After the Bank Holiday washout, the birds were out again yesterday and the hobbies in particular were really busy, dashing around the new heath and feeding their two youngsters. The Tuesday walk group saw one mixed flock of spotted flycatcher, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler, whitethroat, goldcrest, nuthatch and three tit species and the family of five spotted flycatchers were feeding in trees near the hide, near to where they had nested. Five buzzards and several sparrowhawks filled the sky, and a stoat chased a rabbit, unsuccessfully on this occasion, at the hide. Four whinchats were over the road on Sandy Heath, near the quarry - so a much better day all round as we started September!
There's no disguising that it's been a very disappointing Bank Holiday with rain falling all day. Instead of greeting the crowds, I've been sweeping the cob-webs out of the hide and catching up with those jobs that have been sitting on the side of the desk for a while!
To remind us of the nicer summer days that we've enjoyed , here's a few pictures of ( mainly!) wildlife taken here recently.
Common lizard and cream-spotted ladybird; Jan Murphy
Grey squirrel, linnet , great-spotted woodpecker; Ray Peircy
Our busy programme of August events reached a peak with a fantastic weekend of outdoor theatre with the Pantaloons. We did get very wet for a while yesterday afternoon during Treasure Island, but the cast carried on despite the weather and all of the audience stayed to watch - but with their umbrellas and hoods up! On Saturday for Much Ado about Nothing, it was around 30 degrees in very hot sunshine, so really hard work for the cast and audience, but a great show!
Back to nature, the four hobbies have still been showing well, mainly over the new heath, but we did see two over the house while we were at the Pantaloons show on Sunday. RSPB member David Knowles visited with his wife last week, and took this terrific picture of one of the juveniles perched up and looking alert.
A weasel scurried across the drive as we drove along to HQ on Saturday morning and there's been several sightings of hummingbird hawk - moth on the lavender near the shop and in The Lodge gardens.
We've tried a few new activities for children this summer, and the den building area is proving very popular. Mieke Vrijhof sent me this picture of her grand-children, enjoying starting work on the first den.
With the school holidays now coming to an end, we have a Walk on the Wild side tomorrow between 2 pm and 4 pm, for ages 8-12 and Mini-Beast Safaris on Thursday 27- and the final one this year on Wed 2 September. More details on the web site or please call 01767 680541 to book.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost; Adults free, children £5, RSPB Wildlife Explorers £3
Steve Kershaw, our regular wildlife artist, will be painting and showing his work on Sunday 30th at the Visitor Centre, providing the weather is kind. Steve has been unlucky so far this summer, as it has rained on each of his once a month visits. Better luck this week I hope!