Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Day of Displays and a Lump of Concrete

I opened the Tern hide on a near perfect scene, the lake calm and the sun shining. Close to the hide two pairs of Great Crested Grebe were having a dispute, with a lot of calling and heads held low over the water in threat display. Until I took the picture below I had not realised what a sharp angle they can get into their neck, the dip down behind the head looks like an angle that should not be possible.
In between each bout of threats between the pairs each pair engaged in short displays as pairs, neither had any weed to truly "danced" but they looked very fine in the sunshine and the whole effect was enhanced by the reflections.
Other birds on the lake were little changed from yesterday, the Pochard, Wigeon and Pintail are all still there. A single Common Sandpiper was the only non-breeding wader. During the afternoon the Little Ringed Plover were displaying vigorously right in front of the hide and only about half way to the shore, I cannot think I will ever see them better.
It was Thursday so the volunteers were in and as usual a load of work got done. Two new sign boards were put in and one was taken out. What I did not know when the job started, but was discovered soon enough, was that the sign taken out had a huge lump of concrete on the bottom of it.
A sure sign that summer is coming is that we started pulling Himalayan Balsam seedlings. This invader came here via gardens from India and has escaped and is often dominant along streams and in marshes, much to the detriment of many native species. The flooding we had in the winter managed to deposit seeds in places way above the usual levels and April's warmth seems to have resulted in good germination. The seedlings can grow from a few inches now to be six or eight feet high by late summer.We also all managed to see the Fox cubs near the store at the start of the day, one of them was constantly head shaking, for no obvious reason, but it did look very odd.

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