I was greeted this morning with a message bubbling with excitement from Val, who was a Guide in a Hide here on the reserve this weekend. Here's her description of the highlights from Sunday:
What a morning - ARC was the place to be! Only a few minutes after 9 and I arrived to find a pair of penduline tits feeding on the bulrushes just in front of the hide. One keen photographer recorded the event - definitely an OMG moment! The tits pretty much engaged the visitors all day, drawing in the crowds right up to 3pm. Only the male was feeding during the afternoon whilst the female looked on from the trees.
That wasn't all, we had fab views of a glossy ibis courting the llama in the fields, and also at ARC bittern, goldeneye, long tailed duck and courting great crested grebes. Then at Burrowes pit we also observed slavonian and black-necked grebes. What with cettis warbler, chiffchaff and bearded tits we did very well indeed ...I only missed out on the firecrests down at Dungeness Point today!
Here's one of the stunning photos taken by Gary Thoburn, the photographer mentioned by Val.
For more of the same visit:
What a wonderful spring-like week we've been having at Dungeness!
We have seen a couple of buff-tailed bumblebee queens, the odd butterfly (unfortunately not seen close enough to identify), marsh harriers starting their nest activity and great crested grebes tentatively beginning their glorious dancing rituals - wonderful!
Here are our other sightings of note for the week bird-wise. They are listed with the date and place last viewed.
Black-throated diver – two on New Diggings on 5th. Goldeneye – on ARC on 6th. Smew – on Burrowes on 7th. Long tailed duck – one on Burrowes pit on 6th. Black-necked grebe – one on Burrowes pit on 7th. Bittern – one at Christmas Dell on 5th. Great white egret – on Burrowes and ARC on 7th. Curlew – on fields by entrance track on 7th. Kingfisher – one near Burrowes pit on 2nd. Chiffchaff – by Firth hide on 5th. Bearded tit – at Hooker’s ramp on 6th. Penduline tit – one at ARC on 3rd.
Here's hoping we have more of the same through the weekend - enjoy!
Will you catch a glimpse of the penduline tits this weekend...?
Over the past few weeks we have had a growing number of starlings on the reserve. I’ve just remembered after a week on annual leave, since a couple of hundred darkened the sky for a handful of seconds before jostling for position on the wires outside Boulderwall Farm. These are nothing like the murmurations of the Somerset Levels of course, but lovely to watch at dusk on a good day nevertheless. Why not come and have a look yourselves?
From my desk I can also see the tree sparrows congregating in their favourite bushes around the red millet feeders. There seem to be a flock of flies hovering about too- I suspect it won't be long until the tree sparrows become less reliant on their winter seed. A few weeks ago, Valentines day marked a significant day in the tree sparrow calendar- the date at which all our nest box and habitat preparation must be completed, for from that date they start their spring prospecting. It certainly feels and sounds like spring on the reserve today... and not a moment too soon!