I was co-leading a HOS walk around NO today and before meeting the group I spent a few hours checking out what was on the reserve. As usual I pulled over at the Reedy Ditch first where a flock of 16 Little Egrets were just taking off. I’ve noticed them doing this before, flying in to the Reedy Ditch area from their roost site to the west before splitting off in various directions for a day feeding around the reserve. This is my joint largest count at NO.
Along with the egrets at least two Grey Herons were airborne and they flushed 23 Gadwall who were hidden along the ditch. Shortly afterwards a Fox trotted across W Flash carrying what looked like a Canada Goose gosling.
On the Solent three mid-channel Gannets headed west and in the scrub around Gt Marsh the Meadow Pipit chicks had fledged, a juvenile bird sat watching me from the top of a gorse bush. From the back of the flight pond I managed to find the two Little Ringed Plover chicks who were accompanied by both adults. It is now 18 days since they hatched. Nearby I enjoyed a brief glimpse of Shelduck chicks before the adults ushered them out of sight. The yellow spikes of Dyer’s Greenweed were evident in the damp bits around Gt Marsh.
The nationally scarce Corky-fruited water-dropwort is fairly abundant at NO and is in full flower by mid-June.
Equally abundant is Hemlock water-dropwort, in fact as you drive along W Lane from the entry gate it’s all you can see out of the side windows.
Family groups often provide a good chance to see birds which are otherwise elusive and that was the case today when a group of juvenile Cetti’s Warblers were calling constantly near DL’O hide and showing themselves almost as often. A walk around the pools near MMs bungalow provided one of the highlights of the day, a close encounter with a Hobby as it dashed after a Redshank.
My own AudioMoth bat detector has finally arrived and Adrian on the Nathusius’ Pipistrelle project has suggested we position it to get a tranche of data looking back along Warren Lane over the cottages from the sluice/weather station area, we have already found that Common and Soprano Pipistrelles use this route regularly.