Fringe Box



Birdwatcher’s Diary No.8

Published on: 11 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 11 Jun, 2012

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By Malcolm Fincham

As I had guessed, it’s becoming a difficult time of the year for me to take photos of some birds as many have become very secretive. Females are brooding their young and often it’s just a fleeting glimpse of one with food in its mouth, off to feed them

Also, the return of inclement weather over the last week has resticted my adventures. However, I have managed a few trips along my regular route between Stoke Lock and Bowers Lock, since my arrival back from Scotland.

One of the first birds I caught sight of, and a first for me this year at Stoke, was a hobby. It flew low across the river by a flooded field and then went up over the lock towards the sewage works.

The hobby is a very agile bird of prey that visits us during the summer months and feeds mainly on dragonflies. Resembling the shape of a large swift in flight, and about the size of a kestrel, hobbies are quite capable of catching a house martin or  a swallow. Unfortunatly, the one I saw was too quick for me to get a photo of it.

Great crested grebe chick on the lake at Stoke Meadows.

Arriving at Stoke Lake I was pleased to see that both the young great crested grebes are doing well. Both are nearly the size of their parents. Both the common terns were still present and also on the lake for a brief yime were two drake tufted duck – not a usual sight at this time of the year.

Male tufted duck on the lake.

One thing I noticed since I last visited over a week ago was the growth of vegetation. Along the riverbank there were many damselflies, including the banded demoiselle, flashing their bright colours in the sunlight, feeding on mayflies and consumating their marriage to each other ‘like a couple of kooks hung up on romancing’!

Banded demoiselle.

I was pleased to capture a decent picture of a garden warbler at Bowers Lock. Although this is quite a dull looking bird, it was good to hear it still singing its melodic song.

Garden warbler.

On Friday, June 8, I decided to treat my wife and daughter to a trip to Pulborough Brooks, the RSPB reserve in West Sussex, and which I mentioned in a previous report.

It’s a a place I would highly recommend. It has a visitor centre, tea room and picnic area. It’s also handy to know (for some) that a motorised buggy is available for disabled people, altough pre booking is advisable.

Unfortunatly, although the stormy weather and overnight rain had passed, it still remained quite breezey, making life very difficult to view and take pictures of many of the different of birds I had hoped to see.

Male speckled wood butterfly.

However, the walk itself, as always, was most enjoyable. I managed a few pictures of several obliging speckled wood butterflies and even had a bonus of viewing (although distant) a spoonbill out on the brooks.

Spoonbill at the RSPB reserve at Pulborough.

A brief visit to Stoke Lake on Saturday, June 9, brought the delight of seeing our resident kestrel with at least two young on display.

Young kestrels.

Also down at the lake, my daughter’s day was made by spotting a kingfisher flash by. Her first sighting of one this year.

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