Saturday, June 08, 2013

Saturday 8th June

One or possibly 2 Jays today, 2 sightings but may have been the same bird, was really nice for a change. Otherwise pretty steady stuff this morning. Common Terns are taking fish back to the main lake island now so we may have hatched out young, or could be the males feeding the females sitting on the eggs. Black-headed Gulls are still hanging around the island but difficult to tell if they are nesting or not yet. It looks like the Sand Martins have flattered to deceive again and are not using the island nest block after all. There were a handful over the main lake this morning but no sign of any visiting the nest block. At least 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on the main lake as well.

Plenty of activity in and the Crescent Reed bed with Reed Warblers singing and one bringing in food. Some good reed growth this week so the south east corner of the reed bed is now looking quite green, still plenty of room for improvement though. Also a pair of Reed Buntings bringing in food which seemed to consist of a lot of Banded Demoiselles!

Female Reed Bunting with a healthy breakfast for the young!
 The Cuckoo was around early on, doing a big circuit of the park. And those were the highlights of a disappointingly overcast and cool morning. For those late risers, believe it or not, it was clear when I got up, not a cloud to be seen. Half an hour later, having lured me out of the house with the promise of some nice light for photography, the cloud had piled in. Hopefully better tomorrow, but it doesn't look too promising.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Volunteer Sunday and weekend update

It was a lovely weekend, if a little cool on Saturday. There was slightly more cloud cover on Saturday morning which meant there were a few more hirundines about. I didn't spot any Sand Martin activity around the artificial nest holes on the island but I'll keep an eye on that.

We're not getting much new stuff in now and things are settling down. DK informs me that breeding Blackcap numbers are about normal now after a slow start, they must have sneaked in while we weren't looking!

The most exciting area of the park is the main lake island this year. It's extra short haircut has attracted a few different species this year with several pairs of Common Terns nesting and up to four pairs of Black-headed Gulls looking interested. A pair of Oystercatchers are also paying regular visits and a lot of Tufted Ducks are hanging around but it's difficult to see if any are nesting. We'll just have to wait for the trains of Tufted ducklings to follow their parents off the island.
The ringers were in again on Sunday morning and the first juvenile bird of the year, a young Robin, was caught along with a new Chiffchaff.

Juvenile Robin

While chatting to the ringers a Cuckoo turned up in the Willows by the Dead Seat. While I was trying for a silhouette shot the Cuckoo took off, usually a recipe for a blur but I was lucky it was sharp and I quite like the end result. It looks very Nightjar like.


I got another shot as it passed over us:

This Greenfinch with ring was on the Spit.
The Crescent reed bed was very active early on Sunday morning with lot's of Reed Warblers singing and moving about in the reeds and this pair of Reed Buntings gathering food for their brood. The female was ringed.
Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting
After a quick look around on Sunday morning it was time to meet up with the rest of the volunteers at the Visitor Centre. The days task was raking the meadow by the Labyrinth. At first glance this appeared to be a simple task but the sore shoulders and aching muscles at the end of the day told another story. It was bigger than it looked and we were all glad that Ranger Nicky had not cut the other Meadow that needed doing! These areas are winter meadows giving cover for small mammals, they are cut early in the year normally but with the poor spring this task had slipped a little. Some of the volunteers had to leave at lunchtime leaving a small group to finish clearing the raked grass from the meadow. We finished just before 3pm, slightly earlier than last month! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out, and to anyone who is thinking of coming along, any time you can spare is welcome. Although the tasks are generally 9am-3pm if you can only spare a morning or just a couple of hours that's fine, come along and join the team. If you can't make it for 9am the duty ranger phone number is on the door of the visitor centre so come when you can and call the number when you arrive. Can't do weekends?

There is also a volunteer group each Monday, give the rangers a call for details.

See you next month.