Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Warbler festival at Tophill Low

I spent the morning at Tophill Low today. Driving in, on the approach road, I saw a roadkill rabbit and a very freshly dead Stoat near each other. I thougth about stopping to fetch the stoat, but a car was driving behind so I thought I'd do it on the way back. Unfortunately the stoat was completely flattened later, so I regretted not having stopped.
 On the bright side, the reserve was looking positively fantastic today, so green and lush. The long grassy meadows by the side of O res were dotted with various orchids, Yellowrattle, Bird's foot trefoil, Oxeye daisies and many more. My last visit was in mid Marsh, so the difference was quite staggering.
I decided to head south this time and walk my way around O res.
At North Lagoon, tufted ducks, a Little Grebe a mute swan and a lone male Shoveler. We watched a Buzzard soaring for a long time, and then a Marsh Harrier passing by.A large cloud of Swifts flew low hunting quietly over O res. It is hard to represent in a photo the feeling of being surrounded by a large concentration of Swifts, but my best one is at the top. The background music in the reserve was provided by a veritable summer festival of warblers: Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, and Willow, Reed and Sedge Warbler sung at some time or another all around. And I missed the Cetti's, that would have been great!
 At Watton I watched the Terns and BH gulls on the raft. A few Sand Martins were present, and many moulting mallards with a couple or three Wigeon amongst them.
It was mostly cloudy, and I saw a single butterfly, a Meadow Brown.
After the round trip to the south part of the reserve (and after missing the back to back hides somewhow, I am not even sure I have been in them), I decided to press on and head north. I made my way through D woods trying not to step on the many Arion black slugs and various snails crossing the paths. The feeders were mostly quiet but for a singing Chiffchaff and a nervous Moorhen and young on the pond. I joined Dave Ware on N Marsh hide, where very quickly a Kingfisher made an appearance and sat on one of the perches. It hung around for a few photos and then dissapeared towards the river. On a second Kingfisher visit it looked shiny green, sitting on a different perch. After a bit of bobbing it prompting caught a fish and hit it a couple of times against the perch before swallowing it. Although my views were partly obscured by the vegetation, it was great to have such close views of a fantastic bird.
 Just opposite were I was sitting a large, lanky heron appeared hunting on the shore. It looked very brown for a Grey Heron, especially the neck although it had grey shoulders. I think both Dave and I were wishing for it to become a Bittern, but after some debate we left it at Grey Heron. I was pleasantly surprised to find later that it was no less than a Purple Heron, year and country tick for me. The heron carried on hunting by the pond shore and we lost sight of it, not before Dave got some photos of it. Dave also pointed at a water vole disappearing amongst the reeds.
 I moved to Helmpholme meadows, but other than the quartering Marsh Harrier early on, there was little on sight. A big contrast with the full of barn owls and little egret trip back in March.
On the way back through D woods, a couple of Treecreepers and a family of Long Tailed tits.
Dryad's Saddle

Common spotted?
 Three different orchids of the genus Dactylorhiza. Several species of this genus hybridise often and are hard to tell apart.
A rabbit of many seen around the reserve
Oxeye daisies
Meadow Brown
Record shot of Kingfisher
Field maple seeds in D woods
Amber snail
Kentish snail
Girdled Snail
Marsh harrier over the river bank at Helmpholme meadows

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull        
  2.  Blackbird        
  3.  Blackcap        
  4.  Blue Tit        
  5.  Buzzard        
  6.  Canada Goose        
  7.  Carrion Crow        
  8.  Chaffinch        
  9.  Chiffchaff        
  10.  Collared Dove        
  11.  Common Tern        
  12.  Coot        
  13.  Cormorant        
  14.  Dunnock        
  15.  Goldfinch        
  16.  Great Crested Grebe        
  17.  Great Spotted Woodpecker        
  18.  Great Tit        
  19.  Grey Heron        
  20.  Greylag Goose        
  21.  House Sparrow        
  22.  Jackdaw        
  23.  Kingfisher        
  24.  Lesser Whitethroat        
  25.  Linnet        
  26.  Little Grebe        
  27.  Long-tailed Tit        
  28.  Mallard        
  29.  Marsh Harrier        
  30.  Moorhen        
  31.  Mute Swan        
  32.  Pheasant        
  33.  Pochard        
  34.  Purple Heron        
  35.  Reed Bunting        
  36.  Reed Warbler        
  37.  Robin        
  38.  Rook        
  39.  Sand Martin        
  40.  Sedge Warbler        
  41.  Shoveler        
  42.  Skylark        
  43.  Song Thrush        
  44.  Swallow        
  45.  Swift        
  46.  Treecreeper        
  47.  Tufted Duck        
  48.  Whitethroat        
  49.  Wigeon        
  50.  Willow Warbler        
  51.  Woodpigeon
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