Monday, 24 May 2010
Back on the Beat
Having had to settle for peering at those boring North American wood warblers for the last two and half weeks, I returned in trepidation to learn what rarities I had missed at the farm while I was away. Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt and Woodchat Shrike have all turned up during previous absences. Well this time, I've got away with it, with Lesser Whitethroat being the best of recent sightings (and they are annual here anyway).
The reserve is looking beautiful after the dry weather. Orange-tips are clearly having their best ever year and Green-veined Whites are also flying in profusion. I also saw Small Copper, Peacock and Wall Brown today.
Visitors told me they had collected over 50 exuviae of Emperor dragonfly but only seen one in flight. So where did they go? Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers are on the wing and Black-tailed Skimmers are just starting to emerge.
I haven't had time to do a full bird survey this Spring, but minimum numbers of warbler territories are as follows: Grasshopper (3), Sedge (8), Reed (3), Whitethroat (6), Blackcap (4), Willow Warbler (28), Chiffchaff (5). We also have four singing Song Thrushes and two pairs each of Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.
It's great to see cows doing what comes naturally to them: suckling their calves. These Herefords will be with us all summer.