In my early birding days I’d listen to some of the “old folk” saying this time of year is slow for birding. I don’t agree. It’s all happening at the moment ranging from parent birds sitting on the nest, like this little grebe (surely we’ll have hatchlings soon!).

To juvenile marsh harriers lazily soaring across the reed bed. It’s fantastic to see such diversity.

I counted 5 Marsh Harrier juveniles this morning as I dashed around the hides.

I’ve noted too some of the hirundines (especially swallows) gathering together in strings across the telephone lines rapidly chasing insects  as I drove in to the reserve, fattening up ready for their long flight south. I noted a lot of martins down at Singleton this morning doing the same thing. I tried to capture them but I’m just too slow!

Other young, like these barn owls seen from Marshland Hide, are almost ready to make their way out into the big wide reed bed. They’ve been regularly coming out of the box and stretching their wings, like Pete, I suspect it won’t be long now.

Whilst these mallard ducklings have some way to go (and a gauntlet to run) before reaching a size where most things here think they are too big to become lunch.

These superb snipe (x3) were showing well at Townend this morning with regular reports of Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Ruff recently as well as young lapwings scouring the margins. Surely a sign of things to come.

I spend a lot of time in the reception hide (pop along and say hi sometime). It’s amazing what I see in the drainage ditch at the front. Some of it is “run of the mill” like blue tits flitting in and out of the reeds and tree sparrows drinking. It’s a bit of a soap opera sometimes. This morning I watched a small water vole eating apple from our small feeding raft.

Then moments later a weasel ran across the front grass searching out a tasty snack! Things turned out alright though. Mr Water Vole had carried it’s snack off into the reeds across the bank and came back a few minutes later for seconds.There’s more than 1 too!. I’ve seen at least 2 together and another much larger one. The game of hide and seek with the weasel continues. Other things like migrant chaser type dragonflies have been zipping around eluding my lens but this four spotted chaser rested long enough for me to catch it. 

The most unusual spot for me this week as a commotion in the water caught my attention were a small school of chub staring back at me.

It’s amazing what nature throws up sometimes.

The real highlight of the week for me has been spoonbills. This morning they were happily roosting at Townend but over the weekend were viewing particularly well at Marshland evidenced by this pic from volunteer Barry :-

Photo Credit Barry Bishop

Here’s  11 of them (with a couple of juveniles) at Townend this morning :-

My final contribution to this soap opera episode has got to be Bearded Tits. They’ve been showing really well since the weekend at Townend, with other sighting at Marshland and at the back of Xerox lagoon:-

Photo courtesy of Andrzej Hornostaj

Which leads me into some more blatant and unashamed advertising for our next Bearded Tit guided walk this Saturday 13th July – ring or email to book your place (limited places available).

8.00am to 10.00am fees apply (£5.00 members £6.00 non-members £2.00 child members £3.00 child non members).

(Daz)

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