Marsh Lane News - June 09
30th June 2009 - Showers early on, and then sunny intervals and hot and humid.
No records in the log, but a brief early evening visit was sufficient to find that the Marbled White was still showing well around the car park area, along with lots of Small Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns.
29th June 2009 - Mostly sunny, until showers in the evening, remaining hot and humid.
An unseasonably early Meadow Pipit was the most notable bird of the day, but aside from five Teal and four Oystercatchers, plus the youngster, there was little else of note.
28th June 2009 - Humid and warm. Sunny internals and occasional showers.
Both pairs of Redshank in fact appear to have three young each and are being very carefully brooded by the adults. A Marbled White Butterfly was a good find around the car park area.
Earlier in the day, three Pochard were new in and there were still two pairs of Shoveler, a pair of Teal and an additional Gadwall brood. The four broods now total 27.
27th June 2009 - Humid and warm. Sunny intervals and occasional showers.
The fledged juvenile Little Ringed Plover was present again, but there was no sign of the young bird which appears to have been predated. Counts included seven Herons, four adult and five young Mute Swans, five Greylags, 57 Mallards, four Teal, eight adult and 21 Gadwall ducklings in three broods, 48 Tufted Ducks and 11 ducklings in two broods, five Oystercatchers and a nearly fledged chick, two adult Little Ringed Plovers on Car Park Pool (but no sign of any on Railway Pool), 120 Lapwing with one part grown chick and 29 Coot.
A Hobby hunted the Dragonfly Pool where the first Gatekeeper of the year was also seen. There wee many Meadow Browns and Ringlets on or around the Reserve, with double figure numbers both down the Old Road and between Oak and Railway Hide.
15 young Terns were counted, although accurate counts remain difficult because of the vegetation.
The Old Road was lively again in the morning, with two groups of fledged Whitethroat young on either side of the car park gate, totalling five. Recently fledged Great and Blue Tits were present north of the car park gate, together with a fledged Blackcap. A Garden Warbler was in full song by the top gate and seems likely to have been the bird from the cottages, which I suspect is unpaired.
The first record of Lesser Whitethroat for June was of an adult, preening out in the open on the hedge-line near the Dragonfly Pond. The Willow Warbler continues to sing by the top gate where a pair of Bullfinches were again seen.
26th June 2009 - Misty start with short, sharp showers.
Although there is still some bird song as the end of June approaches, Song Thrushes are the most prominent of those that sing on into July. Three were "belting it out" this morning on a brief walk along the Old Road and both Whitethroats (in the Blackthorn by the car park gates) and Reed Buntings (in the hedge adjacent to the Dragonfly Pond) were feeding newly fledged young.
Other birds of note still in song at 8 a.m., included Blackcap by the cottages, Willow Warbler by the car park gates and Sedge Warbler just before the top gate.
Pairs of both Shelduck and Shoveler were seen later in the day, together with a Snipe from Oak Hide. Black-headed Gull numbers had reached 31. An adult fox frequented the bank in front of Railway Hide and caused the Redshanks, in particular, a lot of anxiety.
25th June 2009 - Initially cloudy start, but becoming increasingly sunny. Wind remaining in the east.
In the cloudy conditions of the early morning, there were at least 20 each of House Martins and Sand Martin, and 30 Swifts catching insects over the Reserve. This attracted Hobby and Sparrowhawk with Kestrel on site as well. Towards mid-day, a pair of Sparrowhawks were in display flight over Siden Hill Wood.
Teal have increased to four (three drakes) and a pair of Shelduck were roosting on the Car Park Pool islands at 1 p.m. This was the first record for this June. The roosting Lapwing flock on Car Park Pool had reached 40.
A Hobby showed for much of the period from 12.45 to 2.30 and one brood of three Redshank were visible from Oak Hide.
24th June 2009 - Hot and sunny, but strong easterly wind.
Relatively little in the log, with interest limited to the continuing prescence of at least one Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and a hawking Hobby over the pools.
23rd June 2009 - Hot and sunny, some cloud.
Another brood of Tufted Ducks (eight) were on Car Park Pool this morning. A pair of Bullfinches showed well on the railway embankment where the first brood of Blackcaps were also in evidence.
A male Yellowhammer by the car park gates was somewhat unexpected at this time of year. Plenty of Meadow Browns and Ringlets were on the wing around the car park, and a Banded Demoiselle was hawking insects around the edge of the Car Park Pond.
In the evening, two pairs of Redshank were discovered with chicks, one pair with at least three in front of Railway Hide, and the second in front of Oak Hide with at least two. The young were exceptionally difficult to see in the vegetation.
Six Lapwing chicks have fledged or nearly so, with one young still some way off.
At least one Tree Sparrow visited the Oak Hide feeder. Linnets remain regular in front of Railway Hide.
22nd June 2009 - Mostly cloudy until the late afternoon, when the sun appeared. Remaining warm all day.
The first returning Common Sandpiper of the year was on Car Park Pool this morning, and at least three Painted Ladies were counted around the Reserve.
21st June 2009 - Similar weather to yesterday, but fairly humid.
The Hobby was again present in Siden Hill Wood and the Kestrel pair are now feeding at least one chick. The Little Ringed Plover youngster was on the island with its parents in front of Oak Hide, but there was little else to report.
20th June 2009 - Sunny, blustery, westerly wind, occasional light showers.
Yesterday’s juvenile Little Ringed Plover and the newly hatched youngster were still present. The pair of Whitethroats by the top gate have produced the first brood of the year, with four youngsters seen there this morning.
A Hobby was perched in Siden Hill Wood for much of the morning, and the wildfowl and other counts included eight Gadwall and 22 young (now four broods), a male Teal, 49 Mallard, a male Shoveler, 29 Tufted Ducks and three juveniles (the first of the year).
The Lapwing numbers reached 33, and at least 16 Tern chicks were counted, of which three have now fledged. There are also five Black-headed Gull youngsters which have nearly fledged as well.
100 Swifts were present in the cooler air of the early morning but, as in previous days, they quickly dispersed.
19th June 2009 - Sunny with a blustery westerly wind.
50 Swifts were present in the early morning but, as in previous days, dispersed quickly. In the afternoon, the Little Ringed Plover pair in front of Oak Hide had hatched at least one youngster and, in addition, there was a migrant juvenile also on site.
The Linnet pair on the causeway have at least two young and Reed Warblers have young on both sides of the causeway now.
The southern most of the Willow Warblers on the old road seems to have moved down towards the car park, (where it is now singing again regularly), suggesting that perhaps its mate has disappeared.
Plenty of butterflies and dragonflies on the wing today, including the first Ringlets of the year and the first Emerald Damselflies.
18th June 2009 - Sunny with a blustery westerly wind.
No bird records.
17th June 2009 - The weather was mostly cloudy in the morning, turning to rain in the afternoon.
No soon as the spring migration finished (the Little Stint left on the 7th, there was a Black-tailed Godwit on the 10th ) we are in to return passage. The first returning Green Sandpiper appeared today, a little earlier than in previous years. The status of the Snipe that was recorded on the 6th, 9th and 11th, is more likely to have been that of a failed local breeder, though one will never know for sure.
A Tree Sparrow was again at the Oak Hide feeder, and there were approximately 30 Sand Martins on site.
16th June 2009 - Increasingly sunny, warm and still throughout the day.
No records in the log, but a successful work party, attended by six, cleared one of the smaller islands on Car Park Pool of docks. The weeds were then “shipped” back to the shore. Thanks to all those who attended.
15th June 2009 - Sunny intervals but gathering clouds led to torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightening in the afternoon.
“Nice weather for ducks” seemed apt for this afternoon for, as the rain thundered down, Gadwall, Mallard and both drake Shovelers took the opportunity for a shower. The pools and the Old Road steamed in the heavy rain.
The drake Wigeon was again present and, after the first Tern chick fledged last evening, two were on the wing today.
An adult Water Rail was again very active in the marsh and appeared to take food into cover. 25 Sand Martins flew in to feed around the trees along the river in the heavy rain.
Herons have started the post breeding build up, with eight together opposite Oak Hide.
14th June 2009 - Hot and sunny, light south-westerly wind.
At least three juvenile Water Rails continued to show in the marsh and a new Lapwing chick fed on the shore of the island in front of Railway Hide, joining six others.
Somewhat surprisingly, a pair of Yellow Wagtails dropped in to Railway Pool at 5.45 p.m. They showed well, feeding on the shores of the islands nearest to Railway Hide before moving to the shore to the left of the hide and joining two males and a female Linnet. The Wagtails were the first to be recorded since April 29th.
A pair of Bullfinches joined Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler on the railway embankment in the evening sun.
13th June 2009 - Warm, sunny intervals. Light south-westerly wind.
The excellent news from the weekend was the successful breeding of two pairs of Water Rails, with one young seem from the north causeway screen and six (!) seen from Oak Hide in the marsh.
The marsh pair have been seen regularly, but those on the causeway have been very secretive.
With at least one pair in the reedbed, there are at least three pairs on the Reserve at the moment.
A third Gadwall brood hatched out and Tern chicks are up to ten. A Hobby showed again, no doubt attracted in the warmer conditions by the Odonata.
12th June 2009 - Mostly sunny, though increasingly hazy. Light southerly wind.
The best on offer today was a Hobby over the pools and a couple of Painted Ladies.
11th June 2009 - Sunny, still with a light northerly wind.
One of the Water Rails fed and showed well in the marsh where it appeared to catch a small fish or a Newt. There were still two male Shovelers present but no obvious sign of the female. 25 Swifts came through in the early morning but had soon dispersed. The slightly warmer conditions encouraged out a Banded Demoiselle along the river, also a Large Skipper there and a Painted Lady on the causeway.
Later on, a Snipe showed again in the marsh and a second Gadwall brood of seven was seen for the first time. The first brood remains at five.
A pair of Grey Wagtails frequented the river by the bridge at Patrick Farm. The first Meadow Brown Butterflies were also on the wing in the warmer conditions.
10th June 2009 - Cool north-easterly wind again after overnight rain. Sunny intervals and occasional showers.
News has helpfully been `phoned in of a summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit on Railway Pool this morning.
The Godwit was still present at 2.45 p.m., showing well from Oak Hide. What was presumably yesterday’s Dunlin was also present, along with 22 adult Gadwall (at least), plus five young (down from eight). Newly fledged broods of Great Tits (six), Blue Tits (at least three), and Reed Buntings (at least two), were at the causeway / central stream junction. The Starling flock from Monday was still present along the path from Oak to Railway Hide with the birds dropping down to feed on the islands.
By the end of the day there was no sign of the Dunlin or the Godwit, but a male Teal was new in and 80 to 100 Martins (nearly all Sand Martins) were feeding over the pools.
9th June 2009 - Cool north-easterly. Sunny intervals.
A Snipe was again seen, this time in the marsh with one of the Water Rails - a tardy migrant or a failed British breeder? A Dunlin, on the Railway Pool margins, could fall into that category too, though there does seem to be some late wader passage still underway. Lastly, a Peregrine flew over.
8th June 2009 - Sunny intervals. Occasional showers. Cool north-easterly wind.
A quiet day with little change on the birding front. Yesterday’s Teal and Gadwall family were not visible, but there were three new or relatively new Mallard broods on Car Park Pool, totalling 15. Tree Sparrows were heard by the Oak Hide feeder again.
In addition to the pair of Oystercatchers with their two young, three further adults flew and strutted around in display and threat behaviour.
96 Southern Marsh Orchids and 30 Common Spotted Orchids were counted behind Oak Hide, with two of the latter to the right of Car Park hide.
The Starling flock totalled 82 in the evening, of which 42 were juveniles.
7th June 2009 - Rain all morning, clearing at lunchtime and brightening up. North-easterly wind.
The Little Stint was present for its fourth day and showed well on and off from Oak Hide, occasionally disappearing out of sight on the back of the small island in front of Oak Hide.
Surprisingly, the water level had not risen much by lunchtime, though this morning’s rain will take a few hours to work downstream.
A Peregrine spiralled up over the fields west of the Reserve at 1.45 and then, spotting prey, powered off in pursuit, scattering the 80 mixed Swifts and Martins that had begun to gain height over the pools and fields against Siden Hill Wood after the rain stopped.
Four Tree Sparrows (at least one of which was a bird of the year) and four juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers visited the Oak Hide feeders (thank you to whoever supplied two new ones and repaired one of the old ones). The pair of Linnets, with at least one young, fed along the causeway.
16 Gadwall, two male Teal and three Shovelers were counted.
The Little Stint was eventually seen to depart high to the east at 6 p.m., by which time the Swift numbers had increased to c.125. The first Gadwall brood (8) of the year appeared on Railway Pool in the late afternoon.
6th June 2009 - Wet and cold all day.
The Little Stint remained and was joined by an unseasonably late Snipe. Counts included 12 Gadwall, a male Teal, 37 Mallard, five Shoveler and 36 Tufted Duck. The pair of Oystercatchers and their two young fed on the largest island and three other adults were also present. 18 adult Lapwings and the four well grown young remain, whilst a newly hatched chick fed just in front of Oak Hide.
At least eight Common Tern chicks are now in evidence, with two well grown Black-headed Gull juveniles on “large” island.
The rain decreases the chances of the sitting Ringed Plovers on the shoreline of Tern Island!
5 June 2009 - Humid, sunny intervals, occasional spots of rain.
The Little Stint was reported this morning but there was no sign this afternoon. 65 Tufted Ducks on Railway Pool was an impressive count for this time of year.
The Little Stint reappeared in the evening, the pair of Little Grebes on the Reedbed Pool now have three chicks and 80 Starlings fed together on the islands.
4th June 2009 - Sunny with a cool north to north-easterly wind.
Just when we thought that spring migration had largely ceased, the arrival of a fine summer plumaged Little Stint was most unexpected. Furthermore, after seven September records (the last in 2004), this was the first spring adult. With eight records, Little Stint has now occurred twice as often as Temminck’s.
At about 7 a.m. there were at least 60 Swifts over the pools but as it began to warm up, they slowly drifted away. There was a handful of Martins with them.
Five Shovelers were still present on site, and at least ten Gadwall.
The pair of Oystercatchers on Railway Pool have hatched out at least two young, but there were probably more under the female who was still sitting tight. All four Lapwing chicks remain on the Railway Pool islands and are close to fledging.
Yesterday’s Blackcap was still present to the east of Oak Hide and there is still plenty of warbler song.
The Linnet pair on the causeway appear to have young.
The Little Stint stayed until dusk, occasionally being chased by one of the Ringed Plovers.
At dusk, two tight flocks of Sand Martins coalesced into 30-40 birds which, in Starling fashion, swirled around the reed bed in advance of roosting there. Three Starlings also roosted there. The Mute Swan pair on Car Park Pool now have two cygnets.
3rd June 2009 - Noticeably cooler and overcast conditions, with the wind varying between the north-east and the north and lightening as the day proceeded.
Little change on the bird front. No sign of any Teal but three Shoveler were still present with one male trying to “muscle in” on the single female present. The female Ruddy Duck was again to be found on Car Park Pool. Hirundines were much lower today in the cooler conditions, with at least 20 Sand Martins hawking Railway Pool, over ten House Martins over Siden Hill Wood and 15 to 20 Swifts spread around the Reserve, although no doubt there was a higher turnover than that.
The Garden Warblers by Railway Hide and the cottages are still vocal and other warblers continue to sing from time to time with an apparently new Blackcap singing at the east end of the field behind Oak Hide.
2nd June 2009 - Another scorching hot day with a light north-easterly wind.
Two of yesterday’s Teal remained and there was still five Shoveler present. At lunchtime a Hobby hawked dragonflies over Railway Pool and caused general panic amongst the breeding birds.
There were four each of Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover whilst four Lapwing chicks remained on Railway Pool. I have not had any news for some days now on the single chick that was present on the Car Park Pool islands.
1st June 2009 - Another scorching hot day, wind in the north-east.
Somewhat surprisingly, five Teal (4 male and a female) were spread across both pools in the morning and were still present in the early afternoon.
At lunchtime a pair of Hobbies were hawking dragonflies over the pools and new dragonfly species today included Emperor and Large Red-eyed Damselfly.