The summer is almost over, as far as the birds are concerned anyway, as many species begin to move south in preparation for their long journey to warmer climes for the winter. Cuckoos of course are short stay birds, arriving late April to early May and departing for Africa in July. An all too short a stay for one of our iconic summer visitors it’s call is instantly recognised by everybody, whether a keen birder or somebody just out to enjoy the countryside. The story of how the young cuckoo is raised by foster parents is well documented, which if you are lucky, means that you can still catch a glimpse of a juvenile. A juvenile cuckoo has been seen around the pond dipping area being fed by a fostering reed warbler, quite an amazing sight so be on the lookout. A thought to leave you with, would it be more difficult for the reed warblers to feed a single cuckoo rather than their usual brood of four young? Or are we just fooled by the dramatic photographs, interesting!
Juvenile cuckoo and reed warbler - Pete Carr
Bearded tits have been showing well on the south-east lagoon with two adults and two juveniles seen together on one occasion. Only one bittern sighting recently, but the black-necked grebes on the west lagoon have just produced a second brood with two small chicks reported which is excellent news. Other sightings have been of up to four common terns and 2 grey partridge seen, a wheatear was reported on the 4th of August and a juvenile yellow-legged gull appeared on big hole on the 2nd.
Flashes / Lin Dike
Lots to report here so we’ll start with waders with the following species being seen in most locations with the current water levels, numbers given are the maximum recorded in a single sighting. Four common sandpiper, three dunlin, five snipe, two ringed plover, green sandpiper, ruff, 27 black-tailed godwits, redshank, greenshank and 22 little egrets present on the moat on the 8th August.
Snipe - Pete M
Spoonbills can usually be seen on spoonbill flash feeding, or if you are lucky enough you can catch them on cedrics or phalarope pools. One such spoonbill was seen plucking a small pike out of the water before a lengthy manoeuvre led to it becoming a mid-morning snack. Sounds not too dissimilar to a human learning to use chopsticks for the first time!
Spoonbill - Joe Seymour
Raptors noted have been numerous sightings of marsh harriers, a female sparrowhawk and five red kites on the 8th August. Completing the round up are the single whooper swan, two whinchat on spoonbill flash, an early pintail and wigeon, a blackcap around lin dike, a white wagtail on the 8th August and three wheatear reported at lin dike on the 10th August. An adult common tern along with 3 juveniles also present.
Juvenile common tern - Pete M
Main Bay / Village bay
Visitors to main bay that have been reported are a garganey on the 31st July, also seen in village bay on the 1st August, three black-tailed godwits, five common sandpipers, five green sandpipers, two egyptian geese and a single wigeon on the 8th August. A male red-crested pochard hybrid was seen on village bay on the 8th August.
Black-tailed godwit - Pete M
Feeding platform / Pick up hide
The feeding platform is worth a look whilst the water levels are low, maximum numbers seen are five common sandpiper, four green sandpiper, one adult and two juvenile avocet. Notable sightings from pick up were of two snipe, a bittern and a lesser whitethroat
Butterflies noted were small white, green-veined white, speckled wood, large white, gatekeeper, comma, meadow brown, brimstone, red admiral, brown argus, small copper, holly blue, common blue, brimstone and a wall brown was reported at lin dike.
A hummingbird hawk moth was seen on the coal tips on the 6th august.
Dragonflies noted have been brown hawker, southern hawker, black-tailed skimmer, ruddy darter, common darter and emperor.
Common darter - Pete M
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