Sunday, 10 June 2012

Washed Up

This morning I said a sad goodbye to Mark, our Springwatch camera-man. The programme's main control centre at the Ynys-hir RSPB Reserve, near Aberystwyth, has been evacuated due to floods. All of the web-cams are down and they will struggle to get the show back on air on Monday. You can follow events at the Springwatch website. It looks a total, soggy mess, but I'm sure they will get something going again. Iollo Williams has gone over there to lend a hand and our cameraman has gone to finish up the story of the peregrine family on a church in Bath where the chicks are about to fledge.

Mark managed to get some good footage of cormorants, herons and nightingales here so we may see Paxton on some BBC programmes later in the year. I have heard that they are doing a 60 minute Summerwatch programme soon. All the same, we are all really disappointed. I know Ray Matthews and Phil Smith put in a lot of time on this programme and a lot of you were really keen to see us on TV, but there will be another day.

How about some good news?

We made our second breeding bird survey early this morning and it was a glorious start to the day with a full turn out of counters and all of the routes covered. I don't have all of the results, but excited counters returned to say that they had seen the following wild wonders:

  • At least one fresh Norfolk Hawker dragonfly near Rudd Pit. Last year we had a male displaying in the corner of the Hayling Pit; perhaps he found a mate? This is a really rare species outside of The Broads.
  • A snake fly. This is like a stretched scorpion fly with a very long neck. I haven't seen one here before.
  • Several cuckoos calling and a pair mating on the Meadow trail.
  • Turtle doves and nightingale in Rory's Wood.
  • A family of tree-creepers emerged from a willow near Ray House Garden. 
  • A profusion of bee orchids joined our late flowering spotted orchids.

It was really nice to see the car park full before and people enjoying the reserve. I took some photos of the bank in front of the car park which looks the best it ever has with a host of wild flowers. Last year it was totally dead.

Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to the Visitors' Centre garden where the last of the turf has been laid, the drains levelled and the raised bed planted out. I think ranger Matt Hall and his volunteers have done a great job. This will give us a lot more room to hold events in future. If you are worried about the effect on wildlife, I can tell you tat we have quite a few great crested and smooth newts in the pond and both a toad and a grass snake were there last week. Dragonflies are laying their eggs in the pond today, so I guess it might be even better next year.