It was encouraging yesterday to get out for a short while looking for that Wheatear and see so many Lapwings already sitting tight on nests across the marsh. I reckon I saw at least ten from the southern trail and there were so many birds tumbling and twisting around that I suspect that there are many more that I did not see. The air was full of sound with the almost un-natural mechanical pips and wheezes from the Lapwings, the incessant kipping from the Redshanks, giggling from the numerous Little Grebes and serenading Skylarks way up above.
But it was the Lapwings that stole the show... Tony O'Brien captured these lovely shots just a few days ago... here's to a brilliant breeding season and before too long all this chorus will be joined by the host of summer visitors winging tree way to our shores...
A simple post for a Tuesday evening...
For me, Spring felt like it properly arrived this afternoon...
The first male Wheatear of the year (and his woman) was predictably hopping around on the Ouzel Fields this afternoon although it took me two attempts to see this little beauty. I almost breath a sigh of relief when I see the first one... Thanks to Russ for waiting with it for me to get back down there!
Easter Sunday and Monday were not what you would call a busy Bank Holiday with the building of Storm Katie and the subsequent severe thrashing that the reserve got on Monday morning resulting in birds and public alike keeping a low profile.
Fortunately, there were no trees down yesterday and after a lunchtime inspection we opened the trails once again to the visitors cooped up in the centre. Once again we struggled with migrants with just the odd Sand Martin and Swallow seen and only a brief visits from both White Wagtail and a female Black Redstart to give us hope that some birds were on the move. The feeders were still busy though!
Greenfinch - Magnus Andersson
Mr P having some downtime from chaperoning his harem - Magnus Andersson
A lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose grazed with the Shelducks and the wind was even keeping the Marsh Harriers down although they (and a Short-eared Owl) reappeared later in the day.
Our Water Pipits seem to have completed that messy moult and there are still four or five around the pool edges while the Jack Snipe sightings have moved to the Butts Hide for now.
Water Pipit - Magnus Andersson
Redshank - amazingly cryptic - Magnus Andersson
Kingfisher action has continued to increase and a second pair have been commuting from the Mardyke to the hidden pools alongside the railway while the Grey Wagtails are still best looked for up by the road bridge.
Kingfisher - David Dent
Little Grebes are now everywhere with giggling males around the whole circuit and the pair of Great Crested Grebes on Aveley Pool have been seen engaging on some pre-nuptial displaying which is good news.
Little Grebe - Magnus Andersson
Lizards were seen out sunbathing out of the wind yesterday and a few more adventurous Marsh Frogs appeared while both Stoat and Weasel were encountered... However, if you do see a Mink, please can you report it to Reception so that we can monitor their presence.
Common Lizard - Andrew Gouldstone
This is the Mink that has been seen around the Reedbed Discovery Zone Catherine Smeethe
This on the other hand is the big fluffy tabby that lives by the Woodland Feeders.... Magnus Andersson
Out of the wind the sunshine had warmed the Gorse so that coconut filled the air and the Sea Buckthorn was just starting to blossom but there were absolutely no insects on them whatsoever which was disappointing.
Gorse - HTV
Sea Buckthorn - HTV
And so we left the weekend with more big skies and a huge squally weather front piling in to thwart me in my after work walk...