Monday, 8 April 2013

Snipe snippet

With some welcome sunshine gracing the sky this past weekend, the nature reserve was a pleasant place to be. However, first there was the small matter of all those gardening tasks at home that have been on hold for ages due to the weather. For me, this was replanting a wild flower border which had proved a colourful and nectar-rich success in 2012 and then the slightly less fragrant chore of de-gooping our pond.

When those were out of the way, we spent an hour or so, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, just soaking up the faint traces of the Spring vibe and letting that HESC magic soak into our bones.

Chiffchaffs were chiff chaff-ing and a Green Woodpecker was yaffling persistently from a tall tree by St Peter's Lake. There were numerous small insects on the wing (much to the delight of the warblers!) as well as several bees. The Coltsfoots by the western end of the boardwalk were cantering, if not galloping, towards maturity. And there seemed to be Bullfinches calling everywhere.

Out on the main lake, several Egyptian Geese put in an appearance, a pair of Great Crested Grebes were busy constructing a nest at the eastern end of the bund and there were many Little Egrets and Grey Herons patrolling the reed beds.

On Sunday afternoon, Our Lass spotted a Snipe flying high over the site. It circled briefly and then dived down steeply and landed on the bund, immediately disappearing into the undergrowth, as Snipe are wont to do. We mused about the fact that there could be six hundred Snipe on the bund and no-one would be any the wiser. Half an hour later, just before we left the hide, a female Sparrowhawk glided passed, low over the water. When it reached the bund, it carried out a recce of the pools within and flushed all manner of stuff. Suddenly there were Teal and Snipe everywhere, but the hawk was unlucky and perched sulkily in the trees by the abandoned bridge. As the metaphorical dust settled, the Teal tucked themselves into the vegetation at the water's edge and the Snipe gathered themselves into a flock and headed off for pastures new. There were sixteen in all.

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