Saturday, 23 April 2016

A bitter wind picked up

The Safari was at work this morning at an event about cleaning and greening the town led by our local MP Gorden Marsden (Lab). We weren't able to stop for the full time due to a prior engagement with Wifey so unfortunately we had to miss the plenary and questions sessions. We've arranged to email a short set of bullet points to him early next week and have some ideas jotted down prompted by his speech to the full house. Good to see so many people interested in greening our town - just hope that doesn't mean 'tidying up' as that all too often means destroying the important biodiversity we have, better would be to cleverly link the green areas by managing but not tidying.
Once Wifey was organised we were able to have a couple of hours at the nature reserve. We had a good scour round the wetlands to see if there were any Whinchats about - not today sadly! Moving on it was quiet apart from Wrens, well it always is mid-afternoon. 
A very battered Small Tortoiseshell wouldn't stay still for a pic in the warm sunshine. 
As soon as we were in the reserve we heard a Lesser Whitethroat (142, MMLNR #90) rattling away in the scrub to our left. We heard another a hundred yards further on as we walked down to the new hide. A Reed Warbler chattered away deep in the reeds in the bright sunshine. The same sunshine spectacularly illuminated several Water Dock plants on the edge of the recently dredged pool.
A gull flush alerted us to a Buzzard soaring high above them down at the far end of the mere. The pool was bow playing host to a family of Grey Lag Geese.
Moseying on we met MB and his mate with whom we had a shuffy round for the Bee Orchid rosettes finding only one small one to show them. 
We parted company after being told they'd heard two Grasshopper Warblers down at the embankment. We were going that way but stopped at the scrape to find a Common Sandpiper (MMLNR #91).
We soon heard one of the Grasshopper Warblers at the embankment and were joined by BD and between us had a good listen to see if we could see where it was singing from but it wouldn't come out of deep cover in the now strengthening and chilly wind. The reed bed behind us held a Sedge Warbler and a couple of Reed Warblers but the Cetti's Warblers were noticeably quiet today. A Sparrowhawk drifted north.
At the hide we didn't see too much but the scrape provided eight Mallards, seven Teal, two pairs of Shovelers and three Shelducks, the Common Sandpiper was still working the water's edge too. 
Time was no pressing as Wifey was ready to be picked up so it was back to the car passing the Snake's Head Fritillary meadow on the way. There was only one! We think the Rabbits may have nibbled the flowers of the others. There were plenty of Cowslips and there's going to be a fine show of Meadow Cranesbills and Agrimony.
We didn't stop at the Feeding Station, there's no food there now until next autumn. A little further on BD spotted a Weasel which we missed, not seen one for far too long now! Above it the first/another Lesser Whitethroat sang but by eck that wind was cutting like a knife now totally nullifying the sunshine.
A last look at the wetland didn't give  us anything, we're still waiting for our first common Whitethroat of the year.
Where to next? We could well be back out there early, before breakfast.
In the meantime let us know who's too fluffy for their own good in your outback.

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