Spring arrivals and passage, of Warblers, was good in April with decent numbers of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler arriving to breed on the Farm. Grasshopper Warbler numbers appear down; I have only heard reeling in 3 locations this year – the farm normally holds at least 6 pairs. A notable omission this year is Lesser Whitethroat – there has been at least one on the reserve every year for the last 5. It is also good to see Stonechat breeding on the reserve – first fledglings reported on 22 May.
Marsh Harrier (male and female) have been reported sporadically all spring and early summer. Our first Hobby was seen on the 22 May. On the 25 May the annual Red Kite passage took place with a maximum count of 17 meandering over the Farm. There is a healthy resident population of Buzzard and Sparrowhawk on the reserve with Kestrels frequenting from nearby breeding sites.
All the usual hirundine species (Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin and Swift) had been recorded by the end of May. There were at least two (I think 3) Cuckoo on site until the end of June; I have not seen or had reports of any young ones. Notable passerines were: 2 Hoopoes on the 24 April; Tree Pipit on the 3 and 4 May; Pied Flycatcher on the 8th May and a steady trickle of Wheatear.
Without doubt the best report of this period was one that I somehow missed until I went down to collect the logs for this report! That was 2 Nightjar, seen and heard, on the 5th July! They were reported at 5am and could be seen around the car park. These are only the second record for the reserve; therefore I went down, with a mate, one night the following week. It was good to see 2 Ban Owls and hear a Tawny Owl and just as it got dark we heard the unmistakable “churring” of a Nightjar. My friend located it visually and we managed to watch it hunting for a short while. Do an internet search for the call of this fantastic bird and if you are out and about on the Lizard listen out for it at dusk and dawn (between early June and late August). Nightjar photograph courtesy of Steve Jones (thanks Steve – fantastic capture).
It has been an excellent year for Adders – I even found a very young one, on the 2nd July, which may have been born this year – making it a very early birth as they normally arrive in early August. I think it is a female due to the brown zig-zags and she was about 4 inches long; here she is – look how milky her eyes are:
Red Veined Darters are on the wing and there has also been a few Marsh Fritillaries seen. There are also deer tracks all over the reserve and there have been a few sightings of Roe Deer.
Published: Aug 2016
Author: Dougy Wright