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Saturday, 15 July 2017

'Something for the weekend sir?"

Thanks to Ray Fellows for letting me know about his visit yesterday. Only three Common Tern on the island this visit, but they did share it with a more glamorous companion in the form of a Little Egret. Ray also heard an unfamiliar bird call that sounded very interesting but I have not heard if he managed to confirm the identity of the mystery bird on this occasion?


As for me, I was considering going over first thing this morning but its so blooming miserable out there my enthusiasm has wilted a bit, the thought of the other days humidity and dodging Horse Flies does not really appeal (I still have scars from some bites I received in mid-June)!

Anyway whatever you decide to do, have a good weekend - Chaz

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Reluctantly, for me, autumn begins today

It may be a couple of days short of mid-month but I paid my first Marsh and Mere visit today, despite horrendous humidity that left me 'cream-crackered' after half a circuit. Lots for the Butterfly and wild flower enthusiast, not much for the birders.


Still a few Swift although most appeared to be passage birds on migration. my main reason  for visiting today was that Ray Fellows had indicated that the Common Tern were doing better than had previously been expected with up to seven birds (including juveniles) on show last week. Today however there was just one adult and one of this years juveniles.

A lot has changed since my last visit, most grasses and flowers are in my opinion several weeks ahead of normal with some plants going-over that would normally still be flowering in mid August.

Gatekeeper have started to replace Ringlet as the commonest butterfly species and there are a good number of Small/Essex Skippers, most of which were too fast moving to get good views of (although the ones I was able to see were all Small).

From this point on we can expect an increasing southward movement by our summer visitors and in another few weeks the first returning wildfowl of the winter, just six weeks of nuisance and litter dropping to contend with (sorry, I mean the school holidays).

Anyway - that was my first grumpy remark of the new season, got to start as you mean to go on don't you? - Chaz

Monday, 10 July 2017

Desperate for a Leake


Well, actually an East Leake (LE12 6RG)! Finally succumbed to temptation and hitched a lift to the Nottinghamshire Border Country to connect with this summers star attraction, the Bee Eaters. What a doddle! I was even able to put my award winning Photographic skills to the test by pressing my camera against the eye-piece of my telescope.


My first U.K. Bee Eaters involved an overnight drive followed by a day at work without sleep - these birds were embarrassingly easy, perching on the dead branches of a large tree in the fringes of a Gravel Quarry and with at least four birds on show at any time.

You had to feel genuinely sorry for the Bees and if you look carefully at the Photo (Top) you will see one of the birds flying back to the branch with one in its beak.

Well worth the effort if you haven't yet been and less than an hour away, mostly by main roads.

Excellent stuff and a great way to get into Autumn birding after my brief hiatus - Chaz

 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

HELP! - Please?


This came through my door tonight. Its self explanatory so if anyone can help this old lady please make contact directly. - Chaz

And you thought it was an April Fool?

Photo: Chris Mason
See, I told you they were coming back! I was in Wolverhampton on Saturday night and what did I find in St Peter's Church Yard - A Wolf!

That'll teach yer! - C

Friday, 7 July 2017

Moving to Stand-By Status

Almost time to start the uphill task of kick-starting the blog for the Autumn. Migration seems to have made an early start this year with Black Tailed Godwits and Green Sandpipers starting to head south through the midlands before the end of June.

Those of you who have been checking out the monthly updates will be aware that despite the overpowering presence of breeding Black Headed Gulls, the Common Tern have managed to get off at least one chick this year.

The most unusual event to occur since I closed the blog was a single observer report of a Marbled White Butterfly over grassland at the edge of the Mere. I was unable to substantiate the claim but the observer was very definite about the identification (and they are pretty well unmistakable).


This is a common species in the south of England but in recent years they seem to have extended their range northwards including several colony's north of us in Nottinghamshire, so this would constitute a very important local record if we could confirm this sighting.

Anyway - expect the return of the blog proper in the next week or so, for now I am back to hiding from the heat! - Chaz

PS - Note the slight celebratory status of the blog header! Doesn't time fly?