Wednesday, 18 May 2011

It's a Grebe's Life

Great Crested Grebe

Courtship Dance

Tending the nest


Avocet & chick




Nothing about a Coot's Life is Pleasant

Black Swan - an interloper, which may have to be removed

Black-headed Gull



Wasp mimic

Froghopper - manufacturer of Cuckoo Spit


Unpleasant biting flies, and strong winds, meant the original venue had to be abandoned, so we went round one of our most popular local nature reserves instead. We saw more than 40 species, starting with a distant Corn Bunting from the car park. One of the star birds was a Great Crested Grebe, and we witnessed every aspect of their life at the moment: from nest construction, courtship display, grooming & wing-flapping. The am group saw an interesting wasp mimic, which was still present at lunch time, but before the pm group could be shown it the site was destroyed by a strimmer or grass-cutting machine. However, this excessive tidying-up of the site threw up lots of Froghoppers for the pm group to observe. There were at least 7 Avocet chicks & lots of adult birds sat on nests - looks like it will be a bumper year for them! The site was absolutely swarming with Sand Martins, and there were also Swallows and a few Swifts, but no House Martins. A couple of Willow Warblers gave great views for both sessions, but the Whitethroats were a little trickier, as were the Blackcaps, and Sedge and Reed Warblers. I'm looking forward to a day without a strong breeze to encourage the small birds to sing from high vegetation.

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