Well we certainly have had a big turn around in the weather over the last couple of days and I am back in my shorts! All of a sudden dragonfly and damselfly larvae are leaving the ponds around the reserve and taking to the wing as newly emerged adults! one of the most common species about at the moment is the large red damselfly so keep an eye out for them on your walk.
This spring it seemed unusually quiet for ospreys on the reserve with many flying straight through to their nesting sites but today we had a couple of sightings. First off one was seen flying in the direction of Hartland moor with a fish in its talons and then was spotted latter on flying just off of Shipstal point. This is a bit late for ospreys to be in the harbour so fingers crossed that this is a young bird that may hang around for a bit longer.
Last weekend we held a series of reptile show and tells when we showed visitors some of Arnes incredible snakes and lizards and in the the last few days they have been fairly easy to spot around the reserve. Male sand lizards have been seen basking on a lot of the sandy heathland paths and a small amount of patience can been rewarded with some great views of the second rarest reptile in Britain. In fact the rarest British reptile has been spotted out and about as well. Although there are plenty of smooth snakes on the reserve they are very elusive and rarely seen out in the open but a couple of days ago a visitor to this picture of one slithering across the path on Coombe heath! You can clearly see the understated black marks all the way along the back of the snake and it lacks the distinctive diamond pattern of the adder.
Photo by Jenny Millard
It is the time of year that Nightjars are returning to Britain from Africa and I have been out onto the heath a few times in the last couple weeks to try and locate some with out much success but last night - Bingo! I was hoping that the warm weather was going to bring out more flying insects and encourage more nightjar activity and I wasn't disapointed. At about 9:30 I heard the first male churring and as I walked in that direction I got some great views of one flitting across the top of a small ridge before settling on a small bush to churr! It was brilliant seeing my first ever nightjars when I arrived at the reserve last year but to be honest it was just as exciting seeing them again this year.
We still have spaces on the first 'Creatures of the Night' walk this Saturday so if you would like a chance to see some early nightjars along with some of the bats that live on the reserve then book today! http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-308782
There are lots of linnets and meadow pipits on the heath and I got some great views of a singing Dartford warbler the other evening. There are up to 5 spoonbills still around and I watched 3 feeding along the Middlebere channel at a rising tide yesterday evening!
Finally a quick reminder to come along to the first spider Sunday of the year this weekend and find out more about the the life of spiders on the reserve. http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-308783
Wow - never heard of a smooth snake lying in the middle of a path before! It looks rather settled.
Nice plug for the Arne nightjar walks courtesy of Chris Pakcham's new series on BBC1 earlier today.
We do get occasional sightings of smooth snakes on the paths but it is very unusual (only about 4 or 5 last year).
Just checked the programme out on I player - Blimey that's from about 5 years ago - good timing though! www.bbc.co.uk/.../Hands_on_Nature_05_12_2005
Nature programmes never die - their particles simply get recycled.
sorry I can't make it tonight Michael but I wish to come back another time for sure.