Sightings

Hi, haven’t posted for a while, been somewhat preoccupied. These are a few observations of recent days.
On 25th Feb watched the two swans flying north quite low over long pond. As they were nearing far end the
pen swan veered towards the sea with the cob following closely. Too closely however as it did not manage to gain enough height
and it collided with the top of the sand dune causing it to tumble away out of sight onto the pebbles on the high water line.
I hurried round and it was preening itself on the pebbles and when it saw me getting closer it waddled down on to the sand
and took flight returning to its mate on the pond. Hey guess it was just a few courting problems !!
Generally things are getting very busy on the nesting front as the birds are bonding and sorting out their nesting arrangements, this makes things quiet at the feeders
compared to a few weeks ago.
Lapwings and skylarks are plentiful and are busy sorting themselves out too.

Today 14th March as I was approaching the north feeder I noticed that the birds were sounding out their alarm calls so
I crept round and was surprised to see a stoat gnawing away at an old ham bone tied up 6ft high in a tree.
For 3-4 minutes I had the pleasure of watching this so secretive animal only to be disturbed by other walkers as they
noisily approached.

Then to cap it all I heard a woodpecker a rat tat tatting on one of the nest boxes near to new owl box as I left the area.

Posted by Bob

Further Ferrets

Posted by Ian

Saw our small mustelid again early (very early) this morning;bit surprised as I would have thought yesterdays rabbit offering would have kept him in bed.Took a picture on my camera phone and sent it to my cohorts.Went back again armed with a ‘proper’ camera this afternoon to try and post a pic on the blog but he must of seen me coming!.Iam trying to keep this brief now for those bored with ferret tales.

Ferrets– Episode Three

Posted by Ian

I hesitated posting this blog to-day,due to the risk of ‘He’s making this up’; but on we go;nice quiet afternoon, so armed with new bag and string (just in case you understand) off we went along the west side to cover the same route as yesterday.Not a soul about,always find it strange that such a beautiful place does not attract more pilgrims.Anyway–arrived within 100meters of the last ferret sighting,and was rewarded by a male Stonechat sat on a fence post,really nice to see ,they were devastated two winters ago and have gone from being a common sight to being a ‘nice to see’.Then–there he was,I kid you not,doing what ferrets do I suppose when they are hungry.Out came the bag and string–two near misses later (fingers not ferret) and I gave up again (what a wimp).Admitting defeat we (me and Pip) carried on along the fence and guilty as charged, Pip caught a rabbit!. You can guess the rest–off we went with Mrs Bun back to our slender friend and threw him the offering.Our friend pounced on the furry package and dragging it between his legs disappeared down a rabbit hole which I guess has become his residence (where are Phil and Kirsty when you need them).Feeling slightly better , although still on his own our ferret has a warm dry home and a full stomach!. Ps got a really nice view of a female Sparrow Hawk on the way back,perched by the rifle butts.

Feisty Ferrets etc

Posted by Ian

Interesting week— thurs 8th march was a dry day,so set off to walk around the west side of the reserve following the tide line for anything of interest (big tides next few days).Rounding the end of the Island near the two small shore side ponds (101/2) I noticed movement on the tideline—turned out to be a ferret complete with harness (but no lead).The little critter was very tame and ran up to me and climbed up the outside of my leg.After my own version of ‘Riverdance’ the pesky thing climbed down and started to follow me while I pondered how to take it safely back home.Running out of ideas I sadly left it and continued back.

Repeated my walk on Saturday 10th and found a mesh bag on the shoreline ‘just in case’. The thought of coming across the little chap again amongst the acres of dunes seemed very remote,and after a couple of hours I stowed the bag for ‘next time’—,but as I made my way back there he was,wandering along without a care.I pulled out my overtrousers and did my best to capture him , he did’nt seem quite pleased with my attempts and promptly bit through my finger!!.After a version of the ‘Hand Jive’ the sweet little thing finally let go. Sad to say I gave up the task of ‘rescuing’ him and left him there—watch this space.

This morning (Sun 11th) was quite tame in comparison,but after an early start on a nice still morning, I watched a group of magpies,nine in total mobbing a female roe deer—never seen or heard of that before.

No two days are the same on the reserve!

5th MARCH

Posted by Ian

Lovely sunny day,walked northwards along the beach round to scarth,never seen the wreck (Anastasia) so exposed.Cut up through the dunes and found a thrushes anvil with hundreds of banded snail remains,there have been a lot of migrant thrushes this year.

Carried on through the dunes and as I passed through the last locked farm gate I noticed an old chap bent double carrying two white buckets,looked like a paddy field rice worker.I shouted over but my Chinese is not that good so he never replied.You see all sorts on the reserve!!.

Beached Bird Survey 28th Feb

Posted by Ian

Usual suspects—Bri, Ian,Bill and Geof tramped in two teams –Earnse Bay to Scarth and Teasdale Road to scarth.

Met for lunch and compared bird finds, Brian and Ian 4 Bill and Geof 0,which was four more than we found last time.

Don’t think this is a good sign,just think there are more foxes scavenging the tide line.

Not a bad day –no wind just a bit damp, a big improvement from when Bill normally comes down from Broughton.

Good company –good pies—a good day.

PM Mon 27th Feb

More postings by Ian

Wet ‘Orrible’ afternoon but rewarded by the sight of a roebuck with two does by the reed bed (due to fawn April/early May).

Common toads on their way to the ponds—early this year usually second week in March