Heat Wave

With soaring temperatures more suited to the Caribbean it’s been great to see more waders dropping in to feed around the lush fringes of the lagoons and the muddy edges of scrape. There’s been a diverse range over the last few days with Xerox hide featuring well and Townend and Marshland hides providing plenty of variety too.

Ruff.

6 Ruff appeared at Xerox lagoon but visible from reception yesterday. All were in different states of plumage making them look like they were headed for an avian fancy dress party.

Avocet.

A firm favourite here at Blacktoft avocets often drop in to feed. Although it was another tough season for them on the reserve they have flourished at Whitton Island with young avocets fairing much better, making it to a decent size. Their chances much enhanced with less of an aerial bombardment from the marsh harriers.

Black tailed godwits, green sandpipers, red shanks, green shanks and snipe have all put in an appearance over the last few days :-

Green Sandpiper

Red Shank

There have been two species this week that have appeared in significant numbers. Lapwing and Little Egret.

Considering Lapwings have recently been added to the Red List it was brilliant to see so many at the reserve this morning and numbers have increased throughout the day. Again the main port of call earlier was Xerox hide. I counted 40+ showing off their eye catching iridescent plumage but there were plenty of others across the reserve and I noted a good number of youngster. Let’s hope they are bouncing back after a torrid time and steep declines in recent years.

Lapwings enjoying the sun and scrape at Xerox.

It’s too long ago that we’d get excited to see one little egret but this week we’ve seen a mini invasion of this sleek elegant pristine white bird. A quick reccy this morning I spotted 12 across the reserve, some of them smaller than others leading me to believe they are quite young!

Little Egret.

One of the questions we are regularly asked in reception is “Is Ousefleet dry?”. The short answer is yes. It dries up in spring and fills up again later in the year. It’s still a great place to visit and remember to check out the viewing screen and lagoon next door. I did exactly that yesterday and encountered 20+ curlew feeding on the grassland there. Of course as I prepped the camera to snap them a juvenile march harrier spooked them and they flew before I had chance to snap them. Another trip today and hey prestow – a goodly number were scouring for food.

Although the vast majority of our avian friends have finished nesting for the year there’s still plenty of young things around including little grebe chicks, young tree sparrows (also red listed), cettis warblers, reed warblers, whitethroats and yellow wagtails to name but a few.

Distant shot of Yellow Wagtails at back of Marshland lagoon.

These ducklings seem to have weathered the storm of from above them but stayed close to mum jut in case:-

Ducklings staying close to mum.

Of course not everything has finished mating at the reserve. Moths, butterflies and other insect are still around looking for mates – these black tailed skimmer dragonflies don’t seem too fazed by the hot weather either.

Mid flight mating (three’s a crowd!)

It would be remiss of me to finish this episode without mentioning this weeks star of the show Spoonbills. They are such quirky birds they are bound to put a smile on your face. Thankfully they have been ever present this week with sightings up to 16. They do have a tendency to hide behind island (and sometimes each other) just to confuse. They have been favouring Townend and Marshland hides but today they are happy basking in the sun’s rays at Singleton.

Spoonbills.

Anyway I hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine while it last and hope to see you on the reserve. Don’t forget sun tan lotion, hats and insect repellent (we don’t have too many bitey things but the ones that are here take no prisoners.)

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