Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Here's that pair of little Grebes (click for bigger as always), swimming across the mere. For once they're not swimming directly away from my camera lens!
Also, here's one of the pair of kingfishers. Not a good photo (far away and very dim light) but it's nice to see them nonetheless - and I have every time I've been down recently.
Posted by Sam Carr at 18:08
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Popped down to the reserve lunchtime today during a lovely sunny spell. Went to my post on the far bridge and waited. Sure enough after 10 minutes, the great spotted woodpecker turned up. I've decided that I particularly like the beautiful brightly coloured birds - last year I was interested in the kingfisher but haven't seen it for months. Anyhow the woodpecker perched for a few seconds on a higher flat branch, possibly assessing the dangers around it (can an 'it' assess?) and then flew directly to the spot where I'd seen the small hole before. There was a flurry of what seemed like woodshavings and then it seemed to be going backwards and forwards - whether marking territory or squeezing backwards into its small hole. It then disappeared from sight. Sometime I'll have to go into the parkland on the other side to get a better view but it's a bit of a bother. In the next 10 minutes there were a number of visitors to this specific bit of the dead tree tops - it seems quite a social area, though I don't know how welcome they all are at the meeting - wood pigeons, blackbirds? eating what looked like scrambled egg but I doubt this and magpies. Funny how I perceive birds differently: I really like the "beautiful" ones; I dislike the ugly black ones and I'm just about to appreciate a chicken - for lunch!
Monday, 17 November 2008
There's usually one Little Grebe on the mere, but at the weekend, I saw a pair for the first time. They're small and shy and I didn't have a sufficiently big lens to get a picture of them, but look out for the small brown things diving in the Mere and coming up with fish.
Posted by Sam Carr at 22:48
Sunday, 16 November 2008
I saw the woodpecker straightaway again today - as I know where to find it and I've got the 'jizz' of what it looks like. What I saw was a female great spotted woodpecker (red undertail feathers) according to my bird book. It had no red cap or red nape of head. It was virtually at the top of the dead tree trunk and I noticed that it was poking its beak continuously into the same hole. It was hard to see as it was round at the side a bit, so I think I'll try and look for it some time from the other side of the river. In fact, I've discovered I can see these trees from my flat with my stronger binoculars!
Posted by Alison at 16:46
Sunday, 9 November 2008
I saw a woodpecker today in their usual spot - the tall dead trees at the far end of the site. I have heard a very loud knocking made by a woodpecker in the past but had never seen one till today...This was definitely a woodpecker but was pretty small - smaller than the collared doves in the tree. Looking back on the blog, it is a great spotted woodpecker that has been sighted, as far as I can see - but I would have guessed this was a lesser spotted, from its size
Posted by Alison at 21:30
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Jack fished it out and found these American signal crayfish in residence. The base of that bucket is 18cm across so they're pretty impressive at full stretch!
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
Pond dipping was a big attraction with kids and adults alike.
I must say I assumed there wasn't much life at all in the water, since I never see anything other than fish. How wrong I was! We found the following in one small spot:
- Tadpoles - quite big ones, some with legs
- Small diving beetles - pure black - max 1cm long
- Water louse
- Caddisfly larvae - wrapped in debris, with just head and legs poking out of the front
- Some sort of nymphs
- Three spined sticklebacks, including pregnant males and very showy red bellied males
- A baby newt - found the next day during clear up
- Small shrimps
After all that fun we had a BBQ and the adults played whack a rat with even more vigour than the children.
Posted by Sam Carr at 21:53
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Posted by steve at 18:52
Thursday, 3 July 2008
in an attempt to confuse me,
trying to look and act like a nuthatch,
a great tit . . isn't birding wonderful?
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Ann tried to splat a common rat (rattus horribilis) whilst Steve supervised when to hit it.
A new colourful species of butterfly was sighted. It got attached to this little boy
A dragonfly was spotted which is endemic to the site
This young visitor thought she'd take a duck home
This little boy thought the duck was a fake
Jack caught this new species of duck (anas plasticus)
(and a very pleasant summer party was enjoyed by all)
Posted by Alison at 14:34
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
A damselfly in the alligator's mouth.
OK, so this isn't an insect. It's the heron that's been a near permanent resident on the mere, taking off from the fallen tree.
A fly, on the bridge railing. Common, yes, but interesting in close-up all the same.
Posted by Sam Carr at 23:31
Thursday, 22 May 2008
a clutch of moorhen chicks are being raised near the aquifer,
east of the main bridge across The Mere.
Safety seems assured by the nearby straw rolls
and the netting that holds them together.
However, the herons are after them.
I counted four chicks and witnessed two heron attacks.
All survived, but for how long I wonder?
on the prowl
look carefully and you may just count all four chicks
Saturday, 17 May 2008
a female blackbird "anting".
This behaviour is part of many a bird species cleaning regime.
An ants nest is upset, the ants attack the perpetrator
with formic acid, this kills mites etc.
A dust bath or wash then finishes the job.
a young heron, something of a regular in the last few weeks.
There is something primeval and fascinating about these birds . . .
Monday, 5 May 2008
I imagine it's all the fish that attract the heron. The mere is teeming with them. Just stand on the bridge for a few seconds and you'll see plenty. They're hard to photograph though!
The butterfly meadow is coming along brilliantly with a variety of butterflies seen across the site. Here's a Speckled Wood.
Posted by Sam Carr at 18:26
Monday, 28 April 2008
RESERVE MANAGER’S REPORT March – April 2008
Already, this year, there have been butterflies seen on the perennial Wallflower (Bowles Mauve) in the Butterfly Meadow. The bees seem to love it too.
Lots of small fish have just appeared in the Mere last week – especially noticeable near the main bridge.
The new bird feeding station has proved to be a success. There have been sightings of a female Brambling, Siskins, and two Reed buntings (a first for the Reserve) feeding at the station.
The Water rail is still around. Also there is a pair of Kingfishers about at the moment which hopefully will breed on the Reserve.
Notable flora in bloom include Primrose, Green Alkanet, Ramsons, Violets, Marsh Marigold, Cowslips, Fritillary, Perennial Wallflower and the first Bluebells. The native Daffodils and Snowdrops have finished and Cow Parsley is taking over instead.
Posted by Alison at 16:37
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
it's interesting to see the alternative uses made of the information signs by animals on the site.
Some wild, some less so.
A resident wren often perches on one post in particular,
by the main bridge, meanwhile, two more residents use them as lookout points.
a jay, busy gathering nest material.
Pippin, just one of four cats spotted this day.
an elusive, but noisy chiffchaff on the railway emankment.
No post needed, just leafy cover.
Monday, 7 April 2008
on the reserve today, poking about on the margins of the main lagoon, occasionally taking flight to go to the opposite bank.
Slowly he got nearer and nearer, with me crossing the bridge to perhaps sneak a closer shot.