|Reed warbler (c) Bark|
Saturday was unseasonably cool and damp, not wet enough to soak, but enough to fog optics and spectacles. Sunday saw a welcome return to warm and mostly sunny conditions.
|Car Park Field Songthrush (c) Nick Truby|
This weekend young, newly fledged or fledging youngsters took centre stage: Common Terns on the northern Lagoon, Marsh Harriers around the whole reedbed and parties of mixed tits and warblers in the hedgerows.
|Common Terns (c) Nick Truby|
Over the last few years the Tern raft out from the second screen has only attracted one or at most two pairs of Common Terns. In one year, they managed to raise just one chick to adulthood and last year both chicks were predated. This year has been very different, nine pairs have raised at least seven young, based just on the part of the raft we can see. I am sure that there are more than that out there. Their numbers mean that they can feed, provision the chicks and still have sufficient adults left over to drive off potential avian predators and the extra strand of wire on the electric fence appears to have kept any mammals at bay. The chicks are now starting to fly and when watching them it is quite amazing to see just how adept and manoeuvrable they are on so little flying experience, judging landing however is taking a bit more learning.
|Lunch arriving (c) Nick Truby|
|Sedgie (c) JR|
The Marsh Harriers have fledged their young and their disposition has confirmed what we had thought, namely that there were two nests. Two females with a single male between the two. There are two juveniles being seen from the second screen and a further two that are in the hedge on the southern side of the big oak tree and on the northern edge of Greenaways. We witnessed several food passes over the weekend. The young birds sit in the trees and bushes, watching and waiting for the adults to return and then fly up to take the prey item from their talons or to chase it down when the adult releases it. When they are sitting up waiting it is possible to scope them very easily and you can admire their beautiful, uniform and pristine chocolate coloured plumage set off by a ginger cap and face.
|Young Moorhen above (c) Derek Lane and Young Water Rail below (c) JR|
Two Common Cranes were seen on Sunday flying in from fields to the east, some very poor photographs that I took do not appear to show any colour rings on them, but that might just have been due to their distance and my blurry pictures. It could well be however that we still have four or even five individuals in the vicinity.
|Long Meadow Redstart (c) Pete Roby|
The Hen Harrier is still being seen from time to time and it is looking very scruffy as it starts to moult into plumage that confirms as we thought, that it is a young male. Over the coming weeks, assuming it remains, we should begin to see it looking much smarter.
|Above Brown Hawker and prey (c) Derek Lane below Teazel and Bee (c) Bark|
The first returning Redstarts have been found in Long Meadow, with three individuals seen and heard on Sunday. They will be with us for a number of weeks now as they moult and fatten up for migration, a reminder that nature and the seasons never stand still and autumn is lurking around the corner.