The scheduled final flush count of the winter took place this morning. Much colder and drier under foot than last week. A total of 30 snipe, the most this late in the season since April 2015. 25 in Big Meadow, 5 in School Pond. The main point of comment was the high number of jack snipe – comprising a third of the total, all in Big Meadow. (Not as marked, but the proportion of jacks last Monday was also unexpectedly large at just under a quarter.)
Ploughing of the Flora Field took place on Good Friday.
A couple of stock doves (which nest in Pony Wood) took advantage of the bare earth (one shown).
Then the crop of barley undersown with pea was sown on Easter Saturday.
Finally, a group of six of us sowed the bird-friendly mix (to feed the birds next winter) and some cornflower seeds into the crop itself.
Spring does seem to be in the air!
Walking round Pony Wood I spotted a new blue tit occupant for one of our recently donated nest boxes (P9).
In the Arable field was a peacock butterfly.
A couple of mistle thrushes were also in the Arable field, and a magpie was seen overflying with nest material.
In the extension to Pony Wood was a red admiral butterfly and about 12 linnets were feeding around the feeding tables. One linnet in the nearby tree lined up for its photo.
The team made a return to the marshes this morning for the March snipe count. Seriously delayed, but thankfully not cancelled like January and February. Heavy going over the very wet ground. However the snipe seem quite happy with the conditions as there were a fair number still around this late in the season. 38 flushed overall, eight of which were jack. 10 of the birds –including one jack – in School Pond, the rest in Big Meadow. An encouraging showing of meadow pipits: 2 in Hay Meadow, 2 in School Pond (plus a moorhen) and three in Big Meadow. Graham also reported a brown hare in West Field seen on his reserve inspection prior to the count.
Fraser reported seeing a cormorant in West Field ( several days ago) and two curlew in Big Meadow. His message says – “the one that is lame seems to have a friend”. I wasn’t aware that one was lame.
A pair of song thrushes near Cromwell gate on Saturday. I think of thrushes as solitary birds so perhaps this is a sign that spring is really springing.
As well as the kestrel in Pony wood, there were both a male and female stonechat in the Arable field (see above) and 6 shelduck and 2 oystercatchers in the scrape in West Field.
Yesterday I noticed the kestrel hovering over Flora field and, on returning round Pony Wood, there it was above me.
The scrapes around the new ponds are being visited by Pied wagtail, Grey wagtail and Meadow pipit.
A walk around the Reserve this morning gave us the opportunity to see teal on School Pond and 11 magpie nearby.
But passing Flora field we noticed a pair of hare. After scattering birdseed for the linnets, I noticed a pair of male pheasants fighting it out.
The hare was too fast for me but I have a poor photo below.
It is nice to see the activities leading to spring.