Sunday, 20 November 2011

Weekend Crowds

We had friends staying this weekend, so after a great meal and a mellow evening an early morning start was not on the agenda.

The Sprawler

I did run my moth traps and I was surprised to find a new moth for the garden and for me. The Sprawler is not a particularly spectacular moth, it seems to have a thick winter coat, as befits a moth that is mainly around from late October to early December. It is somewhat unusual for a macro moth in that the adults don't feed. Their existence is purely for the purpose of procreation and producing the next generation of caterpillars.

In the afternoon I was going to walk the area where I found the two Snow Buntings last Sunday, but the fine weather had brought out dozens of people for a final outing in the sun and it seemed that a substantial number of them were walking round, what is normally an area of perfect solitude, with their metal detectors. Being the unsociable person I am I took myself off the Ancient Highway and the Restharrow Scrape where I knew there would be no more than a couple of people, who like me would be sitting quietly hoping for something special to arrive in front of the hide.

There were a lot of Snipe sitting down in the cut reeds but no sign of the Jack Snipe. A Robin popped out of the reeds and took the opportunity to have a bath. I returned to searching through the Snipe for their smaller relative.

The next time I looked at where the Robin had been bathing it had transformed into a Green Sandpiper. This puts a whole new slant on accelerated evolution and creationism, and no, photoshop was not involved.

As the Jack Snipe, nor anything of similar scarcity was around the opportunity was there to take a close look at our regular residents. Watching this beautiful drake Teal sieving through the mud made me wonder if it was taking invertebrates and if so why, in general this scrape fails to attract as many waders as you might think it would, given it's prime position.

By now the sun was dropping and the evening light was clear and cast a magic calmness across the scrape. Slowly the Snipe became active and started to work round the edge and some fed right up the grass and almost beneath the hide. It was so quiet I was worried that the noise of the camera might disturb them, but they carried on oblivious to the closeness of human activity. The bird above has it's bill slightly open but I can't see what it has just extracted from the ground.

In hte end they all seemed to on the move and I counted at least twenty-two, but I still was unable to track down the Jack.

When I decided to leave I took a last look at the Moorhen as it checked it's reflection in the water. I had hoped that an owl, either a Barn or a Short-eared might be patrolling as I scanned Worth Marshes, but tonight I struck a blank.

(I thank Derek for proof reading and finding some of my mistakes!)

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