Monday, 22 June 2015

North Cave Wetlands in a cold summer day

The showers and overcast weather didn't bode well for a trip to North Cave wetlands. At least the hides come in handy to shelter from showers. It was quite chilly, with a persistent wind, and there were only the briefest of sunny spells at midday, but overall the insects performed noticeably well, probably raring to go in what is being a very cool season so far.
 The visit started well with a stoat crossing the road in front of the car as I was getting to the reserve. There were many Swifts and Sand Martins on the reserve today. There was a Kestrel hunting by East Hide. No terns on the raft, just more and more Black Headed gulls. I moved on from the hide. Turret hide was closed as one of the steps was broken. I wasn't too bothered, as the black-headed gull racket is a bit too much there. I searched for bee orchids on the banks, but no luck.
 It was far too cold and overcast on the dragonfly ponds for any hopes of a dragonfly. A Large Skipper appeared briefly on a birds-foot trefoil, but disappeared before I could take a photo. I got a very bright moth instead, new for me, the Yellow Shell. It started to spit. I put my hood on and sheltered the camera and binoculars and sat on a bench by Reed Bed. It looked that it wouldn't last long and it didn't. There were many Avocets but no sign of chicks. Some were sitting on nests. An avocet was quite defensive and kept attacking a Black-Headed gull, which in turn was being chased relentlessly by a couple of juveniles.  A Reed Warbler sung nearby, a Reed Bunting in the distance. I heard a Sedge Warbler. It was at the top of north hedge.
 I popped into Crosslands. Little of notice, there were a pair of Common Terns and scattered little ringed Plovers. On the shore of the deep pool a group of immature and adult Lesser Black-backed gulls.
 At the start of the butterfly path, on a sheltered area, I got my best sunny spell. Dragonflies appeared in numbers, and three Common Blue butterflies followed each other. Hoverflies and flies, including a male Square-spot deer fly with stunning eyes, appeared as well.
The soldier beetle, Cantharus figurata
Yellow Shell moth
Little Ringed Plover
An Avocet, Black-headed gull confrontation. The BH gull chicks weren't helping, just pestering the parent for food.
A neat Black-headed gull nest.
This Moorhen appears to have copied the nest design and position of Black-headed gulls. I've never seen such exposed Moorhen nest!
A Sedge Warbler, singing and keeping an eye on overhead predators.
Poppy
An inquisitive Whitethroat
Male Blue Tailed Damselfly
 Female Blue Tailed Damselfly, form rufescens
Female blue tailed damselfly, form violacea
Male common blue damselfly
Male Deer fly, Chrysops viduatus
A Black Snipe fly
Two Common Blue butterflies checking each other
One of three highland cattle grazing on the reserve.


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