Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 6th August 13

Weather: Mix of sun and cloud, very warm.

Birds Total: 48
Plus: Azure, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Emerald, Red-eyed Damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Emperor, Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.
Plus: Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies.
Plus: 7-spot, 18-spot and Harlequin Ladybirds; Longhorn Beetle; Soldier Beetles; Various Bees; Hoverflies; Spiders and Wasps.

The good weather continues. So another long, exhausting day at the office was called for.
Despite the time of year a fairly good total of bird species was seen, although numbers other than wildfowl were down. Numbers of people were up, especially Birders.

I even met up with Jenny Sherwen, the new girl in charge of the Reserve, busily trimming back the foliage along the trails.

It was a mixed day, some good sightings but fleeting. The star spot of the day was my first sighting of at least 4 Emerald Damselflies. There were quite a few Common Darters about today, Red-eyed damsel numbers were down. Dozens of Peacock butterflies were about, mainly on the Buddleia. Lots of Whites and Meadow Browns, but I only saw one Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. Lots of Ladybirds were finally about today, including a few Harlequins as well as lots of nymphs. And the flies were again a right, royal pain. I forgot the insect repellent. Again.

Star of the day - an Emerald Damselfly
Whilst I was wandering around the Dragonfly Trail a team of volunteers had been working on Great Hardmead Lake so by the time I got to the White Hide most of the birds had moved off to around the Gladwin Hide area. The reeds had been cut back on the island and the feeder area outside the James Hide had been cut back, with the fallen tree moved away. More work is planned over the next few weeks.

Not sure if this is a female or a juvenile male?
On the Dragonfly Trail a family of Mute Swans had taken up residence on one of the pond areas. And a right mess they had made as well, a bit smelly downwind. A lone Emperor, an ovipositing Brown Hawker and a few Migrant Hawkers were about, as well as all the Common Darters. I had a good opportunity to photograph one of the Brown Hawkers but my ear was buzzed by a fly. Argh! The Bridge only yielded up one male Banded Demoiselle but a juvenile Reed Warbler was posing nicely.

I failed to find the Spotted Flycatchers, but an Oystercatcher; a Little Ringed Plover and a pair of Common Sandpipers were good enough. There were more Grey Herons than Little Egrets this time; lots of Lapwing; lots of Common Tern but only one Buzzard high in the sky. I think I spotted a Willow Warbler feeding in amongst lots of LTTs; a Garden Warbler showed itself, its lack of colour a give-away; there was only one, female, Reed Bunting; Blackcaps were about, mainly females and a party of Whitethroats were seen on the trail between the White and James Hides. Woodpeckers could be heard everywhere, especially the Greenies.

Willow Warbler?
Another long, hot and humid, tiring day - but someone has to do it!