Saturday, 21 May 2016

At Full Stretch & a Good Hair Day

Friday was the final emergency change when the original venue was closed due to health and safety reasons. Everyone was pre-warned about the number of speed cameras in the area before they set off.
I checked out the hide before the participants arrived. Unfortunately, the Common Terns were still absent, but rather surprisingly a Heron was perched on one of the rafts. I was hoping it would be there for my students, but a noisy dog walker shouting commands at his hound frightened it off. Shortly after the Heron flew off the beautiful song of a Curlew rang through the site.  
Getting Ready to Stretch
 A Full Stretch
The morning group tried the hide first. Yet again, the pair of Great Crested Grebes put on a fine display for us. There were plenty of unmentionables, and on the return journey a pair of Greylag Geese had flown in. A Moorhen was coping with its young family, but the long-hoped for return of the Water Vole had to remain unsatisfied. 
We want to dance but look at this interloper!
 Get out of the picture!
 At Last
 That's more like it
 Good Hair Day?
 And Rest
 Going separate ways
We detoured through a little woodland, but the Jays and Green Woodpeckers seemed to be absent yet again. We could see both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker holes, but they seemed rather ancient. Once again the ever-present Treecreepers were a fine compensation.
Treecreeper (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Female Blackcap taken through willow leaves
We continued round the lake without adding anything other than a Blackcap, but Reed Warblers could be heard beyond the hedge. Some of the group were quick enough with their optics to see the sun shining on the "ginger" head of a female Blackcap. 
What am I looking at?
 Back to Normal
We took the staircase down the northern bank where another Chiffchaff was heard, and a Willow Warbler serenaded us from just outside the hide, and a Reed Bunting could be heard making its few desultory notes on the far side of the water. The odd Bullfinch could be heard making its sorrowful call, but these were not to be seen today. Chris spotted a Heron perched on a tree opposite the pond, and everyone in the hide helped Hazel to see it too. 
Large Red Damselfly
 Speckled Wood
The return journey took us along the lower southern route of the embankment, but failed to add much in the way of new species. We even went along the edge of the buttercup meadow for a change. The only things of note were a Stock Dove, and a close look at an almost new Barn Owl box.

A male Goldcrest was singing in the car park again, but it remained out of sight. However, the afternoon group saw a showy one as they reached the woodland, and very obligingly he kept opening his crest and revealing his deepest colour.

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