A male Stonechat was seen near the Small Gravel Pit this afternoon. Also seen were several House Martins and a Sand Martin, one Grey Wagtail and six Common Snipe. RW.
This morning a Cuckoo called briefly beside the Slurry Lagoon as a solitary Swift flew over. During the Warbler Walk, eight warbler species were heard and six Hobbies were seen hawking insects over the Large Gravel Pit. Around seven Hairy Dragonflies were seen, including two females egg-laying, one on the Slurry Lagoon and one on the Small Gravel Pit. Two female Green Hairstreaks were seen, also egg-laying. An Oystercatcher was on the Wader Scrape and a Little Ringed Plover was on the dry end of the Slurry Lagoon. PS.
This morning, during the bird count, a Barn Owl was seen. Also two Ravens were on the pylons, Siskin and Redpoll were about as well as one Tree Sparrow along the Lower Path. Eight Snipe were seen dropping into the Slurry Lagoon reed bed. By the Small Gravel Pit a late Garden warbler was sunning itself. PS.
This afternoon there were three Whimbrel on one of the new islands on the Slurry Lagoon. A Hobby was seen and a Hairy Dragonfly was on the Small Gravel Pit. RW.
This morning there were at least twelve Swifts over the reserve. Two Grasshopper Warblers were singing, near the railway bridge and near the Small Gravel Pit, and lots more warblers were singing. SC.
This morning a Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing near the metal gates. JMD.
In the late afternoon a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling beside the Small Gravel pit. Also there were two Little Ringed Plovers and two Dunlin on the flooded field across the river. Later two Lesser Whitethroats were heard. RW.
Today a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near the Small Gravel Pit. A Hobby and Cuckoo were also seen. Near the Small Gravel Pit were also seen two Broad-bodied Chasers and two Large Red Damselflies. RW.
A Water Shrew was seen today beside the pond between the Small Gravel Pit and the Haven. RW.
The two walks were held on Wednesday, 14th August and Sunday, 18th August, the first day there were seven people and on the Sunday only one person turned up. The weather was bright and warm on both days and so the insects were not hard to see, although the Wednesday was rather windy.
On the Wednesday the Long-winged Coneheads were plentiful and seem to have taken over most of the site and were not restricted to a few areas as they had been in the past. There were individuals of all ages, from quite early instar nymphs to fully mature adults. Many of the ones found were of the extra long-winged, macropterous, form, which is normally associated with dense populations of the insect. These are the more mobile form that it is thought spread out to colonise new areas. Also found in large numbers were Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers, which were found in a variety of colour forms. The Field Grasshoppers were much harder to find than they have been in the past, possibly due to competition with the other two orthopterans. Roesel’s Bush Cricket was not found, possibly because the blustery weather made it hard to hear, and no Slender Groundhoppers were found when we looked by the Small Gravel Pit.
On the Sunday, as there were only two of us, we decided to see what we could find on the dry end of the Slurry Lagoon. We found plenty of Long-winged Coneheads and Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers as we made our way to the Slurry Lagoon gate. Once on the slurry surface we found the missing Field Grasshoppers amongst the sparse vegetation.
Whilst looking for them we also discovered Common Groundhoppers, which were in good numbers but extremely hard to see. All sorts of colour forms and patterns were represented, but they were difficult to photograph as they kept jumping and disappearing. We again looked without success for Slender Groundhoppers by the Small Gravel Pit, but were luckier with Roesel’s Bush Crickets, which were singing along the banks of the Deep Pit.
This morning a Whimbrel was heard calling as it flew over the site, towards Holme Pierrepont. There was a Common Sandpiper feeding along the edge of one of the tern platforms, much to the annoyance of the residents. The Dragonfly Walk was a mixed success as the weather was not very co-operative. Red-eyed and Small Red-eyed Damselflies were found on the Small Gravel Pit as well as a Ruddy Darter. PS.