Monday, 15 May 2017

Dancing in the rain

 It had to be a hide and seek day given the forecast of rain, so, for a change I headed to Blacktoft Sands RSPB. I had just arrived when a birder came excitedly into the visitor centre as a Cuckoo was sitting on a tree nearby. I tortured the camera, bringing it out in the rain to capture it. The cuckoo sat there for quite a while braving the rain while the tree lashed about in the wind.
 The six Konik ponies were standing in full view of the visitor centre (above). Many Swifts and House Martins, with some Swallows and a few Sand Martins flew low over the reeds and the water. I had good views of a male Marsh Harrier and then moved onto the east side of the reserve. It was very quiet at Townend and ended up at Singleton for a while. The Cuckoo had just been seen nearby and it flew onto the reeds close to the hide, starting to call. Not long after, someone spotted a distant Montagu's Harrier, the female that has been about and pointed out the differences with the Marsh Harriers. The Montagu's landed in a bush and hunkered there and we could see her through a telescope. I took a hundred terrible photos of the bush that I won't share.
 The lack of recent rains meant that the west end of the reserve was very dry, with just a few puddles. From Ousefleet Hide, highlights were a flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers, two Yellow Wagtails and an Avocet feeding near the hide in a puddle. Even the Gadwall were walking in between puddles, some sight! I managed to miss a food pass by the Marsh Harriers.
 In between hides, it was warbler fest, with at least a Cetti's calling in amongst them, but no Grasshopper warbler to be heard.
 Despite the damp, a good day indeed!
Male cuckoo. 
Male Marsh Harrier. 
Little Grebe. 
A very handsome adult Grey Heron. 
Shelduck. 
Mating moorhens. 
Male Cuckoo. 
Male Cuckoo. 
Female Montagu's Harrier.
Female Marsh Harrier with Alkborough in the background.
Shoveler. 
Swallows preening on the reeds. 
Yellow Wagtails. 
Avocet feeding. 
Gadwall on a muddy walkabout. 
Skylark. 
Freshly killed mole. The predator appeared to have just eaten the brain and left the rest.
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