Monday 15 May 2023

Osprey and first Dragonflies

Quite a fresh NW wind, particularly in the afternoon. Sunshine for most of the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Both Janet and myself (MD) had a late morning walk around. These first shots are Janet's 
The Orchids are just starting to emerge
Not sure exactly what this one is, but likely a Marsh Orchid (MD)

Drinker moth caterpillar 

Common Bluetail Damselfly

Orange Tip 

I managed to cover most of the north section of the reserve. As with Kevin a couple of days ago I managed to hear eight warblers singing, and failed to hear a Grasshopper warbler!
In order of abundance:
Willow Warbler
Cetti's Warbler 5
Lesser Whitethroat 5
Common Whitethroat 4
Blackcap 4
Sedge Warbler 2
Reed Warbler 1
I didn't cover the central marshes, where I expect there would have been more Reed and Sedge there.

Mute pair with 9 young cygnets. Originally on the "no swimming" pond, later at the feeding area of the main pond
Mallard 2 male on the main pond. Janet saw two females with chicks on the main pond, plus there was one with several very small chicks on Tim Butler pond
Coot 2 adult - this one is feeding a chick (I've left the sound on, despite the annoying camera clicks, as there is a short burst from a Cetti's Warbler towards the end).
Grey Heron 1
Pheasant at least three males calling.
Male Pheasant

Large White 1
Small White 2
Green-veined White 2
Common Blue 2
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Brimstone 3
Speckled Wood 6+
Orange Tip 2 each male and female
Male Small White

Male Large White

Male Common Blue

Azure Blue 4
Common Bluetail 4
Large Red 5
Large Red Damselfly

Broad-bodied Chaser 3 - 2 males plus an female/immature
Female/immature Broad-bodied Chaser

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Heysham skear - low water 15:45 (MD)
Little Egret 5
Eider 6
Great Crested Grebe 2
Oystercatchers plus Whimbrel 1 and Curlew 1.

There may have been more of the above, but I was distracted! On the way out all the gulls were in the air, so either a raptor or skua must have flushed them. But although they had obviously been spooked they were not screaming and were starting to settle.

So whatever spooked them had moved on. I scanned the skies and horizons but couldn't see anything. Then 15 minutes later both the gulls and Oystercatcher lifted again, and then quickly settled. Scanning the horizon eventually located a distant dark speck which proved to be an....
Osprey 1 - eating a flatfish on a sandbar. Unfortunately, by this time the tide was coming in quickly and I couldn't get much closer. The gulls sort of tolerate it when it isn't flying, although these were starting to edge closer to it.

Although the gulls were still very wary, this one scarpered after only half a wing flap from the Osprey.

It took this lone, and you have to say plucky, Carrion Crow to finally move the Osprey on.

The Osprey flew off north, but I couldn't see if it landed again to continue feeding.