A noisy family group including at least four juvenile Long-tailed Tits flew across W Lane in front of me while a pair of Ravens drifted over G Camp Field. A Cuckoo called from the NP hide area, I’ve now heard a Cuckoo calling on nine different mornings since I heard my first on the 18th April.
A flock of gulls and terns were feeding off MMs, they included 11 Common Terns and a Sandwich Tern. I later saw the Common Terns on the new wooden groynes which have been built to stop New Forest Ponies getting across from P Shore at low tide. There was also a 1st summer Little Gull in the feeding flock and that makes at least one 1st summer Little Gull on five of my last eight visits. I’d imagine some of these young birds will return to Russia but perhaps not breed.
On Gt Marsh the two Avocet chicks were still feeding along the far edge with parents close by and on nearby Gv Marsh a Fox watched me from just beyond the safety of the hedge while a pair of Roe Deer trotted through the shallow water.
The young male Marsh Harrier drifted over Gv Marsh scattering the Shelduck, Gadwall and Lapwing. When everything had settled again I picked out two small and two larger Lapwing chicks.
In the last week a male Nightjar had been flushed near the NP Hide by Ian and then a few days later by Joost. I took my thermal camera to see if I could see it without disturbing it. There appeared to be no thermal signature from the fence line or from the ground nearby, I carried on walking and was surprised and frustrated when the Nightjar flushed from a few yards to my right. It was obviously roosting in the new fence around the Nightingale plot. Thankfully it landed in a nearby tree and I was delighted to get a decent photo.
Soon afterwards the Cuckoo, which had been calling all morning, landed on the roof of NP hide and gave me a few seconds to grab an image. Remarkably, he will already be thinking about returning to Africa.
It was the warmest day for weeks and I finally saw my first dragonfly of the year, Blue-tailed Damselflies were on the wing in large numbers although the wet channels near the car park and along B Water didn’t produce any patrolling Hairy Dragonflies. A Small Heath butterfly was also enjoying the warmth and was my first at NO.
mating Blue-tailed Damselflies and Small Heath
Over on DL’O scrape Sunday’s four Avocet chicks had reduced to two. It’s the first time for a few years that chicks have hatched here. The Great Black-backed Gulls and Herons will likely take a heavy toll on whatever chicks do hatch.
On the stream that divides G West and G East a family group of four very young Lapwing chicks had been brought to the water’s edge by their parents and nearby a male Pied Wagtail was feeding two recently fledged juveniles.
At the Warden’s Hut I checked in on the Peregrines. It does appear that the chicks have survived the recent 65mph gales as a parent bird brought in an Oystercatcher chick to the nest. I assumed it was an Oystercatcher as there were two frantic Oystercatchers chasing him. I saw Miranda at the Warden’s Hut and she mentioned seeing a Green Hairstreak near MMs. I pulled over on my way home and found one just where she’d said basking on a south facing bank of Bramble, Broom and Gorse.