Autumn on the farm
Autumn is the time of transition from summer into winter. Already wintering birds have returned to the Exe. Avocets, Wigeon and black-tailed godwit numbers are on the increase, while swallow, reed warbler and hobby continue to press forward on their migration back to Africa and warmer conditions.
Having said that, summer lingers on with good Butterfly numbers seen on warmer days, Dragonflies to have reappeared, Southern hawker, and Common darters are still being spotted. Also on my travels this week I saw a pair of House martins still busy feeding young in the nest.
Osprey sightings have dropped away in the last week but a nice range of more rare birds have turned up with, Lapland Bunting, Wryneck, Firecrest and not forgetting the 20 plus Glossy Ibis which turned up on the river Otter. Reports are some are still there but numbers thinning out (18/09/10).
The month of August on the reserve almost feels like the calm before the storm, as we frantically work on the grassland management before the arrival of the wetter weather and of course our winter visitors. The long summer days have been a huge help in allowing us to take full advantage of what is a small window of opportunity to undertake this work. At most we get 8 weeks after the birds finish breeding before the weather is on the turn and our winter levels start to rise. Our summer visitors have started their long journey for a warm winter break, with swifts, swallows, house and sand martins leaving in flocks, and through the month we have watched their numbers dwindle.
Small groups of godwits have started to visit Exminster and the first avocets were seen at Bowling Green Marsh on the 25th August, a true sign the summer is drawing to a close as we wait with excitement and anticipation for the return of our winter travellers.
As the winter roost starts to build in numbers with additions such as sandpipers, plovers, greenshanks and redshanks, the osprey has been casting his eye on the arrival of Autumn as its presence could be seen on the derrick regularly at the end of August and on the 31st there were 3 hunting over the estuary.