Monday, 17 September 2012

Dragonflies and butterflies at Tophill Low

The morning started cold and sunny at Tophill Low. Other than workers at the site there was no one about when I arrived at 9:30. The D reservoir hide was very cold and I didn't stay long. Many Coots, Tufted Ducks, a distant Great Crested Grebe and a mixed flock of Common Gulls and Black Headed Gulls were on the water. A large cloud of hirundines - I could make out Sand Martins - flew over. Dragonflies were everywhere, Common Darters, some times in clouds, gave chase to each other, while Migrant Hawkers checked the trees and hedgerows for prey. As for butterflies, Speckled Woods were abundant, and on the buddleias at the car park, three Red Admirals competed for the few remaining flowers. It was too bright, with the hide facing the hide on the lagoons, but at least it was warm inside. A few Black Headed gulls were fishing among a few ducks.
 I walked around the O reservoir and checked all the hides. The best place was Watton, where Cormorants, Mallards and Lapwings sat on the shore. The Southern Marshes were particularly empty, but I think part of them are being drained. It was also getting too windy. I spotted a male Blackcap, which seemed to be subsinging, and heard Bullfinch calls and a Treecreeper on the poplars, which I failed to spot. On the way back to the car, I watched a Southern Hawker hunting. It paused to sunbathe on the ground and I managed some close ups (above), but then it decided to fly away, and settled immediately on my back! A few minutes later, a Red Admiral decided my trousers were the best spot as well, so I was rewarded with two of my top sightings today sitting on me. As I drove slowly back on the approach road, the final thrill of the day: a Weasel on the verge. I stopped the car and it came in and out of the grass a couple of times. That was a good end for a bit disappointing day on the bird front.
Male Common Darter
Speckled Wood
View of Watton Nature Reserve
Wasp collecting wood
Migrant Hawker
Male Common Darter
 A Red Admiral resting on my trousers

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackcap
  3. Blue Tit
  4. Bullfinch
  5. Carrion Crow
  6. Chaffinch
  7. Collared Dove, Singing male 
  8. Common Gull
  9. Coot
  10. Cormorant
  11. Gadwall
  12. Great Tit
  13. Greylag Goose
  14. House Martin
  15. House Sparrow
  16. Jackdaw
  17. Lapwing
  18. Long-tailed Tit
  19. Mallard
  20. Moorhen 
  21. Mute Swan
  22. Robin
  23. Rook
  24. Treecreeper
  25. Tufted Duck
  26. Wigeon
  27. Woodpigeon
  28. Wren
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