Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cloudy North Cave Wetlands

A not very promising trip returning to North Cave to retrieve a fleece jacket I left behind on the heat of last Monday turned into a very nice visit. The sky was cloudy with no hint of break in the clouds, and quite cool. I walked anti-clockwise, and I my first hide stop at East Hide I spotted a slumbering pair of Mediterranean gulls, their sharp black heads with white eye rings tucked under their clean white wings and larger size made them stand over the hundreds of Black-headed gulls, many now with full grown chicks. After a few minutes, the Mediterranean gulls woke up, stretched and bowed to each other calling, giving some nice views.

 On the path to Turret Hide I found this fully grown Garden Tiger caterpillar on a walkabout.
 From the hide, a pair of Bullfinches were feeding on the seedpods of Forget-me-nots, something I've never seen them do before.

There were several male Reed Buntings singing around the reserve. The one on the top shot let me get really close, about two meters, and I could photograph it to my heart's content. This Whitethroat by Turret Hide sung atop a willow where a Reed Bunting had done previously.
 In the distance I saw a Shoveler with ducklings. The pair of Shelduck with young were sleeping across the lake, so I couldn't count how many ducklings were left.
A distant shot of a Female Shoveler with young.
 On my way out, I noticed weird jelly-like blobs on the side of the path. Thanks to Chris Drudge and Phil Gates on Twitter, which identified it as colonies of the cyanobacterium Nostoc. Apparently they can appear on ground after heavy rains although they are more commonly seen in lakes.
Nostoc colonies
As I walked along North Path, I saw a Green Woodpecker. It appeared to be bothered by something in its bill, and kept shaking it and swiping it, unsuccessfully. In several of the photos the bill is half open, giving the impression to have a Trichomoniasis infection. It hopped along and disappeared behind the hedge.
 There were many, many species with chicks in the reserve. This, a Blue Tit fledgling on North Hedge, stretches before joining her parents.
 Here, a Gadwall female with her ducklings.
 A number of Lapwing with chicks about, engaging in mobbing other birds around. This one, a male, in a few minutes of peace on the fields.
 As I turned the corner of far lake, invertebrates suddenly became more obvious. The following are a selection
Millipedes on bramble flower.
Common Blue Damselfly
Poecilobothrus nobilitatus

Willow Warbler
Araneus diadematus spiderling ball
Helophilus trivittatus.
Salticus cingulatus. Note the iridescent marking on abdomen.
Salticus cingulatus
Nemophora degeerella.

Red Kite over the viewing area.
Mute swan being mobbed by Black-headed gulls.
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