Friday, 23 April 2010

Spring Firsts and Swift Wonders

Yet another "Butterfly day", or perhaps a Damselfly Day, as the first Large Red Damsels of the year were reported today, somewhat later than usual, but the winter was a good bit colder. Orange Tips were about in good numbers and a further "first" was a Speckled Wood. As I checked the moth trap a party of Swifts were screaming overhead, a real sound of summer, in about three months most of them will be off south again, so something to enjoy while you can. Swifts are one of the marvels of our world, they live almost totally aerial life, even sleeping and mating on the wing, to watch them for a prolonged time is one of the real transporting pleasures of summer.

To return to the moths, the trap contained the usual scatter of Common Quaker, Small Quaker, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab, along with two more new species for the year; Powdered Quaker and a Lesser Swallow Prominent, the last pictured below.
On Ibsley Water today there were: 2+ Common Sandpiper, a Dunlin, 3 Common Tern although I could not find yesterday's Goldeneye. The pair of Oystercatcher that have been hanging around the south end of the lake seem finally to have selected a nest site on the small shingle island to the east of the hide. A feature of the lakes just now is the really large number of Tufted Duck that are still around, it will be interesting to see if we have more breeding pairs than usual this year. The pairs in the picture were part of a noisy group outside the Tern hide this morning.
Most of the Black-headed Gulls are settled on the main island in Ibsley Water now, at this time of year they are really smart birds, so I make no apology for including yet another picture, I especially liked the reflections on the underside of this bird.
Nesting update: The Blackbird nest I was following is now empty, I am not sure what the culprit was but the nest was well inside a thick bramble so it was something quite small and agile. The Song Thrush sits on though as does the Mallard up a tree and the Mute Swan. The Great Crested Grebe nest outside the Ivy North hide now has a sitting birds as well. I also saw my first brood of Mallard today as well as a family of Greylag, although the last were a week or so old.
Another year careers along, I wonder will we get a "Black Tern Day" this year? If we do it could be in the next few days, perhaps even tomorrow. If it is tomorrow I will miss it, just like I did the Little Gull day, but then again I will be from dawn on Sunday and who knows what there might be then, a fine spring dawn is always a rare treat.

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