Hi All, well it's been another pretty miserable week as far as the weather goes but it's not been an uneventful week on the reserve. There are plenty of warblers out on the reserve to keep people occupied, with as usual, the railway path tree line proving very fruitful, with a good number of Blackcaps in particular being seen and heard. Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers too are making their presence known and there has been an increase in the numbers of Garden Warblers being picked up too. Whitethroats too, are as usual, quite conspicuous, with good sightings to be had within the vicinity of the 1st platform.
Other Summer migrants continue to come in and in particulat the Swift, with great numbers observed at times on the reserve this week - particularly the last few days. Groups of Sand Martins are also being seen with c20 seen on Tuesday along with some House Martins and a few Swift. Cuckoos are being heard every day and the odd one is being seen in flight too and one or two Hobbys are being picked up also including one form the 1st viewing platform this morning.
Kingfishers have been sotted on several occasions this week, including one which flew over Loxtons on Monday and 4 flights on Thursday, 3 times on the north of the reserve and once carrying a fish close to the public areas. A brief sighting of an otter on the north of the reserve also was great to hear about and nearby a Stoat also the same day.
Perhaps one of the most interesting sightins of the week was that of a Short Eared Owl hunting over the northern part of the reserve on Tuesday evening - this was seen by staff and a volunteer but could of been picked up from the 2nd viewing platform had a visitor been present. More good news on the owl front was a Tawny Owl which I saw on Tuesday morning peeping his head out of one of the new Tawny Owl boxes which we erected quite recently - I wrote about them in a previous blog - great to know they are being made use of!
Good numbers again of Bearded Tits being seen and heard again 'pinging' at several locations, but unfortunately again these were all in non-access areas. A nice still, warm day along the footpath side of the reserve, probably the best bet at the moment for a sighting. Marsh Harriers are also being seen on pretty much a daily basis (male and female), with the 1st platform as good a place as any. This is also probably the best chance of Bittern activity as well. Twice this week, I have witnessed two birds chasing each other in this area and there have been several sightings of individuals also and still plenty of booming males to be heard.
Also this week: Kestrel from 2nd platform on Tuesday, Great White Egrets seen most days, Snipe at several locations, Redshank seen on a few occasions including 2 last weekend from 1st platform, a pair of Bullfinches also last weekend at 1st platform, 3 Greylag geese seen on at least 2 occasions this week, 2 Shelduck in the north of the reserve but also picked up in Loxtons on Thursday, Song Thrushes singing well along the railway line, Jays, Roe deer in first wood on footpath on the other side of the main drain and Great Spotted Woodpecker seen flying over Loxtons.
Dragonflies and Damselflies beginning to emerge this week. Hairy Dragonfly seen on a few occasions as well as Large Red Damselfly. Numbers will become far more abundant over next couple of weeks or so. Keep a good eye out for hundreds of 4 spotted chaser dragonflies which will emerge and fly around the Waltons Loop - particularly the back path.