Sunday, 13 June 2010

Early Mornings

Yesterday morning, having woken up to the joy of blue sky and sunshine, I left home at 5.30 and drove down to the eastern end of the reserve at Shellness, arriving at 6.00. The down side of doing that was having to endure driving along the Shellness track to get there. This mile long stretch of unmade track doesn't have potholes, it has craters, which are often full of water so that you can't see how deep they are. Its a real obstacle course and I recall many years ago someone commenting that anyone living at the Hamlet who was pregnant would almost certainly have a girl, because that track would shake the balls off any boy!

The first thing that I saw on stepping onto the beach top were numerous plants of Vipers Bugloss just coming into flower, its a lovely plant and is a great favourite of bees along there. Close by there were also specimens of Yellow Horned Poppy, Sea Campion and just the one plant of Sea Spurge.

The tide was very low so bird life along the beach to the Point was fairly sparce with most birds being strung out across the mudflats. I knew this would be the case but my main reason for going out there was to check up on any Little Tern breeding this year on the beach. Unfortunately I never saw or heard a single tern and therefore as has been the case this last few years, we appear to have lost them as a breeding species at the moment. The only birds of any note out there were several pairs of Ringed Plovers, 14 Grey Plovers on the edge of the mudflats and a pair of Avocets with two flying juveniles.
For the second year running also, there were no signs of any breeding House Martins on the Hamlet buildings, which is a shame because they had bred there for many years until recently.

This morning I left home at the same time and went down to the reserve proper but today the sky was quite cloudy and the air was surprisngly chilly when I parked at the barn at 6.00. Friday's rain had managed to put a slight covering of water over the muddy scrapes in the Flood, which I don't surpose will last long and it hadn't attracted any special birds. The pair of Avocets and their chicks had gone, hopefully the chicks had survived and perhaps they were the ones I saw at Shellness Point yesterday. Other than that there were just a few Lapwings, Oystercatchers and Shelducks in there. The Swallows nest in the "Tumbledown Hide" now has well grown chicks in it, so that has been a success so far.

Despite the chilly conditions a few dragonflies hawked along one of the ditches, feeding on swarms of flies that to me, looked very much like Mayflies but didn't seem quite big enough. Despite reading up on Dragonflies recently I still have great difficulty identifying them because the bloody things never stop moving! you could go boss-eyed watching them for any length of time, I don't know how people manage to get photographs of them.

Apart from that it was an enjoyable walk round but with little out of the ordinary to record except just two things. I had a fly-over Spoonbill, fairly high, which circled the reserve but then carried on eastwards towards Shellness and I found a small clump of Field Forget-me-nots. We have some Water Forget-me-not along one of the ditches but I haven't found the Field variety before.

So it was then back home to breakfast, newspapers full of "butterfingers" and the prospects of another week of summer slipping by with no particually hot and sunny weather forecast.

1 comment:

  1. Patience Derek, that's how you photograph dragonflies!!!

    Bet that spponbill made your morning, and as for butterfingers, well i had a case of that while ringing birds on saturday :-)