View across Saltmarsh Pool towards Criffel from Maryland Lay-by
Common Newt in puddle after rain, on Lonning track
Flies and bees are attracted to the abundant nectar of the Ivy flowers, growing in the lonning hedge.
Fly Agaric, poisonous mushroom, growing under trees on the acidic edge of the Reserve.
Seasonally high tides had flooded saltmarsh
Waders (mostly Oystercatchers) perching on flooded roosts.
As the tide started to fall two Mute Swans came sailing by.
Comma butterfly in the company with 29 Red Admirals feeding on fallen fruit and bread put out for the birds in perimeter garden.
Two Mute Swans amongst reeds and Wigeon on 1st Meadow Pool.
Viewed from the hide, a male Hen Harrier appeared and started to chase the ducks in the pools
Ducks and Lapwing pannicked by Hen Harrier
Shoveller and Wigeon in front of hide
Whoopers, grazing and resting, along with wigeon on wet meadows in front of the hide.
Returning from a swim
Probably a small family group deciding what to do next
Wigeon in channel by causeway
Wigeon preening in the Autumn sunshine in front of the hide
Wigeon took fright as two gulls took off but they soon settled again.
Later on the Whoopers started to take off in small groups
Flying off over the causeway
A further group
Last to fly off leaving a couple of groups behind
Noticeboard with recent sightings
Campfield Marsh on a flood tide.
North Plain Farm
Large flocks of redwing sighted on the Lonning, 11.40 am.
1st Meadow Pool - Excellent display of Whoopers this morning. 48 in all together with a substantial number of wigeon and 2 Mutes. 11.50 am Janet and Alan Murray, visitors from Bingley, joined us at the screen and immediately Janet's sharp eyes spotted 2 overflying Spoonbills which appeared very intent on landing. They did three circuits of the pool but it was full of noisy Whoopers, so they took themselves off, flying in an easterly direction over the Reserve for another quieter pool elsewhere.
There were 48 Whoopers this morning and a good number of wigeon.
Group of adults enjoying the autumn sunshine this morning
Another larger group flying in
Two Spoonbills flying over and inspecting the pool
One of the two Spoonbills who were coming to have a look at the pool
Heading off to the hide at the far end, we were overtaken by the whoopers flying off the pool, seemingly in different directions, after a certain amount of circling. On reaching the hide which soon began to fill up with homo sapiens, we were all greeted by the wonderful sight of 24 Pinkfeet arriving from the direction of the Anthorn masts - obviously very intent on landing. They appeared to know the meadow wetland area but did at least four circuits before settling and commencing to wash and feed.
Whoopers flying over the lonning overtook us
A second group flying by
Bringing up the rear
Pinks sighted as we reached the hide
Dropping in to land on wet meadow in front of the hide
Just a bit more manoeuvring now
Safely down at last - to wash and feed
On our return, hugh flocks of Fieldfare arrived on the fields and hedges of the lonning - feasting on the profusion of hips, haws and holly berries. This year, we have never seen a better crop in the hedgerows.
Mixed flock of Fieldfares and Starlings
Mixed flocks making use of the hedgerows which are now heavy with ripe hips and haws.
All this in bright sunshine after a night of frost and a chill wind from the north.
17th October 2010
Whoopers on 1st Pool
The wind had swung round to the NW - first noticeable wind we had had all week. It’s been that kind of Autumn, though - absolutely still: ‘high pressure gloom’ I believe they call it! So we thought, “lets have a walk on to the farm as the Hen Harriers have been making a regular appearance” The male has been here for a while, showing well most days and the female has now put in an appearance.
So onto the lonning we went. Flocks of Redwing were moving about and parties of Long-tailed Tits, usually consisting of about a dozen individuals - this probably indicates that they stay together in family groups. Not many Fieldfares, as yet, though. We know when they have arrived by their noisy presence in our damson orchard bordering on the Reserve, to clean up the fruit we have been unable to pick and windfalls.
Having arrived at the screen of the 1st Meadow Pool - we always, as a matter of routine, have a look here. Surprise! Surprise! 14 Whoopers, our friends from the Tundra, had returned and were peacefully upending and just pottering about on the pool - there appeared to be three juveniles amongst them. But they were silent and seemed very relaxed. Not the usual whooping and trumpeting we normally hear on their arrival on the pool - their calls, carrying far, can be heard all over the place. But, as I say, this year they seem to be rather silent ... but we shall see! The two Mute Swans who have been with us for a while were keeping well out of the way in one corner of the pool.
After this we headed on down to the hide. but never made it. We met so many people on the way, stopping to gossip, exchanging notes etc. that we gave up, as the afternoon was getting very cold and that nattering wind from the NW with a hint of rain was starting to find its mark. So we decided to hurry home and get the shots of the Whoopers onto the blog.
...that’s our excuse, anyway!
Wigeon coming in to join the Whoopers
Flocks of gulls have been collecting round field drain outfall on mudflatts in front of the Campfield Marsh
Good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies have been flying in the area
A rather bedraggled looking young Wren after recent rain
Lonning hedgerows are red with ripening berries ready for wintering thrushes
Wild rose briars are laden with hips
Planted seed field of oats and kale is now attracting flocks of Finches and Sparrows.
Common Darter (male) on path to 1st Screen on Lonning
View of Common Darter head on
First Pinkfeet seen on Saltmarsh - near Biglands Layby.
Shaggy Inkcap on grassy verge to Lonning.
Two calves in meadow in front of hide.
Young calves being frisky - as young thing will.
Red Admirals have been in abundance but this was the first sighting of a Comma in the local area.
Little Egret can be seen most days now flying back and forth along the Saltmarsh
These two Mute Swans on 1st pool on Lonning - seem the favour this corner of the Reserve, as they can be seen here most days
Small flocks of Pinkfeet ( about 170 in all) flying over the Reserve fields at Biglands
Shaggy Inkcap has matured somewhat.
Skein of Pinkfeet (110) flew directly south over the Reserve. Once over the Moss they then headed west.
Common Darter perched on twig along North Plain Lonning.
Recent Sightings - Noticeboard
Ode to Conservation
When you’re up to your axles in black mud, and the gorse thickets seem ten foot tall,it’s hard to remember you’re here for the redshank... and nobody cares at all!
Conservation ain’t all coffee and gift shops. That part of it is really quite small. It’s more about gorse, brambles and buckthornand being there for the really long haul.
A major piece of water management on the farm has just taken place with an extensive bund put in place between the raised bog and the wetlands. This is to hold water back onto the raised bog to stop it drying out and to control more effectively water to winter wetlands. This has involved several days work with a very large machine.
Digger work - end September to early October 2010
Bunding up to wood
Bunding back to Moss
View from hide of digger working
Raised water levels as seen from hide 12th October 2010
A number of meadows on the farm are now getting their second cut in preparation for raised water levels and the arrival of wintering wildfowl.
Stephen cutting the oats field also
Recent Workparty Activities
1. North Plain Farm Pond - 9th September 2010
The clearing out of reeds and willow which had overgrown the pond is aimed at improving it as a good breeding ground for frogs, newts and dragonflies next Spring.
2. Gorse coppicing on Saltmarsh - 7th October, 2010
This is the start of this winter’s programme of selective old gorse cutting at the top of saltmarsh. It will rejuvenate growth which will encourage warblers, linnets and invertebrates.
The workparty has landed
3. Some thoughts on pot holes - 7th October 2010
There’s Fred with his shovel and barrow, filling potholes on the way to the Farm. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! So let’s cheer and lend strength to his arm.
So Fred knows as well as I did, that it’s been done for generations past. But each person that’s lovingly done it, hopes that, this time, it’s going to last.
The moral of this story, I’ll tell you that it’s clear to me, my friend. Those potholes are still going to be there, when this old world comes to its end.
So to you captains there at Sandy, there’s a message here for you ... a hundred yards of tarmac drive, would be welcomed by Campfield’s crew.