It seems its all about the numbers game here on the lagoons at the moment with an amazing record reserve count this morning of 24 spoonbills, backed up by 24 spotted redshank and 22 ruff and a whole host of different quality species over the last few days including yesterday the re-appearance of the now moulting female Montagu's harrier.

Photo's by Peter Ramsden

Yesterday evening Townend lagoon looked fantastic with ducks, waders, spoonbills and marsh harriers in the background, a real sight for sore eyes. 

 

The spoonbills really do continue to entertain with all the birds concentrated on Singleton lagoon this morning but there are also little egrets and plenty of water rails running around the edges. On Friday and Saturday there was also a very typically showy bittern on Xerox lagoon which made for a few nice pictures for visitors. 

And one flying over the grazing marsh - I still can't get used to the spoonbill traffic!

A good selection of waders have included two wood sandpipers alongside as said ruff and spotted redshank but also greenshank, black-tailed godwits, little ringed plover, redshank, lapwing, green sandpiper, 33 curlew this morning over the grazing marsh and the odd party of oystercatcher flying west.

Spotted redshanks including an all dark bird in breeding plumage

Ruff

Lapwing

Wood sandpiper

Juvenile Greenshanks

Little (ringed plover) and large!

Marsh harrier numbers are now down to the last few youngsters and adults but you can still get some great views of them and their food passes, peregrines too have been featuring strongly while there are also a few buzzards and the odd barn owl have been showing at Ousefleet.   

Peregrine from this morning

Duck are very much in moult at the moment with also a few young still being reared on the lagoons alongside the little grebes, best of the bunch has been up to three garganey, look out for their distinctive white blob at above the base of their bill.

Young tufted duck - they are having a good breeding season this year

Yellow wagtails have featured strongly this year with plenty still feeding around the livestock and around the lagoon edges at times, also nice to see a swift too this morning its amazing how they disappear back to Africa at this time of year so enjoy them while you can! 

Yellow wag

The last of the swifts.........

Many of the warblers have been a bit subdued compared to last week but there is still a good chance of Cetti's and willow warbler, plus reed and sedge warbler along with whitethroat. Also lots of goldfinch now feeding around the thistles and a good count of over 50 tree sparrows around the feeders. The moulting bearded tits are somewhat subdued but if you are lucky you may spot a few around the base of the reeds alongside the lagoons. 

The last tree sparrows have now fledged

Insect interest is still strong with a good hatch of butterflies and now plenty of moths and their caterpillars around the reserve as well as dragonflies, here's just a few pictures of what to look out for around the site as you move from hide to hide. 

Speckled wood

Peacock and red admiral

A second brood green-veined white

Small white and fly

Meadow brown

Gatekeeper

Painted lady

Cinnabar moth Caterpillar 

One to look out for in the hides - mouse moth

Common darter dragonfly

Common blue damselfly

There's also been a bit of fungi recently with the rain

A final bit on Horseshoe meadow - in my last blog I talked a bit about why we had hayed it in Mid to late July, well looking over it now its clear that (apart from the fact that its not been dry enough to make hay since!) the hay harvest was very timely. As you can see germination conditions for any seed dropped by the wild flowers has been perfect and they are germinating and filling those gaps very nicely. If we had delayed although it would have still happened I suspect we wouldn't have had quite as nice a balance as we are now getting where the grass cover hasn't been damaged and the herbs have a chance to infill as you can see into the gaps. When developing meadows in the early years you really need to ensure that you get the balance right and encourage the development of the flower community, low grass sward height and a good soil coverage of both herbs and grass, late mowing does not always achieve quite what you would think.

In a couple of months time we will probably either aftermath graze with sheep or most likely mow and remove the regrowth just to strip off nutrients and promote the development of the meadow.  

You can see the seedlings coming through here very nicely

While here you can see the existing wild flowers re-generating after cutting to form a good herb rich meadow

Good to see the fungi community developing so well after so many years of arable - hopefully this will be good for the orchids

Anonymous