Thursday, 8 June 2017

Even more orchids at CWP!

As with most recent tours, we started at  Lower Moor Farm Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) reserve and were soon listening and watching a very showy whitethroat and an equally showy ‘plink, plink, fizz’ reed bunting

By the hide we heard garden warbler, blackcap, chaffinch and chiffchaff singing. After a brief stop in the hide where we mostly watched the four-spotted chasers, well chasing around, also red-eyed damselfly and common blue damselfly.  There was also what was most likely an emperor dragonfly exuviae on a stick – great stuff!

Red-eyed damselfly

We started to find more warbler species, as well hear more of the ones we had picked up earlier. with, cetti’s warbler and willow warbler being heard but not seen. Other birds singing included dunnock, wren, robin, blackbird and song thrush.

We added blue-tailed to our damselfly list and the roundhouse-shaped cowshed there was a reed warbler singing from the reeds, as he should be.  

Next, we arrived at Clattinger farm – I should have brought sun glasses for everyone!
Amongst the plants we saw were cowslip, green-winged orchid, early marsh-orchid, marsh valerian , bee orchid, burnt-tip orchid, common milkwort, bird’s-foot trefoil, southern marsh orchid and common spotted-orchid. We also sniffed and tasted pepper saxifrage and salad burnet.  

burnt-tip orchid

We also saw a few butterflies, including painted lady, common blue and small copper.

small copper


Sadly the grass snake had moved on, but still, what a cracking morning! (NA)

Sunday, 4 June 2017

RSPB Ham Wall


Today saw us at the fantastic RSPB Ham Wall Reserve in Somerset.

It was very evident that a lot of the birds around today where busy feeding young, several Whitethroat, Blackcaps and Garden Warblers all seen with beaks full of insects around their nesting areas.

On the first viewing point a couple of Great White Egrets where feeding also Grey Heron and a few Cormorants sunning themselves on the wooded platforms.

Several duck species are around with a few groups of young which included Pochard and Mallard, other ducks included Shoveler, Gadwall and Tufted Duck.

Moving to the first hide we saw a couple of Marsh Harriers in the distance which turned out to be the male and female passing food items, we watched from the hide and saw 3-4 birds all hunting over the Reed beds. Two Bitterns flew around along with a few Hobbies hunting the many dragonflies now on the wing, these agile hunters are always great to see.

On the pool in front of the hide was a pair of Great Crested Grebes with two well grown young also a female Pochard with two young and a Mute Swan with seven grey balls of fluff that swam past at close range.

Several smaller birds could be seen in the reed beds which turned out to be a couple of Reed Buntings and several Bearded Tits.

Moving on towards the bottom end of the reserve we found a couple of Cattle Egrets along with a single Glossy Ibis feeding out on the marsh area. A nice fly by Cuckoo gave a close view.

On our return back, both Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers were still singing loudly along with Cetti's Warblers which seem to be everywhere. Other birds seen included Song Thrush, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Swallow, Swift, House Martin, Coot, Moorhen, Reed Warbler, Little Grebe and Buzzard.

A good mix of Dragon and Damselflies are around along with both Red Admiral and Specked Wood Butterflies.

A shorter visit today but still very productive with several wildlife highlights, this is a place I always look forward to leading tours.DT