A cuckoo calling from close by the centre was a welcome relief to the somewhat dispiriting gloom and drizzle of the morning. As we went around opening up the hides chiffchaff, blackcap and garden warbler were giving rise to it along the wooded pathways and the reed warbler singing from the reed beds at least knew where they should be – presumably having read the books!!.
A brave Canada goose had dared to trespass on one of the tern rafts, but was repelled by the enthusiastic attention of the resident terns. Both male and female great spotted woodpeckers were seen together on the seed feeder outside the woodland hide, leading us to suspect that they might have youngsters in a nest nearby. The male even took the opportunity to drop down to drink from the pond, slightly ‘iffy’ picture taken trough rain spattered hide window.
Although still calling as we walked around, the cuckoo itself was not to be seen, but some cuckoo flowers were showing well in the millennium meadow.
Despite the rain the business of nesting goes on and birds are sitting tight to keep the rain off their precious eggs as evidenced by this coot on the settlement pond.
With what promised to be a fairly quiet day – first visitor didn’t arrive until 10.15 – we had hoped there might be something interesting in the moth trap but one setaceous hebrew character was all that we found.
The damp weather is encouraging the plant life to grow profusely and some of the nettles near the centre were encroaching on the paths so we set to in pulling some out and in doing so noticed the profusion of wild strawberry flowers and the quite startling blue flowers of green alkanet, which had been smothered by the nettles.
As the day improved a little we took a trip over to the Tern Hide where hundreds of sand martins were flying low over Ibsley Water in an aerobatic display of their agility. With quite a large number of great crested grebe idling around on the lake it seemed as if they may not have been having a very succesful breeding season, but one pair were apparently just starting to build a nest on the foreshore as they dragged weeds to the edge and started piling it up. I’ll admit that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grebe standing up so this picture was bit of a bonus, they really do have legs, but obviously have trouble walking too far
On the other hand some of our larger residents are already being kept busy herding their new arrivals.