The weather has been glorious and the wildlife seems to have enjoyed it as much as we have.
A hobby has been seen regularly and the nightingales are starting to perform with the vigour expected of them! Other songsters competing for our attention include : garden warblers, lesser whitetroats, reed warbler, blackcaps and willow warblers - and I wouldn't like to leave out the cuckoo, which has greeted me most mornings.
At the other end of the day, if you are not in a rush to get home, a barn owl has been seen flying near the visitor centre on some evenings.
Lets hope this isn't the end of the good weather, so we - and the wildlife - can enjoy it some more...
The first lesser whitethroat was heard this morning by our assistant warden, and blackcaps and whitethroats have been heard all week - does this mean spring is here?. Other signs include the first peacock and orange tip butterflies being reported in the last few days and yesterday dancing adders were spotted for the first time.
Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that the nightingales will put in their first appearance during our dawn chorus event tomorrow morning!!
A single crane dropped in (again? or was it a different bird from last week' pair?) on sunday afternoon and roosted on the reserve overnight. This one left at just after 10am the next morning (no early starts for cranes) and spent a few minutes gaining height, wheeling high over the reserve before heading off NNE.
The first little ringed plovers have now arrived and one of our volunteers reported the first snatch of nightingale song coming from the scrub near the hanger viewpoint yesterday.
Brilliant morning on the reserve today - for the fourth year in a row a pair of common cranes have paid us a visit. They actually arrived yesterday evening and roosted on the reserve overnight. I watched them feeding on the north brooks for about an hour this morning. They headed off at about 09.30, initially north then (according to one of our volunteers who lives locally and who saw them from his garden!) drifted south and lost height, possibly to find some other good feeding areas nearby. Aside from the cranes, from the hanger viewpoint the scene was a real picture in the bright morning sunshine - a pair of garganey briefly flew past and, in true gargarney style, promptly disappeared. There was also a great crested grebe, at least 4 little grebes, a single oystercatcher (really unusual bird here!), small groups of teal, wigeon, shoveler, pintail, a few coots squabbling over whatever coots squabble over, a pair of mute swan nest-building, a few displaying lapwings and a couple of swallows were dipping over the water. Blackcaps, willow warblers, chiffchaffs and a whitethroat were singing from the surrounding scrub.
Our first whitethroat was seen singing in the scrub below the hanger viewpoint yesterday morning by one of our volunteers. Willow warblers, blackcaps and chiffchaffs have been 'in' for a week or more now. Sedge warblers and nightingales are expected the next few days. In complete contrast, there are still good numbers of wintering ducks (mostly wigeon, teal and shoveler) on site, plus a great crested grebe (generally only present in full flood conditions) indicating that water levels are still very high!
Adders and common lizards have been out basking in a few places around the trail (between Little hanger hide and Winpenny hide is one of the best areas), and the first grass snake was seen on sunday by our work party volunteers whilst patching up a bit of path on the heath.
At least 2 crossbills were seen on the heath yesterday.