It’s been amazing to see so many people at the reserve this week. But then it’s amazing to see so many birds as well.
There’s been a plethora of lapwings around. Brilliant news considering how they have faired in recent years, and there’s been a good quantity of young ones around too. The loss of rough grazing land amongst other things, often cited as a major cause of decline in lapwings since the 1980’s, has brought these bundles of iridescence to the red list. Let’s hope this trend can be bucked.
Hiding in plain sight amongst the lapwings black tailed godwits have been (for want of a better word) lurking, searching the rich Humber mud for invertebrates.
They haven’t been alone either. Regular appearances of green shank, green sandpiper, red shank, snipe, ruff (in various states of dress) and common sandpiper have been viewing well throughout the week. Reception hide has been very busy this week too since wood sandpipers have been showing well across the lagoon towards xerox hide. Of course they’ve been seen at the other hides too but Xerox and reception have been very popular.
The spoonbills seem happy to stay around too! The highest count we’ve had this week is 20 (Friday) and they’ve tended to favour hanging around at townend and singleton hides. It’s not always the case though. They regularly check out Marshland and Xerox for feeding opportunities. They have tended to be more active in the mornings – preferring to roost in the afternoons.
This fellow was happy on his own sweeping his bill through Marshland lagoon this morning.
Whilst the main group were happy roosting on Xerox.
Great news! After a few sparse weeks Bittern has finally been seen again. There were rumours of brief sightings earlier in the week, and whispers that booming had been heard, confirmed sightings from a guided walk brought cheer to those attending “Birding for Beginners”. Later in the day a goodly number of members told me that the bittern put on a show to the left of Xerox – I’m hoping one of you lovely people might furnish me with a picture on account I lost all mine due to a momentary act of stupidness. The group also managed fleeting glimpses of Bearded Tits too – all participants went on there way with big smiles as you can imagine.
Thursday’s event this week saw our 1st Walk with the Warden where a group of people were taken to parts of the reserve not normally accessed. We set off over the grazing marsh (where the Koniks ponies currently reside) and out into the dry reed bed area in front of Ousefleet hide. It was fantastic to see the reserve from a very different perspective. There was lots of evidence of geese using the area (they can be very messy). But ever wondered if the birds can see you in the hide?
Warden Mike took us to the lagoon edge (ousefleet viewing screen lagoon) and imparted his extensive knowledge of a functioning marsh area and it’s diverse ecology. We were lucky enough to catch a brief glimpse of a water vole and we were able to watch this female black tailed skimmer laying eggs in a small pool area.
Periodically she was “skimming” across the water brushing her tail below the surface and depositing eggs. This time next year her offspring may well be doing the same!
Later on the path back from Ousefleet this male landed right in front of us.
Close by we spotted this moth on a thistle head – Mike did enlighten us but I can’t remember. Maybe a sign of my decrepitude? Maybe you can help?
It would be a shame to wander through the grazing marsh and not get a photo of the Koniks ponies. They are so adorable, although I wouldn’t want to get too close to the biting end or the kicking end for that matter! Meadow pipits and the odd yellow wagtail are still hanging around collecting insects for supper.
He did wonder why there were 10 people staring at him!
The warm and humid weather has provided a plethora of insects to eat and seed to be scoffed. From reception I managed to capture some of the smaller birds at the reserve.
Small flocks of goldfinches have been ranging across the reed beds taking advantage of the rich flora. They are such an endearing bird although he looked a bit indignant when I snapped him.
Reed Warblers have been taking advantage of the rich insect life by the drainage ditch (also somewhere to grab a refreshing drink).
This is what happens when you set a moth trap and it rains the next morning!
Tree Sparrows take advantage of the moths that didn’t make it into the trap and sought refuge from the rain in the grass. A couple of sparrows spent a good while cleaning up – “fast food for spuggies.”
Lucky this comma butterfly was able to beat a hasty retreat!.
It would be a travesty to leave you all without my traditional piece of gratuitous advertising so here goes!
Creatures and Sounds of the Night Guided Walk:- Saturday 7th September 6.30pm till dark (about 8.45pm)
Booking essential via firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com 01405 704665
RSPB Member £5.00 (Child Members £2.00) Non Members £6.00 (Children £3.00).
Come and join us for a late evening stroll around the reserve to experience a different side to the Humber marshland. The evening can be a very special but eerie time when owls and bats emerge and harriers return to site to roost deep within the reedbed while maybe a fox or roe deer will run across in front of you. Look forward to seeing you there.
It was great to see the Bittern!! Our first at blacktoft in over 10 years of visiting.
It it flew into xerox and then walked along the front of the reeds.
Better than Minsmere :-)
chris and Heather
PS I could not upload an image here so added the link
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