Thursday, 26 July 2018

First Willow Warbler

Lade - hot and humid - Ideal weather condition for moths and while last night produced our first two eggars of the season, and a Small Emerald, there was precious little else of note and numbers were curiously low. Once again the local Blackbird had mopped up anything on the outside of the trap. A Grey Wagtail flew over as I emptied the trap, while the first Willow Warbler of autumn came down to drink at the garden pond this morning.

                               Oak and Pale Grass Eggars

  The past few mornings have been spent rummaging around the local patch checking on the breeding birds, and for the most part its been a pretty successful one. A count of 43 Dabchicks on south lake, including many juvs was the highlight and, at long last, two Great Crested Grebes were noted with `stripy-zebras` on their backs. Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Mallard have all produced plenty of fledglings too.
  The Sparrowhawk pair were again successful with at least two juvs on the wing and it was good to see two well grown Oystercatcher chicks on the scaffold island with their ever attentive parents. Earlier in the season two pairs of Black-necked Grebes attempted to breed but failed, while a pair of Dartford Warblers double brooded raising at least five juveniles. A pair of Ringed Plovers somehow managed to raise young on the Desert, although none were successful along the beach due to increasing human disturbance.
  Of the summer warblers only Lesser Whitethroats did well with five singers locally; Whitethroat, Sedge and Reed Warblers were all down and Chiffchaff didn't breed. Several adult Cuckoos were present, although I`ve yet to see a fledged juvenile. Resident Cetti`s Warbler (seven singers), Green Woodpecker and Water Rail all bred across the site, as did Skylark, Mipit, Stonechat, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting.

                                Islands are starting to emerge on south lake

  Migrants have started to drift through this week, chiefly Sand Martins along with a few Yellow Wagtails overhead, Common Sandpipers and at least one Green Sandpiper on the lakeside margins.
Sandwich Terns have been the main feature on the bay and earlier in the week a Black Tern (DS) dropped in; probably the same one as on Burrowes this morning, where also all three species of sandpipers were logged.
  Called in at Hanson hide this afternoon in sweltering 30C temperatures where hundreds of wildfowl and gulls were present on the ARC lake. Waders included several LRPs and Common Sandpipers, two Blackwits and a Wood Sandpiper, plus Great White Egret, two Garganeys, Med Gulls and a female Marsh Harrier bathing over the far side.
  There was plenty of Sandwich Tern, Med Gull and Curlew action moving between the bay and roost sites this evening involving several hundred birds, most of which seemed to fly over our cottage.

Drusillas Park - On Wednesday we took our nearly eight year old grandson and his mate to Drusillas for his birthday treat - "a day of fun in the sun!". Drusillas Park in Sussex is part zoo, part adventure playground; you know the kind of thing, ideal for hundreds of wailing kids and sulky parents in 35C heat!
  Anyhow, while the young Troddling was running riot in the Get Wet! (exclamation marks are everywhere at Drusillas!) I sauntered back through the zoo for a gander. Now, at this juncture I must admit to not being a great lover of zoos, never have been, although to be fair this place did appear to be spic and span and well maintained. I know that many zoos claim conservation credentials and educate the nippers, but I think that most are just an excuse for disrespectful paying guests to visit what is after all an animal prison. For example, the Red Pandas and primates did have spacious cages, but they just looked bored and listless; staring into the eyes of a Columbus Monkey said it all for me... A pair of Servals and Giant Anteaters did not have nearly enough space and really shouldn't have been there at all.
  As is often the case it was the captive birds that got a raw deal. The Spectacled and Snowy Owl cages were very small and nowhere near big enough for them to fly properly. An enclosure with various species of ibises was pitiful; long-billed waders with highly sensitive bill tips for probing mud being incarcerated in a concrete based cage no bigger than half a penalty area. Shocking. Having been privileged to see these birds in their native environments I couldn't help but feel depressed.
 So, I`m yet to be convinced of the value of zoos, surely its much better to concentrate efforts in their native lands, along with somehow trying to educate the burgeoning human population both here and abroad to respect them. Call Mr Misery, but that's the way I feel about zoos, and I reckon one day they will be frowned upon, just like circus animals are today.
  However, the day ended in a degree of drama with the evacuation of Drusillas Park due to a corn field fire opposite!!!!!!!!!

1 comment: