Maybe it wasn’t wishful thinking after all! Out in the Fauna fields with Oliver and Richard from the RSPB this morning, checking on the leaking pipe in Anna’s Pool and doing some monitoring of the wet areas. In the top corner of Upper Sowerholme, by the boundary with Flora, was a brown hare. OK, probably not the same one I saw on the Glasson cycle path on Tuesday. Most encouraging to have another – albeit brief – sighting so quickly.
Richard was pleased to see a snipe fly up. He thought that, as it was still around, it could well be breeding in Upper Sowerholme. (This is difficult to verify. Apparently an indicator of breeding snipe is to hear them drumming around dawn or dusk.) Eagle-eyed Richard also spotted a male wheatear on the edge of the Big Meadow marsh by Loxams’ Pond. He noticed that one of the crows in Fauna has white wings. Has anyone else spotted this unusual coloured bird?
An inspection visit to Upper Sowerholme today revealed a snipe – which is intriguing, because although there are plenty in Big Meadow we don’t often see them elsewhere – plus a hare. One male wheatear was again clearly visible in Big Meadow. Richard, our RSPB expert, says that it had probably stopped off on passage to feed up before heading for the uplands to breed. He also said that there were so many snipe in Big Meadow during the winter that it’s entirely possible that some may be nesting in the rushes in the middle, even though they too generally breed in the uplands. It’s virtually impossible to be sure, but a good sign might be hearing them ‘drumming’, i.e. defending their territory, at dawn or dusk. If anyone’s around then and does hear them, please do report it here.
Also spotted a pair of buzzards taking off from Pony Wood, where a woodpecker was drumming; and a ‘leucistic’ crow (with unusual white wings) towards Cromwell Road.