Saturday, 28 June 2014

Rain doesn't stop play

It's Wimbledon fortnight so the weather of course is set fair - or not!! Not too bad first thing but torrential storms forecast for later.
So, down to the reserve early-ish to see what's about and do a bit of manual labour. A walk round first thing showed most of the usual suspects were still around. A lot of blackcaps singing, great crested grebes building another nest, loads of black-headed gulls on the tern rafts! The nicest spot was a whitethroat singing away behind the owl meadow, which was joined by either a female or a juvenile (hardly any white patch on the throat, overall muted plumage).
Most of the rest of the morning was shovelling mud from one area to another in a chain-gang style but at least it was good honest labour!!
By midday when we'd finished the rain had started to set in though, so Dave, Derek and myself didn't venture far, in fact we spent the rest of the afternoon at Maple Lodge.
They say that in August birders become butterfliers as one replaces another in the interest stakes. We started early and had a look around in between the showers. There were good numbers of butterflies and moths about, mainly in the meadow. No sign of the marbled whites but we did see
Small skipper
Broad-bodied chaser 
Common blue damselfly
 We also saw small tortoiseshell, meadow brown and small white.
The flowers were looking good as well, with some lovely drifts in including these bugloss and mallows.
On the bird front it was not about rarities but watching the more common birds going about their business. This stock dove was prowling about by clubhouse and being picked on by its larger cousins the woodpigeons.
Over on the reedbed there was a family of reed warblers feeding near double-decker hide. We saw at least 5 and probably 6. As ever they were most often heard. Reed buntings were singing away and we saw obvious evidence of breeding success in the form of a young bird. Sightings were fleeting but they did seem to be enjoying themselves flying around in the reeds.
 Over by long hedge hide the great crested grebes are doing well. As well as one almost full-sized if still stripy young, they are also now building another nest, so hopefully we should have two families to watch this year. The young bird was constantly pestering its parents for food, but they seem much more interested in collecting twigs for the new nest.

Finally we went and had a look at Lynsters lake. The weather now had turned awful and it was chucking it down with rain. A kingfisher did show on a tree opposite, fishing from the branch which was out of the rain!
There were a number of common terns fishing on the lake, with some degree of success judging by the number of times they came up with small fry. I've added these photos more to give an idea of the weather - note the rain splashing on the lake.

  Bearing in mind the forecast we still managed to see quite a bit and the reserve is certainly still in a purple patch.
As an addendum, when i got home, the weather had forced our resident house martins down low and we enjoyed watching them skimming over the lawn. We also found this sheltering in our lounge from the rain - a small magpie moth.