Well it's still raining most days and it must be having a bit of an effect on some of our breeding birds, but hopefully it will ease off and get back to normal (although in May that normally means some rain anyway).
Bitterns are still booming however undeterred and some sightings have been seen. The best vantage point at the moment being the first viewing platform, where on several occasions 2 birds have been seen together flying and calling and 3 together on one occasion. Plenty of single sightings too from this area - sometimes you just have to be patient though.
One of the best sightings of the last week has got to be the very handsome male Whinchat which was seen last Saturday (5th) opposite the 1st viewing platform perched in the brambles. This is the same set of brambles where some of the best sightings of Whitethroat can be had. He was present for some time on Saturday and showed really well and was picked up the next day too in the same place - no more reports since however.
Another great sighting this week was of a Short Eared Owl - still present towards the far end of the site - the one this morning being in the area in front of the 2nd viewing platform. On Weds in this area a Cuckoo was perched in a willow in full view calling for at least half an hour. Several other Cuckoo sightings this week - often of pairs flying together.
Cranes were again seen in the area on several occasions this week. The fact that Aller Moor one of their usual roost sights has been quite flooded may give some explanation of the rise in sightings in this area. In fact, it has been reported that a few Cranes have roosted close to the reserve on occasions by flooded fields in the last week or so. 3 Cranes were reported flying over Ham Wall headed south on Tuesday morning while about an hour or so later 9 were seen over the reserve car park.
Swifts have been on the reserve in abundance again this week with hundreds seen feeding along with great numbers of House Martins & Swallows. Hobbys too are now quite visible - especially when the sun shines (yes, it has been shining from time to time). 6 were reported last Saturday and around 13 on Sunday but most days good sightings can be had and today was no exception.
Ray Summers the Warden had a great view of Sparrowhawk this morning as he cycled into work along the railway line. It was sat on the railings of the bridge that crosses into Loxtons and gave him a good stare as he went past. Kestrels too have been seen this week at both ends of the reserve and there are always plenty of Buzzards. Marsh Harriers too are a daily visitor with both female and a sub adult male spotted regularly. The female spends a lot of time hunting over the north of the reserve and can often be seen from the 1st platform.
Also this week: Skylarks on the land adjacent to Tinneys Ground on the Sharpham road (always nice to hear), Great Crested Grebes with 3 young swimming behind in front of Loxtons screen and nesting in Waltons, Bulfinch close to the 1st platform, plenty of reed Warblers and a few Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Song Thrush, Willow Warblers, Garden Warblers and Chiffchaff all singing along the railway line in trees, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Roe Deer in the 1st wood on the footpath side of the reserve, Marsh Frogs calling from Waltons & Loxtons, Tree creeper heard along the railway line track close to Loxtons and daily views of both Great White & Little Egrets.
Dragonflies/Damselflies seen this week: Hairy Dragonfly, Blue tailed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Variable Damselfly Azure Damselfly & one of my favourites Banded Demoiselle (I'll try and get some photos of these for a future blog).