A Day of Snails and Swifts

I was down at Farlington early this morning, had it been drier it would have been quiet pleasant, at least it was not cold. I went to count the cattle and found the fifteen in West Mudlands and the eighty-two on Main Marsh, I was just going to check the fifteen on the Bushes when I got a call to say that they had been taken off the reserve even earlier this morning. Next week we should be getting some more and probably we will have a general sort out as well.

The damp weather meant that there were lots of swallow, at least 120 swift and 15 house martin feeding low over the fields and especially the reedbed. I had to go down to the Deeps to see the cattle on South Marsh, the raft still seems to be being ignored by all birds, but I did see a single avocet there. The wet had also brought out lots of garden snail which were wandering about all over the place, including along the seawall, perhaps they too like a wander by the sea.

snail by the sea

snail by the sea

Back at the Building I saw a party of 10 bearded tit, comprising one adult male and 9 fledged juveniles, which must have been from at least two broods. Farlington has a good track record of breeding success for bearded tit and it is always good to see the first independent young birds, albeit about three weeks later than usual. I also saw that the suspected nesting by black-headed gull had in fact happened, there were at least two broods of young and I suspect two or three more nests as well. I did have a bit of a surprise as well, when I saw a short-eared owl hunting along the back of the reedbed, it came close to a perched buzzard, at first I though the buzzard was going to leave it alone, but in the end it took off and chased it away down towards the Point Field. Whilst I was at it I thought I would also check on the lapwing in the Hayfield, both of the pairs that had hatched young still have at least one chick. In the wet areas of the north-east slip there are now good patches of celery-leaved buttercup.

celery-leaved buttercup

celery-leaved buttercup

The Hayfield itself has a good flora and one of the common species is the partly parasitic yellow rattle, these were the first flowering ones I had seen this year.

yellow rattle

yellow rattle

The hawthorn is now in full flower, I know I have posted pictures before, but the amount of blossom on some branches is amazing.

hawthorn

hawthorn

Near the east seawall I spotted one of the white rabbits, it took a while to notice me as I was directly behind it.

white rabbit

white rabbit

A number of flies were warming themselves on the kissing gate including the pictured one which had prominent spots on the thorax, I think it is Anthomyia pluvialis.

fly

fly

I then headed back to the Building along the east seawall and noticed the sea-kale plants are now flowering, these relatives of the cabbage and have bluish leathery leaves and dense heads of white flowers.

sea kale

sea-kale

sea kale flowers

sea-kale flowers

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