Tuesday, 12 August 2014

11 August 2014: Upton Warren Nature Reserve

An early start for the 40 minute drive and arrived at Upton Warren about 7am. It was a beaurtiful morning with the sun shining and hardly a cloud in the sky, though the remnats of Hurricane Bertha were predicted to be arriving at about lunchtime. 
I decideded to head round to the flashes side first. Ordinarily I wouldn't normally go there first as you are looking into the light and today, being very sunny would proably be even worse. However, a Wood Sandpiper had been reported roosting there overnight, so it was worth a chance(-:).

As I entered the reserve I heard a distinctive yaffle - but why do Green Woodpecker always manage to land on the other side of something?
It then flew into the next tree where I managed to get one fairly clear shot
before it found another hiding place(-:).
Perhaps this juvenile Peregrine had scared it - it appeared on my left heading into the wind which would take it over the scrapes.
When I raeched the hide overlooking the scrape I was told that the Peregrine had made 5 unsuccessful passes over the scrape and had put every bird into the air. When everything settled there was no sign of a Wood sandpiper, though visibility into the sun was rather impossible and unbearable. Maybe the Peregrine had scared the Wood Sandpiper off or maybe we just couldn't identify it's silhouette. I decided it was time to go to the other side of the reserve and take advantage of the light rather than be hindered by it. On the walk back tpo the car I found this male Bullfinch tackling the early Blackberries.

On reaching the other side I headed to the East Hide overlooking the Moors Pool, from which the sun would be behind me. I saw my first Swifts in a couple of weeks as half a dozen or so headed through going south.

There were also a lot of House Martin, though they were staying to feed.
From the hide itself I caught this Little Grebe. It had been a good year for these here with at least 3 broods of youngsters.

A flock of Canad Geese arrived, some of them spilling their lift as they came in.
A party of Wood Pigeon also flew over.
The juvenile Great Crested Grebe wee out hunting for themselves now.
This Mallard seemed somewhat surprised to find this Little Grebe diving out of the way.
and the Grebe then popped up for a rouse and a preen.

Another House Martin over.

Lots of Mallard were still Snoozing but the juvenile Lapwing seemed much more alert.
This adult Little Grebe was definitely chasing these two juveniles, though I don't know whether they were a different brood or whether it was trying to send the children out into the big wild world!

A juveile black Headed Gull landing amongst the Canada Geese
and the Lapwing starting to disperse and begin feeding.
A little Egret appeared on the island in front of the hide - very yellow legs so I wonder if it's ajuvenile?
I truned mty attention to the Common Tern who had started fishing much closer to the hide.

but was sidetracked by the fact that there were now two Little Egrets and they were not at all pleased to meet each other.

Back to the Common Terns fishing - this one appears to be a juvenile.

It was time to move location and I opted to got round to the Water Rail hide on the off chance that I might find Kingfisher appearing in front of it. I was first person in the hide at about 10:15 and was extremely surprised to see this perched, waiting for me to come. The  backlight wasn't too bad on this perch

but was very bad when the Kingfisher opted to use the perches in the lefthand channe, with the sun directly behind and also reflecting off the water - even with compensation, much of the Kingfuisher was showing up as black.
Back to the original perch and some better shots
The leg colour and white spot at the tip of the bill suggest hat this is a juvenile.

Back onto the left hand channel fora backlit silhouette.
and then a dive.
Round again to the reasonable lighting

The spread of the throat feathers is quite interesting and is something I hadn't noticed before in other Kingfisher shots - is there any significance to this, does anyone know.

Once more on the left hand channel with severe backlighting, sitting minding it's own business,
 when we both spot something coming.
 A touch of panic sets in

 and off we go
 ousted by another Kingfisher.

There were a few minutes chasing each other round the reedbeds which was almost far too quick to see, never mind captur and one of them flew off. How lucky was I(-:). The newcomer checked out all of the perches too

and after about an hour altogether, this one took its leave as well at about. More Little grebes
A Small Tortoiseshell on the thistles outside of the hide.
A Little Egret flew over back into its favourite feeding corner.
Small Tortoiseshell again
Green Veined White - identified by an exopert on the rSPB forums.
Probable Migrant  Hawker .
Time had come to head back round to the flashes to see what was about. Quite a few Green Sandpiper but definitely no sign of the Wood Sandpiper all dya by anyone I met.
A solitary Common Snipe feeding.

One of nmany Stock Dove that come in to drink and bathe.
Oystercatcher still feeding a well developed but unfledged youngster, so the adults keep it on the islands fro greater security I guess.

Another Stock Dove which chose to land directly in front of the hide. Rather beautiful in my opinion and it seemed in excellent condition.

The skies started to darken with the threat of the promised rain and I decided to call it a day - I just made it back to the car as the heavens opened.

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