Thursday, 10 September 2015

Gupton/Freshwater West this afternoon - yellow wagtail and marsh harrier

We went with Paul Culyer (NRW) to Gupton in search of bumblebees (notably for shrill carder bees). Whilst there we noted a very brightly marked yellow wagtail fly up the valley - disappearing from view before we could get much detail. It wasn't seen on the ground at all and so we're not sure of the race, only that it's underparts were very bright yellow and it seemed to be an adult.

Later on we noted a marsh harrier quartering the reed-bed in the distance. A couple of very distant poor record shots were obtained. Possibly better ones would have been had from the new observation shelter being constructed by the National Trust - now nearing completion.

Work on the observation shelter is nearing completion

Kestrels were very much in evidence. We reckon at least 8 hunting over the valley, one occasionally getting some grief from a local rook.

Passage wheatears were in the area - probably a dozen or so and a similar number of alba wagtails, including some white wags. Swallows were on the move, many feeding in the valley. Later on a couple of hundred starlings were perching on wires up the hill from Freshwater West - possibly they will have roosted in the Corse reedbed and probably many swallows too.

It was also nice to see quite a few common blue and several brown argus butterflies still on the wing. There were quite a few common darter dragonflies and a handsome migrant hawker was photographed at rest but, although there were moss carder bees and common carder bees, our search for shrill carder bees was fruitless today.