Monday, 1 May 2017

Little By Little - Dusty Springfield

As part of our continuing 'catch-up' series we have decided to concentrate, at least in part, on the success of the Little Grebe hereabouts. A tiny 'ball-of-fluff' which has been sighted on every watercourse across our Recording Area save for the Moors River which is, to say the very least, THE master of disappearance!
But firstly the Bad News - Moths.
All Firsts for the Year we have
 MULLEIN
 EARLY TOOTH-STRIPED
 V-PUG
SHOULDER STRIPE
Indicative of water-level, when the
 CANADA GEESE
can now stand on 'The Bar' at the Irrigation Pond then it is much reduced.
Last night's heavy rain may well have turned the tables again?
As is usual here during the winter months we have hosted at least c2
Little Grebes on a daily basis, except that is when the ponds freeze over.
Fortunately there has not be many of those during 2017,
so our tiny friends have been almost a daily occurrence.
 During that season they take on that fairly
 Drab Look
 before changing, in what seems to be just a matter of days
and as Danny Kaye would put it!
And he looked. and he saw, and he said
I am a Swan - Wheeeeee!
(That rich 'chestnut plumage')
Over those years one question has remained unanswered, even though 
suspicions have always been high, and that is
"do these Birds breed here"?
An indicator has been that during each Spring a pair has been present
and during each of these have been witnessed carrying what was
considered to be 'nesting material'.
However, these observations have only ever been made from the sanctuary of the
Strange Rover
for fear of disturbing the birds. Returning from our Scotland trip fairly recently we
were delighted to discover that more or less in the open and clear to view
the pair on the Gravel Pit were 
video
 Building a Nest!
There is also another pair on the Irrigation Pond seemingly thinking about it??
 It may be seen from these images that one individual (right) is
brighter than the other and is considered to be the male?
video
Since then an early morning watch has been kept on activities,
and it has been found that within a couple of minutes each side of
08:15 the presumed male embarks on a preening ritual (above),
video
before chugging at full tilt the length of the lake to 
video
video
Change Watches.
video
This routine has continued for a full 8 days now but, on the
22nd of the month there was something of a 'heart-stopper'
when arriving for the morning vigil.
Neither bird was sitting on the nest and over the following half hour,
scanning every inch of the lake, not one sign was seen of the
potential parents!!
After a further 15 minutes it was decided to take a look to see if the
eggs (presuming there had ever been any) had been predated, 
easily accessed from landward with the ground-level
affording a clear view down into the nest.
They were there alright, neat little ovate, creamy and white with the bottom of the
nest waterlogged and the eggs covered by a mat of damp vegetation.
This was both reassuring and something of a kick as only ever having
experienced the same once in my life before!
Having checked this out the only option now was to leave them to their
own devices and just hope for a return while continuing the rest of the daily prowl.
video
JOY of JOYS
as this was the scene on my return.
video
We now await the day when we might get lucky enough to see
c2 Little Humbugs
appear, and when/if they do we hope to record the moment for you delectation.
All else during those quiet watches included
video
GOLDFINCH
feeding on
video
GROUNDSEL
and the arrival of an
 unsuspecting
 GREY HERON
likely partial to a couple of eggs for breakfast!
Foot Note - we feel a 'pun' coming on!
It is doubtful if any of our Valued Readers could have forgotten that seminal moment during our Scottish Tour when my friend
Dave Foot 
(there what did we tell you) 
went off on another of his Moth Larvae Forrays.
He found these 
Pine Resin Galls
to bring back home and nurture to adulthood.
There was absolutely 'no doubt' in my mind (nor would there have been 
in the minds of those who know Dave) that success would soon follow!
We are so pleased to be able to report "that was the way of things" having resulted in these 
adult
 RETINEA RESINELLA
 Micro Moths and these Images.
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