Author Archive

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 | Author:


Here is a Grey wagtail picking through the mud on the edge of the spit when the water level was very low ten days ago (it’s since shot back up). It’s the first time I’ve seen one on the reserve. Not to be confused with the Yellow wagtail, which is much yellower than this!



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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | Author:

The male Banded demoiselle is very striking and familiar, with its electric blue body and dark patches on each wing that catch the eye as it flutters. The female is probably less well known. Here’s one demonstrating the full emerald green bodywork and wings. There were loads of males and females as well as other species fluttering around the site in the sun today, particularly by the low bridge by the spit.

I didn’t get such a good photo of the male, but I include it for completeness. I suppose it’s kind of arty!

Monday, May 10th, 2010 | Author:

The title is Sheila’s description of the odd looking duck masquerading as the father of a brood of ten ducklings on the mere. It’s probably a juvenile from a previous brood that’s sticking with its mother still, so it’s not the father (which is what I first assumed) though the father is almost definitely an odd looking duck itself, that has passed on its genes to this one.

It’s interesting to note that one of the ten ducklings is similarly coloured and stands out from the rest – it is all dark bar a white breast.

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Sunday, February 28th, 2010 | Author:

This Muntjac deer slowly ambled across the bridge over the Mere whilst working party attendees sipped hot drinks in the bird hide. It then slowly made its way down the path on the other side, stopping to nibble at the grass. This is by far the best sighting I’ve had of a Muntjac as they’re usually running away into the bushes.

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Sunday, January 17th, 2010 | Author:

A brilliantly attended wassail today on the reserve, not just by people but also by birds.

This is actually an older picture from a few weeks ago of Siskin high in the stand of Alder trees where they feed on the seeds. Today I saw Siskin on the feeders.

Two pairs of Gadwall stayed happily towards the far end of the mere. I understand they’ve been a relatively constant presence recently. The female looks a lot like a Mallard female, but the biggest clue is the lack of a green flash on the wing.

Best of all was a Little Egret that swooped in briefly, stalking the shallows of the mere for just a minute before heading off again. This seems to be a wassail tradition!

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Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 | Author:

The butterfly garden is looking absolutely fantastic right now – a riot of colour and variety, smothered in bees and butterflies – exactly how it should be.

A close up of a Green-veined White butterfly feeding. You can see a lot of detail in there (click the photo for a bigger close up), including the mottled grey pattern of the eye. Apparently this is a very common butterfly, but looking particularly interesting here on the underside of its wings.

This is a Small Magpie moth resting on the underside of a nettle leaf in the orchard. It’s only small, but very pretty, and seems to prefer landing upside down – at least for all the while that I was chasing it.

Finally an unusual visitor in the new pond – a leech, happily nosing around in the shallows. Quite a big one too – a few inches long. Credit to Penny for spotting it!

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Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Author:

Our esteemed chairman Steve recorded some bat sounds a few months back. His analysis suggests that the sound in question is a Daubenton’s bat (on which, more information here). The sound he recorded is available as an MP3 file here so have a listen. Of course the sound would ordinarily be too high pitched for human ears but the special bat detector brings it within our audible range.

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Saturday, May 09th, 2009 | Author:

Sheila tells me this is the first (only?) Gadwall seen at the reserve for 18 years! This is a male, which unfortunately flew off shortly afterwards.

There were five Moorhen chicks out and about. They look pretty ugly if you ask me – little balls of black fuzz with a bald head and stubby bald winglets.

This Magpie was admiring his reflection in the new pond.

And finally a snail – Arianta arbustorum if my ‘looking things up on the web’ skills are not mistaken!

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Thursday, April 09th, 2009 | Author:

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Monday, February 16th, 2009 | Author:

A balmy day at the reserve today. I can almost feel the plant life spring back up. The kingfisher was extremely accommodating – perching in the sun close to me. This is a male as the whole bill is black. A female would have a red lower bill (though juvenile males have some red on the lower bill).

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