The sleeping giant awakes! A great high tide this morning with the waders putting on a most excellent display. Last couple of days peaks have included 13 spotted redshank, 11 ruff, 4 green sandpipers, 4 greenshank, 3 avocets, 4 black-tailed godwits, 43 snipe, 16 dunlin, 15+ golden plover, grey plover, 12+ curlew, 30 oystercatchers (flying west), little ringed plover, and a good number of redshank and lapwing who seem to particularly like feeding around where the Koniks have been dunging! There's some good high tides this weekend so hopefully the wader watching will continue to improve
To help everyone get out early and see the reserve we will be opening at 8am through August (usually 9am official opening time). However, please do not enter the site until the gates are unlocked!
I forgot to mention the two immature garganey from last weekend, they can be tricky to separate from the teal so keep a good eye on the moulting duck. Other recent highlights have been 2 little egrets, cuckoo, bearded tits and water rail (at Marshland), breath taking views of the young and adult marsh harriers, hobby, and lots of reed and sedge warblers. Tree sparrows still abound with over 90 seen around the feeders!
There have been tantalising glimpses of what is probably one of the young bitterns in recent days and it looks like they are just about fledged! Keep an eye out for the female at Singleton though as she is still flighting in to feed the youngsters.
Lots of other interesting wildlife to see on site too with lots of strange and wonderful insects, a family of 5 weasels (!), hare, roe deer, while the marsh sow thistle is putting on a fantastic show this year. Also of flower/plant interest recently are angelica and one of the allium (onion) species! (see pictures in the gallery). Have a look too at Mikes Moths too! Usually the best are on display on Saturdays mornings.
Below - Black-tailed godwit and lapwing in front of Marshland - showing some great reflections!
My first Mouse moth of the year - This BAP (Biodiversity action plan) species seems to like sheltering inside the hides! Like many moths it's numbers are declining
While shepherding the girls (our 36 Heifers), on Sunday I came across this amazing UFO on the grazing marsh, See below!
At first I had to ask myself the question 'Is it life'? Well not as we know it (Jim), and that is why it turned out to be an Unidentified Fungus-like Object! It was quite strange to the touch being like a spongy slimy texture nothing which I have ever come across before. Of course being a tidal reedbed and grazing marsh we don't have a lot of fungi so this one took me a bit by surprise. A bit of research has revealed it to be a Spongiporus species but I'm not sure what species as I cannot tell what sort of wood its on and I don't have a lot of experience in their ID. If anyone out there is a Fungi expert and would like to suggest a species I would be very grateful indeed.
Lots of birds to see on the reserve including 17 species of wader this weekend including 17 spotted redshank, and turnstone over. Also 70 common terns west during a thunder storm and the first Short eared owl of the autumn. See my last blog for the full range of recent species on site. A party of 4 young bearded tits with their parents (First hide) indicated that the late broods are still fledging so hopefully we'll end up with a good breeding season after all for this reserve speciality.
Other wildlife has been adding interest to the days birding with many insects now on the wing particularly a good range of beautiful hoverflies - see pics below. Amazing how good and useful digital cameras are for recording your days sightings. I'm not an expert on hoverflies so don't expect an ID - just take a look next time you visit and enjoy!
Below - drone fly, so called because it looks like a bee drone (drone is the male)
And a couple of nice little ones - again if anyone can ID feel free to post the species.
The last few days has seen a nice mix of species using the reserve particularly an increase in hobby sightings with one nice adult taking black tailed skimmers of Singleton lagoon yesterday just prior to the bittern flying in!
Its not a classical wader passage this year but still a nice mix of species on site with 17 spotted redshank, 3 greenshank, 7 green sandpipers, 3 ruff, little ringed plover 2 dunlin and a handful of redshank, lapwing, curlew, and snipe. Highlight has been the odd golden plover in summer plumage on marshland (see photo).
The water rails on Marshland have been fantastic with up to five birds present and also up to three bearded tits have started to show well too. Lots of beardies around Singleton lagoon this morning too.
Marsh harriers continue to show well but there are not as many around as earlier in the month as the young are starting to move away into the arable fields.
Quite a lot of smaller birds are suddenly starting to re-appear after their mid summer moult and early southward passage. Highlights have been 150 linnets roosting at Singleton, 90+ tree sparrows (including the leucistic bird), lots more goldfinch, and then reed buntings, willy warblers, sedge warblers, reed warblers, whitethroats and even the odd grasshopper warbler still reeling!
The local weasels have been entertaining with one playing hide and seek with me yesterday evening!
Golden plover above and ruff below! Photo's by Tim and Si
As I'm working out of the country tomorrow over at the Dee estuary I thought I'd better do an early quick mid week blog. (And yes I did say country. I'm afraid I'm a typical Yorkshire-man!).
I seem to have been up to my neck in the stuff recently, manure that is, busy looking at just what the Koniks are achieving with all their munching. And yes its been very interesting indeed if not a bit smelly though with all sorts of amazing wildlife taking advantage of those delactable manure piles. Those of you who have visited recently may have noticed that some of the waders too have been busy on wet days at the front of xerox taking advantage of all the extra invertebrates and feeding away from the pools, particularly snipe and lapwing so there are advantages all round. Three cheers for the Boys! Koniks that is......
Here are some photo's of what I've been finding.
Dung beetle tucking into its favorite food - yep you've guessed it, dung
Some nice looking Fungi right in the dung pile! - I'm still searching for the species
The boys loafing around at the front of Xerox! Grazing and producing dung is hard work
And finally, will species such as this Strawberry clover (different to red clover) benefit or not from pony grazing?
Wow what a stunningly beautiful morning today compared to the heavy rain and chilly Northerly wind of yesterday! But of course birdwatching is not a fair weather pastime and the change in conditions brought a bit of autumn migration back to the Humber.
We also manged to 'ship' off most of the water that had accumulated on the active wader lagoons of Marshland, Xerox and Townend and cut the vegetation in front of Marshland so hopefully everything is all set for the weekend! We have some good numbers of greenshank (17), spotted redshank (28), Ruff (20) Redshank (35), snipe (20+), green sandpiper (4), with then a mix of other's around with occassional black tailed godwits (up to 6), single dunlin, 2 turnstone (over) and then a very brief flyover curlew sandpiper. There are also up to 22 curlew on the grazing marsh and odd parties of oystercatcher west. It will be interesting to see if we get a late passage of smaller wader but we are certainly missing the Northerlies and Easterlies that we need to bring the eastern breeders. Interestingly I was reading one of the old reserve reports from the 1980's and I can assure everyone that there were indeed blank curlew sandpiper years back in the good old days! Funny how we all remember the best passage years.
Other summer passage migrants present yesterday were whinchat and wheatear with also a few 'winter' migrants including 7 pintail on Singleton lagoon and a few widgeon plus the first signs of some meadow pipit passage. I also heard that last week someone had spotted a rare Kenus Clarkus on the reserve, a first for the site!
Our reserve 'regulars' are still entertaining well too with the Marsh harrier roost building up, bittern still around Singleton, and water rail showing stupendously on Townend and First. I'm hoping too with a little settled weather that the beardies may start showing better as they come out of their complete body moult, but don't bank on it as its been a very unpredictable year for this species!
Other notable birds around site include plenty of yellow wagtails, hobby, and on an evening Barn Owls but you do have to stay quite late.
Plenty of other wildlife around too with dragonflies, hoverflies, fungi aplenty. For those of you who read my last Fungi blog I have indeed now found the Glockendungerling and will update next week on my fungi forays in the horse and now cow dung!
Evening sunsets at this time of year can be breathtaking on the reserve, and something to watch out for tonight is a Blue Moon!