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18 May 2017

Dragonflies beginning to emerge

A newly emerged broad-bodied chaser dragonfly.

A kingfisher has made a reappearance at the Scrape hide, along the boat safari channels and at the Tundra Pen. This male is stopping in for quick fishing trips and is taking his catch offsite to feed youngsters in a nest. We haven’t managed to coax them to nest onsite in our kingfisher bank – yet.

Blue tits are feeding youngsters in the woodcrete nest box along the reedbed boardwalk path. The nest boxes are busy in the Woodland Loop as well. The male willow warbler is still singing for territory there so he is intending to stay.

Wild shelduck ducklings hatched out over the weekend. It was our first sighting this spring of a clutch of these humbug-striped, black and white ducklings. It’s been a hard spring for ducklings in general. Cool overnight temperatures and predatory herring gulls have given duckling numbers a knock. However there are a high number of tufted ducks on the reserve this year and their ducklings don’t hatch out until the end of May – beginning of June. The mallard population onsite is high as well and they will all have second clutches up to July.  There are plenty of greylag and Canada geese goslings around if you need a cuteness fix when you visit.

The cool evening have slowed the dragonflies this year too but I finally spotted a broad bodied chaser in the reedbeds last Tuesday. The dragonfly seemed to have recently emerged and was drying off on a stalk in the bright sunlight. I am looking forward to the warmer weather predicted after these rainy days pass for the explosion in insect life it will likely bring. A surplus of insects will come at the right time for all the hatching eggs in the nest boxes.

Highlights last week include a whitethroat I heard singing at the back of the reedbed. I also heard a cuckoo again in the reedbed. On Sunday I spotted a red kite flying over the reserve.