As usual today was our weekly Farlington volunteer day. With the weather being dry we thought we would head out to the Point field to carry on with our bramble cutting regime. Farlington like everywhere else at the moment is very saturated with water, which is fantastic for our waders and ducks but not so great for the practical operation of the reserve. As a result I didn’t dare drive the truck out to the point, which meant carrying all our kit but luckily our volunteers are made of stern stuff and made light work of it! On the way we saw the lightly coloured Short-eared owl. It was busy hunting on the seawall between the deeps lookout and the blockhouse.
After the walk out to the point we set about widening the grass rides between the blocks of bramble. This may look destructive but the idea is to have a fine mozaic of habitats with concentrated bramble blocks with grassland clearings. It’s hoped in doing so it will benefit many more species than a single block of bramble can sustain.
On the walk back to the hut I noticed a large very dark duck out in the harbour between Bakers Island and the (eastern) seawall. Unfortunately it was asleep but after a minute or so it raised its head showing white eye markings and a yellow bill. A Velvet Scoter! And the first I have ever seen! I tried to get a photo through my binoculars which to be honest should probably go in the bin… but you get the idea…just.
With all the rain The Deeps is even more full than last week and the ducks are loving it. In a very quick scan I counted 49 Shoveler, but there was an abundance of Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and lots of other waders too. The area is certainly worth a good look if you have the time, as it’s a hive of activity.