Birds Total: 46
Plus: Comma, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood butterflies.
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue damselflies; Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Emperor, Southern Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly; Pond Skaters; Soldier Beetles.
Plus: Konik Ponies; Water Vole.
Well, I was actually going to visit Cornmill Meadow today but yesterday a Spotted Crake was seen outside RM's Draper Hide, so I decided to try my luck. Unfortunately it had probably flown earlier this morning, as I didn't see it at all.
If I had known about the work on the Draper on Monday I would have probably visited on the Wednesday and may well have seen the Crake. Such is a Birder's life!
But today's visit was enjoyable nonetheless. The bird total itself was a little higher than of late and I managed to spot at least 4 Water Voles, an adult with 3 youngsters.
The great weather continues. It was actually forecast to rain later in the afternoon but there wasn't a sniff of it. At this rate I might have to buy some more suntan lotion.
On the way down I bumped into Caroline, one of the Reserve managers. We both heard and saw a Ring-necked Parakeet flying noisily past us, which surprised both of us!
I thought today was going to be a shorter visit, to concentrate on the search for the Crake. But after about 90 minutes it was becoming apparent that the bird had flown. So I then concentrated on trying to get some more photos of the Kingfisher.
While I was in the Draper I spotted a pair of Garganey; a Little Egret; 4 Grey Heron; 7 Green Sandpipers; 5 Common Snipe; a pair of Common Terns; a pair of Little Grebes; a pair of Shoveler and at least 6 Stock Doves. But it was quite packed in there and was progressively getting noisier by the minute, so I headed off.
The schools were now on holiday and there were quite a few children about, with mothers or grandparents in tow. I'm glad to report that all were very well behaved.
A quick look out of the Gadwall Hide didn't elicit too much excitement, other than the 2 juvenile Black-necked Grebes, which again were way out in the distance. I didn't bother with the Tern Hide today.
On the trail to the Kingfisher Hide I spooked a Green Woodpecker twice. From the Hide itself I saw both Kingfishers give great shows again but this time I witnessed a couple of matings and an inspection of a new nest-hole. Possible 4th brood coming?
As well as the KFs I saw a Kestrel in the top box on the pylon; a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared briefly; a Grey Heron hung around high up on the dead tree for about 20 minutes; a Cetti's Warbler calling out; a Jay flypast and a big group of Goldfinch flying around. On the second visit a Sparrowhawk flew past the Hide, while a Reed Bunting called out. A female Brown Hawker was ovipositing just in front of the Hide.
I wasn't going to hang around that long and decided to see if the Water Voles were around. They were and an adult and 3 youngsters gave some great, close up views.
They made up for the disappointment of the Crake no-show.