Attenborough early September


Dear Son,

I though I would update you on how our trip round Attenborough went last Sunday. By the time we had finished phonecalls it was later than we had hoped. However the weather was perfect so we set off quickly before any other distractions came along.

Just outside the sand martin hide were two common sandpipers. David photographed them on his phone. In case you were wondering it is near that big clump of vegetation.

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See what I mean about it being a beautiful day. At the corner of the building a

female goosander was sat somewhat incongruously.

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From tower hide we watched a raven fly across to Barton in Fabis and a buzzard circling the woods opposite. A black necked grebe was trying to hide in amongst the little grebes and a green sandpiper tried to look inconspicuous amongst the dunlin on the long island. There were more reed buntings than last time. The statistics for fledging cand martins were encouraging this year most of those ringed had fledged.

A kingfisher flew across but I missed it as it was so rapid. Three little egrets saw amongst the ducks and black headed gulls. Most of the ducks were in eclipse but it was good to see the return of some of the winter species, shoveler, a few widgeon as well as the commoner teal, mallard, tufteds and gadwell. we heard several Cetti’s warblers always skulking in bushes. Snipe were lurking at the edges of the islands and several ringed plovers were patrolling. occassionally we would see a duck that had completed its moult and it stood out as being particularly splendid. It has been so long since we went birding I found myself fascinated by watching tufted ducks diving the look so much more elegant under water. I hadn’t noticed how bright the yellow eye is nor how its colour is emphasised by the black pupil at the centre.

We walked to the old fishermans’ car park at a gentle stroll. We found a mixed flock of tits, lots of long tailed tits flitting through the trees calling incessantly, but also blue tits and great tits associated with them. A female blackcap was tagging along and both robins and wrens were present.  from the centre of the village we headed beside the works pond towards the bund most of this pond has been filled in with sediment from the gravel extraction. I finally saw my own kingfisher low over the pond. We moved though the wood towards the railway line and the crossing where we turned towards the river. It is always quieter at this end and we had avoided most of the prams cyclists and pushchairs. We walked back along the river towards the bund and noticed that most of the great crested grebes were changing back to winter plumage. Our peace was disturbed by a speedboat on the river but apart from that it was a long languorous stroll. Common darters crossed the path ahead of us. Unfortunately they refused to pose as this one has so this is from the web.

common-darter

From time to time a curious migrant hawker would come to investigate us. One was so fresh it took your father some time to determine it wasn’t a southern migrant hawker as these have been seen in Essex. The image here is from the web as we only had a phone

migranthawker_jpg

 

 

The late summer sun had also brought out the butterflies many of them speckled woods but also small and green veined white, comma, and red admiral.

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There were many honey bees feeding on the hymalayan balsam that has returned and some common carder bees Bombus Pascorum. We also found a bee mimic, volucella bombylans this large hoverfly resembles a bee.

hoverfly-volucella-bombylans-var-bombylans

The brilliantly named marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus was everywhere.

marmalade-hoverfly

The oak trees were full of acorns so there were jays magpies and squirrels. Many of the acorns had knopper galls on them as you can see here.

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We walked five miles saw fifty two species of bird as well as many insects and plants and had a wonderful sunday morning.

Since we returned we have found a rove beetle in the kitchen and a moth caterpillar on a pile of books at school. The temperature today has exceeded that in Morocco and we are having a mini heatwave.

Much love Mum

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