I had a late common blue butterfly on the wing this morning on the visitor trails at the eastern end of the boardwalk. The butterfly was feeding on the last remaining ragwort flowers - a good source of late nectar there. Clouded yellow was still flying last weekend, with one seen by volunteer John Ellis and red admiral, small tortoiseshell and comma are all still active.
Migrant hawkers were plentiful last week and common darters are still around in good numbers, even on cooler days they seem to be rather active.
We may have some late dates for insects this year if the warm weather continues....
Bittern and marsh harrier sightings continue to delight us on an almost daily basis at the moment, with some lucky people even seeing bittern(s) twice in one day! A lot of the bittern activity is on Phase 2, however birds have been seen regularly on Phase 1 and on silt lagoon 4 (the long thin one as you walk towards the Beach Hut). On Tuesday this week, volunteers Graham Gamage and Dave Roberts had a bird in reed at the western end of the boardwalk - this patch of reed is lovely, tall and thick, perfect for bitterns. Keep an eye open here for birds flying in and out of this reed patch and for birds sitting in there. A bird has been seen twice now in reed on silt lagoon 4. Please view only from the public footpath and look in the reedy edge at the opposite end of the lagoon. A bird has also been seen in flight coming from this lagoon, over onto Phase 2. And of course it is always worth a look from the public footpath into silt lagoon 6 (the last one before the Beach Hut), in the reedy edge to the left of the pond dipping platform and on the reedy island to the south of the Cromwell Trail - all areas where birds have been seen recently.
Marsh harrier sightings are almost as frequent and with 1 juvenile and another female/juvenile type over Phase 2 yesterday, it now looks like there are up to 4 individuals in the vicinity - 2 males and 2 female/juvenile types. They do come up to the visitor trail area, however the best place to see them is looking south from the Cromwell Trail.
So, all we need now are bearded tits to complete the trio! It is always worth looking and listening out for this species in the winter at Langford. This species has wintered here before, but not for the last two winters. However, after a good breeding season it is possible that birds will disperse, sometimes long distances in search of new areas. Please do keep an eye and ear open for bearded tits over the winter and let us know - we would be delighted to have beardies back wintering on site. Key places to check are reedy areas of silt lagoons 4 and 6, the reedy island to the south of the Cromwell Trail and any areas of reed around the visitor trails.
Also this week - stonechat still present on the south west edge of the Cromwell Trail, good sized flocks of golden plover over, 3 dunlin on Phase 1 islands at the beginning of the week, whooper swans dropping in, 1700 starlings in the murmuration at the weekend and some excellent news of 4 tree sparrows (another one to look out for) on the public footpath on the way up to the Beach Hut this morning - thanks to volunteer Peter Leach for this.
Please look out for beardies and tree sparrows!
Male bearded tit. Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Tree sparrows. Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)