Its turning out to be a slightly unusual Spring, its not that long ago that we were clearing snow from the car park and footpaths, last weekend we had beautiful, hot, sunny weather, and this week we've had much cooler temperatures and plenty of rain. Needless to say the wildlife seems to be coping with whatever the weather can throw at them with plenty of sightings over the last few days.
The kingfisher has been seen pretty much every day for the last few weeks, usually the male, and usually at the Kingfisher Screen. If you hang around there long enough the kingfisher is likely to make an appearance. The key to telling the difference between a male and female kingfisher is the beak colour. The males beak is all black, the female has a pinky orange tinge to the lower part of the beak. I remember it by thinking that the lady wears lipstick!
This brilliant photo of a female kingfisher was taken by Andy Hay (rspb images)
We’ve had lots of summer migrants arriving at Fairburn Ings over the last few weeks, the iconic call of the cuckoo has been heard around the reserve, but only a few sightings, mainly from the Lin Dike end of the reserve. The air is full of bird song, mainly coming from warblers like the willow warbler, sedge warbler, chiff chaff, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and blackcap. But some of our garden birds have been in good voice too, robins, chaffinches, green finches, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits and tree sparrows are all making themselves heard.
Another indication summer is just round the corner is the number of insects on the reserve, the sunny weather brought out the butterflies and we had lots of sightings of orange tips, as well as brimstones, peacocks and green veined whites. There hasn’t been much dragonfly or damselfly action yet, but the banded demoiselle last week shows that they are about. The insect influx is providing lots of food for the swifts, swallows and martins which gather at Fairburn Ings to breed. In the evening they can be seen swooping over the water catching mouthfuls of bugs, it sounds a bit grim, but looks amazing.
There seems to have been a lot of wader action here recently, yesterday there was a greenshank at Charlies hide and a dunlin at Bob Dickens Hide. On Friday and Saturday a turnstone, some little ringed plovers, dunlins and a greenshank were all seen all on Main Bay, plus a yellow wagtail on Friday. We’ve also had sightings of black tailed godwits on New Flash and the avocets are still seen regularly on Hicksons.
We’ve had several sightings of birds of prey, buzzards seen over the visitor centre on Friday, a peregrine over village bay on Sunday and a hobby there on Saturday, plus several sightings of marsh harriers, usually down at the Lin Dike end of the reserve