Its been a busy week down Farlington this week. Lots of Bearded Tits, a Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, Barn Owl, tons of Curlew, Brent Geese and Shelduck and still a Short Eared Owl or two. There was a leucistic duck by the building Tuesday which I think was a Gadwall, despite being positioned next to a Pintail.
Today was particularly gloomy but there were 500+ Dunlin feeding on the mudflats west of the marsh with a few Black Tailed Godwits and Redshank mixed in. There was also one solitary Avocet roosting on the lake. I haven’t seen any Avocet around for a little while, despite the high numbers earlier in the year.
Spring really descended on Thursday. We were working in tshirts at Swanwick Lakes, basking in the warmth on the edge of the lakes. Whilst we were sat at lunch we had a Brimstone, Peacock, Comma and a Red Admiral pass by! These are the first butterflies that I have seen this year.
I think Saturday will be the better day this weekend and so will be a good opportunity to see the last of the waders and wildfowl. The numbers have certainly dropped significantly in the last couple of weeks and it will be sensible to keep an eye out for the first of the summer migrants. Reports of Wheatears and House/Sand Martins have been arriving across the country for a week or so now!
Well looks like spring could well be on the way; Wheatears are fastly being reported up and down the country and I even heard my first ‘proper’ Chiffchaff (I’d like to think it is one that hasn’t over wintered) down at Farlington today! The Brent are also looking like they have very itchy feet too and if I was a betting man I would put money on them leaving next week, once this wind changes direction back to a south westerly, aiding their journey northwards.
Elsewhere down on Farlington the volunteers and I started on our long list of fencing jobs by doing battle with the fence line near the hut, which needed reinstating. They did a cracking job – so good in fact I’d be pleased if a contractor had produced such a straight, taut piece of fencing. We still have a bit to finish off but you get the idea from the photo below.
Fine bit of fencing. Still to be completed….
Unfortunately being so close to the busy A27 left little scope for seeing or hearing much nature but while sitting eating lunch we did see a small colourful butterfly. I didn’t get a good look at it but I think it was either a Small tortoiseshell or a Comma. Later in the afternoon, however, while grabbing some more fenceposts I did get a good look at a Peacock butterfly basking on the warm woodwork.
After we had packed up all the tools and the volunteers had left, I drove up the main track to turn the truck around. In the fields behind the building were a dozen Curlew feeding and a pair of Reed buntings in the adjacent reed bed. The showy male hung around for a while and I even managed to get some photos.
Male Reed bunting
The Brent are looking very flighty now and all took off numerous times in very large flocks – tell tale signs that they soon will be returning to their summer stomping grounds. Before they all took off I managed to see two adult birds with colour rings. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to read the rings in the long grass though but it was nice to see that there are still some (old) birds hanging around in the flocks.
We had a meeting at the office this morning and Rob had the foresight to run the moth trap last night so we had a little wildlife to start the day. Nothing of great note but a female black arches was nice to see. Males make up the majority of the moth catch for almost all species, probably because they fly about more on the hunt for females. I think every black arches I have seen has had a slightly different pattern of black on white, this female was quite sparsely, but boldly, marked.
black arches female
As it warmed up later the white buddleia by the back wall of the office was attracting lots of butterflies including at least five small tortoiseshell.
There was also a comma and a few peacock. There was also a female peacock of the feathered kind calling loudly in the field just over the fence from the butterflies and we had also caught a sharp angled peacock moth in the trap earlier.
We were at Farlington later to check up on the cattle. The tide was rising and there were good numbers of waders on the Lake, including a good few magnificent grey plover on full breeding plumage, surely one of the smartest of all birds. There had also been a very obvious arrival of black-tailed godwit since yesterday and they included the first juvenile birds of the autumn. Otherwise the only obvious migrant was a single wheatear near the Willow Pool.
A day of paperwork to come tomorrow so I don’t suppose I will have much to post about, but you never know.