Graham, one of our volunteers, captured this grim action on the north brooks yesterday - a grey heron eating a juvenile moorhen. Not something you see everyday and an illustration of the heron's opportunism.
A wood sandpiper is still present but generally elusive - easier to find are green and common sandpipers. Hobby and red kite seen yesterday.
On the heath over the last few days have been a number of black darter dragonflies - they have an amusing way of avoiding sunburn (or whatever it is they are doing) and it is called the obelisk position. It is a handstand, as far as I can tell - shame it isn't an olympic sport. Black darter was first seen at PB by local ecologist and dragonfly enthusiast Ben Rainbow a couple of years ago (just the one!), and my colleague Nick found a freshly emerged individual earlier this week. On further investigation it appears they seem to have properly colonised the site, with several males and females present on the wet heath. Out on the brooks, there are a few passage waders - at least one wood sandpiper, 1 greenshank, 3 little ringed plovers, several green sandpipers and two dunlin. The dunlin were unconcernedly feeding 5 metres from me as I walked past to check the cattle - it made me wonder whether they had come from the remote far north where humans are rarely, if ever encountered. Yesterday, at least 3 garganey were present on the south brooks and a marsh harrier was seen again.
Finally, a warm, still, cloudless morning to enjoy on our monthly waterfowl count. Lots of lying water remains on some of the brooks providing good feeding for numerous herons and egrets. Highlights were at least 7 garganey (this constitutes a large flock!) on one of pools on the south brooks amongst dozens of mallards. Little ringed plovers, snipe, green and common sandpipers were also present in various places. A few reed and sedge warblers, meadow pipits and reed buntings were still singing . Brown hawker dragonflies seem to have emerged in large numbers in the last few days - I encountered at least 15 pristine individuals along the riverbank. Despite it being late July, there was still a brood of two-week old mallard ducklings - so I got the full pantomime of distraction behaviour as the mother did her best draw me away from her young.