Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Babes Galore

Aileen wanted a Barn owl flying over a meadow, so had to make do with my door panel!
Spotted Flycatcher - archived picture
Turtle Dove - archived picture
The Happy Couple (c) 2010 Aileen Urquhart
The happy family (c) 2010 Aileen Urquhart
Above - Ox-Eye Daisy with Hoverfly mimicking a male Bumblebee (c) 2010 Aileen Urquhart

Today we saw or heard a total of 55 species, which is a pretty good tally, especially on such a gloomy day. Richard Hampshire, the warden told me where to locate a pair of Spotted Flycatchers, and sure enough one was on the nest, with another nearby just after the class started. However, there was no sign of these birds later when 2 volunteers were participating in the Breeding Bird Survey & when we passed that way in the afternoon. The Breeding Bird Survey resulted in direct evidence of c.27 species involved in breeding activity. On leaving D Woods a Kingfisher headed South over O Reservoir. The morning session seemed to be most charmed by an unlikely pairing of a Canada Goose with a Grey lag Goose - these had got hitched up and had 4 goslings: 2 yellow plump ones, and 2 smaller, darker individuals.

We moved on to SME where 6 Common Terns were on nests, and several chicks could be glimpsed, much smaller, paler & cuter (!) than the Black-headed Gull chicks which covered the island. There was a very noisy Sedge Warbler near this hide, and some of the class saw a Garden Warbler and a Blackcap, while the remainder of the class were trying to locate a Grass Snake in a ditch. There were 4 drake Wigeon here, and in the afternoon 2 drake Teal. A drake Ruddy Duck swam along the reeds at the far edge of the water, but couldn't be located in the afternoon.

Some Reed Warblers showed fairly well from SMW, and there was a Little Ringed Plover giving good views from there in the afternoon. Meanwhile around O reservoir we were bombarded by hundreds of Swifts, whilst House Martins were also present in good numbers, and there were fewer numbers of Swallows and sand Martins. In nearby South Scrub a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap & a Chiffchaff sang in the morning, but in the afternoon while a Turtle Dove purred & flew over the group, a family containing at least 5 Goldcrests were within a few feet of uthe group. At the same time as this was happening a Tawny Owl hooted, causing one session member to ask the birds to come along individually and not all at the same moment! In the morning a Barn Owl was seen briefly outside its box at Watton Nature Reserve, but withdrew inside once the drizzle set in, and a Little Ringed Plover was seen with 2 chicks in the afternoon near the gravel area.
On the way back we saw a Pochard on North Lagoon with c.5 young, and in the afternoon a female Gadwall had another 7. We also saw young Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits, and probably some other species I've forgotten about. If the weather improves it should be quite a productive breeding season.


Blackbird said...

The 'bee' is actually a handsome male bumblebee mimic: a hoverfly. The big eyes give it away.

Michael Flowers said...

Thanks, I'm afraid my bee knowledge is a black hole