Anyway, first thing I went to go and have a look at the stars of the reserve at the moment, the sparrowhawks who are nesting. They started a couple of months ago, have gone through the incubation phase and the small fluffy stage and now they are almost ready to fledge. The nest is really close to one of the main paths through the reserve meaning we can get really good views of them and also they seem to have become habituated to people lurking about in bushes.
There are definitely three and possibly four in the nest. First thing this morning they were all quite active.
There was quite a lot of wing flapping and jumping around in the nest. all this was the prelude to the female coming in with a bit of breakfast for them.
I don't know what she brought in but they looked very pleased with it.
After a long morning pulling nettles the afternoon was spent visiting a new reserve with Judith. This was the RSPB reserve at Fowlmere in Cambridgeshire. The reason for going was to try and see turtle doves, which have been reported there. Twenty years ago they were the sound of Summer in the UK, now they are becoming quite scarce.
After a bit longer drive than it should have been due to heavy traffic we arrived to find a lovely little reserve. It is not big, with a circular path taking you round a central reed bed. The usual suspects such as reed warblers, reed buntings, kingfishers were all present. What we did find though were the turtle doves. I guess there were 3 calling around the reeds, sitting out in trees. Beautiful call, beautiful birds although quite nervous and never coming close.
We were very impressed with the reserve though. There use to be a watercress bed and a clear stream ran through the middle, almost chalk-like with crystal water, verdant plant growth and fish visible in the depths.
It had a really nice to feel to the reserve, three hides, not too far away and clearly well managed.
To top it all off, on the way out we spotted a hare in a field. It was down in the vegetation and let us creep up on it in the car. Eventually though it got bored and disappeared at speed into the longer grass.