a common shrew and finally a common lizard which was still alive when it arrived! At least the chick won’t get bored with a lack of variety!
The feeders at the back of the visitor centre are still alive with birds including siskins, nuthatches, goldfinches and greenfinches but if you cast your eyes to the ground you are likely to spot the bank voles and wood mice that live under the building and dart back and forth picking up discarded seeds that have fallen in their paths!
One of the visitor centre bank voles taken by wormsmum - This species is a favourite of our kestrel family!
Dom - I am glad you have fully digested our interp boards - Spoonbills haven't bred as yet in the harbour as thay dissappear to the Netherlands but as I was saying there may be a chance that a couple of immature ones will stay ( a bit loke the non breeding Bl T godwits do). This is waht the boards are refering to but as with last year the big influx is ussually September time. Who can forget the sight of 29 spoonbills on the reserve!!
pudweena - really nice shots of the sand lizards - great to see - Rob went up and only saw a dissapearing tail!
Off-line and not back home til lunchtime or would have definitely got up to listen! Had a great pm at Arne and saw loads, shame missed the Marsh Tit though as never seen one yet, still, you don't see a Sand Lizard every day so can't complain :-)
lazy bones...so did I..:-)
P.S. Missed Paul's commentary sadly!
The spoonbills have never bred in the harbour then? I was a bit confused by that new interp board in the Coombe Heath hide which has spoonbills present all year.