|The Cobham Hide|
There is always so much to do in the office that I am made to feel guilty about going out on the Reserve at all. Fortunately for me, Health and Safety trumps all, which means that I have to do the site checks at Paxton and at Barford Road Pocket Park in St Neots. On a day like today, that's no chore at all.
|Cormorants having a break.|
My first job was to attach a new cable to our bird-cam which has been focussed on our niger seed feeder. As that feeder was getting no action at all I pointed the camera at the fat balls and peanut feeders that are regularly visited by great spotted woodpeckers. Our nest-box camera was turned off after the blue tits lost their chicks.
For some time I have been trying to get a picture of our new hide, which is now named after David Cobham. It would be nice to have a view of it from across the lake, but the summer vegetation is just too dense. It will take a week or so for all of my cuts and scratches to heal and the resulting picture is not very good. I had a good look at the cormorant colony while I was there, hoping to see some sign of breeding egrets, but I haven't even seen one lately. The cormorants were very relaxed; mostly sitting around, bathing or drying off.
|Great Reed Warbler by Martin Davies.|
I met a lot a steady stream of birders coming towards me, some with cameras, others with telescopes, and some with both. The Great Reed Warbler that arrived two weeks ago is still singing at Washout Pit. I believe it is the only one in the UK and has almost no chance of finding a mate but you cant accuse him of not trying. He just never stops singing for more than a few minutes. Hearing him is not a challenge but getting a photograph is. A few people are lucky enough to get a view without having to wait but others have devoted a couple of hours and still not had a good view. Those birders come from all over the UK. They usually exchange notes and have a cup of tea at the visitor centre, and they spend money in the locality when they stock up on food and fuel. Some even stay the night locally. I think that this solo singing warbler must have earned thousands of pounds over the last two weeks.
Turning south along the Ouse Valley Way I could not help taking more pictures of the Chicken-of-the-Woods fungus that is growing on a willow near the moorings. It is just starting to fade now, but it still looks spectacular.
|Four spotted chaser.|
One of our most successful projects in recent years has been the construction of two tern rafts that are viewable from the Kingfisher Hide. Last year we had a pair of terns on each raft but this time we probably have over a dozen pairs. I hope we will add another raft next spring, perhaps closer to the hide. The Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve also hope to replace the Kingfisher hide itself.
I bumped into one or two oif our regulars who were photographing dragonflies. The best photo I saw was of a fopur spotted chaser, which has two spots on each wing. Also look out for scarce chasers that have small spots at the end of the wings. Both dragonflies are on the wing this week.
Please contact the rangers if you would like to donate to the Friends' Kingfisher Hide Project or if you would like to become a Voluntary Warden. firstname.lastname@example.org