For our last Tuesday morning trip of this summer we went to the RSPB reserve at Northward Hill. We were joined by new members Sue and Ron. Julie and Chris also brought along their grandchildren, equipped with binoculars, nets, pots and hand lenses – in fact everything a good naturalist needs in the field. By the time we actually set off some of us had already seen a large group of whitethroats and 2 ravens. From the marshland viewpoint we could see that the fields were drying out due to the recent hot weather but a few lapwings and wildfowl were making the most of the remaining water.
Two little owls were spotted and evidently they had successfully nested nearby and a small party of blackcaps were seen feeding on the ripe elder berries. But we soon turned to even smaller wildlife and ruddy darters and migrant hawkers were frequent along the woodland edge. Later, back in the car park, Terry showed us a picture he had taken of a green damselfly. He thought it looked a bit odd. Grrrr. a willow emerald – which would have been my first at Northward Hill!
Dragonflies and damselflies are not easy to catch. For if this is not done carefully their wings can be damaged. But a few small creatures did find their way into the pots. Lesser marsh grasshoppers are abundant in the fields at Northward Hill. But I wonder what you actually make of one when you see your first at this age?
The temperature was rising rapidly but we did manage to get as far as the Heron View Point. No grey herons, of course, as they finished breeding some weeks ago but here we were very lucky to meet up with the reserve’s bird ringers.
The had just caught this juvenile green woodpecker. It was a local bird as it had already been ringed a few weeks ago. None of us had seen a green woodpecker this close before. To me it looked almost reptilian – like an archaeopteryx fossil that had come alive and jumped off its slab!
Thanks to everyone who joined us. It was good to have the children with us. I hope they enjoyed the trip. Thanks to Sally, Steve and Terry for the photographs.