It’s a fantastic time of year where new things and fledglings abound and that includes me. I’ve been working at the reserve for a couple of months now and still feeling a little shiny and new. Thankfully I’m surrounded by a fantastic team of people (including volunteers) who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Some of which I’m in awe of but it’s a pleasure to be amongst. Talk about a steep learning curve!

So, by way of introduction I’m Daz, the new Community Engagement Officer. You’ll find me in reception a fair bit pointing out the fantastic array of wildlife that’s been seen recently. Pop in as your passing and say hi!

Anyway, enough about me, let’s get back to the real fledglings and young creatures featuring at the moment.

Keep your eyes peeled as you moved along the trails, there’s a plethora of smaller birds with fledglings like these whitethroat. Always a joy to see.

And these Pochard. Pochard have struggled in recent times and are currently on the red list having previously been listed as amber. It was great to see the adult female and young moving along the feeder ditch in front of reception a couple of days ago.

She had around 8 chicks with her and it was a little slice of cute to marvel at.

Even the blue tits gave us an acrobatic display feeding from the hogweed heads having gained their wings.

I’ve even had the thrill of seeing adult Cetti’s Warbler feeding their little bundles of joy amongst the trees lining the trails. No mean feat considering their secretive nature. Listen out for their distinctive song – you just never know what’s going to reveal itself!

It’s not all about the birds either!

Photo Credit – Peter Turner.

This Roe Deer and calf delighted those in Marshland Hide yesterday showing for quite some time continuing the cute theme!

The list of young things continues to grow with lots of coot chicks, a wide variety of ducklings and marsh harrier young starting to come up off the nest (showing in front of reception) it’s been brilliant to watch the season change from late spring to early summer. Ok so the rain in June wasn’t so pleasant but it did mean the barn owls were hunting on a number of occasions when we arrived to open up.

Look left from Marshland Hide at the owl box and you might catch a glimpse of the chicks as they move around and look out onto the big wide world.

 

Old Things

Of course (as Pete has mentioned) there’s still plenty of “older stuff” around too. It’s always a pleasure to see spoonbills passing backward and forwards. They’re landing and feeding regularly too.

The Barn Owls have been quite active too. Their young are about ready to fledge as well (and may have already) but they can still be seen frequenting the owl box visible from Marshland Hide. Still best seen towards dusk floating across the reed beds and beyond.

Blacktoft is a great place to see the UK’s largest harrier. Parent birds are busy coaxing fledlings off the nest so watch out for adults circling about the reed bed – the youngsters might just pop up and snatch some feed from them.

They’re wiley creatures though Marsh Harriers - they young only come out when I haven’t got a camera handy!

It’s been an absolute pleasure so far to see the changing of the season from late spring to early summer. The reed beds are looking fantastic and even the smaller creatures are resplendent, especially on the walk down to Ousefleet.

Our Moth morning with Mike and Penny threw up lots of micro and macro moths (and stuff I’d never heard of!). It was great to share the morning with Mike and Penny learning lots about fascinating  life cycle and the role they play in this fantastically important role they play in the marshland ecology.

I’ll leave you with these 2 superb finds from the morning (and some shameless advertising) and look forward to catching up with you all down at the reserve. (Daz)

Join us for our Bearded Tit walk event, 13th July 2019- 8am – 10am, £5.00 members, £6.00 non-members, child members £2.00, child non-members £3.00.

Email your booking to blacktoft.sands@rspb.org.uk.

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