Sorry it has been over a week since my last update.
With the islands now exposed from the gadwll hide, and the scrape looking good from the Draper hide we are all ready for the continued autumn migration. On a quick walk this afternoon i picked up 90 lapwing, 2 egyptian geese, 2 wigeon, 45 shoveler, 94 gadwall, water rail, 29 teal, and 4 garganey. Hirundine (house and sand martin and swallow) flocks are continually moving through site and we are still getting the odd swift in amongst them, just the 1 today but 2 earlier in the week. We are also getting great views of mixed tit and warbler flocks as they move through the scrub next to the paths (especially from water vole corner to Ashby hide) with long tailed tit and chiff chaff dominant but also blue tit, great tit, sedge warbler, garden warbler, willow warbler and blackcap.
A wheatear stopped off for the morning on the Draper 21 August.
Cettis warbler continue to call today, 3 stock dove showing well at draper and bullfinch along the trail. With not too much sunshine today I still caught up with red admiral, comma (lovely bright fresh specimen) and common darter, all sitting close at hand. The water voles continue to show well on the platform, but can be found all round the site. So nice to have them doing so well.
Last weekend 2 young kingfishers from the third brood were again showing from tern and gadwall hides, while the pair continue with the job of incubating the fourth brood at the kingfisher hide. We are hoping for hatching around 7-10 September, and then another 24-25 days before fledging, so fingers crossed.
On Thursday we bought the rafts into shore. My were they a mess, smelly and full of vegetation so they need a good clean ready for next year! We have also moved the CCTV camera that looks over lagoon 1 (gadwall hide) you may have seen it off to the right of the hide. This now offers better views of the islands currently exposed, but also of the island where the black-necked grebes nested in preparation for their return (everything crossed) next year, to help us protect the nest from disturbance and egg collectors as well as monitor the birds.
I think that is the highlights from the last week or so.
Great news! The third brood of kingfishers have fledged. Unfortunately they were a bit sneaky and fledged early Monday morning or Sunday evening. Fish were seen going in the bank Sunday morning but for the rest of the day the adults were taking no fish in. Monday no fish went in to the bank at all and 2 juvenile kingfishers were seen at the back of the gadwall hide lagoon.
There is still activity at the bank as we wait the first change over so we know that the pair are incubating their fourth brood!
Friday saw the presentation of the original black-necked grebe painting by the artist himself Steve Kershaw to the lucky winners husband Mr Sears (sadly Mrs sears was unavailable). We hope Mr and Mrs Sears enjoy their lovely painting. And great big thanks goes out to Steve for donating the painting and allowing us to raffle it off to help raise money for black-necked grebes. For more information on Steve and his art visit www.stevekershawwildlifeart.co.uk
Steve Kershaw (right) and Mr Sears (left)
The ringing group continue to net and ring the passage birds on the Draper scrape and reed bed with 1 snipe, 2 green sandpipers (colour ringed), 28 swallow, 8 sand martin, 16 reed warbler, 7 sedge warbler and 1 reed bunting rung on two sessions over 14th and 15th August.
The Wonderful warblers event on Saturday in conjunction with the Rye Meads Ringing Group (RMRG) was well attended by 22 people who were able to get great in the hand views of robin, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, blackcap, cettis warbler, reed warbler, sedge warbler and garden warbler. The ringers showed attendees how the birds feathers can provide an age as well as provide a diagnostic features, explained the differences between the species and showed the fat laid on by the warblers ready for migration. We have another event in conjunction with the RMRG on Migration on 7 September 8 am - 10 am.
The black-tailed godwit continued to show from the Draper scrape until around 11.25 Friday morning when it flew off high heading north and we thought its stay was over, luckily it returned an hour or so later and was showing well over the weekend, but sadly there has been no sign today. However there were 7 green sandpiper, 22 gadwall, 1 teal, 1 lapwing, 2 shoveler and little grebe with 2 very small young and 2 Egyptian geese were here on Friday.
We have started to lower the water level in the lagoon visible from the Gadwall hide to attract in passage waders. With October last year giving us regular counts of 100-200 snipe on the exposed islands in this lagoon we are once again hoping for good stuff to stop off on migration. This morning there was green sandpiper, over 100 gadwall, 20+ shoveler, 3 common gull, kingfisher, little grebe, tufted duck and loads of coot.
We are expecting the third brood of kingfishers to fledged around Wednesday this week, so the hide is getting busy in expectation and it looks like the kingfishers have started laying the fourth clutch despite a visit from an intruder male last week!