Friday, 8 June 2012

Wildlife Updates

As many of you may have discovered this half term week if you can brave the wet and windy weather there is plenty to see at Knettishall Heath at the moment, as the reserve is just bursting with wildlife. The wettest April for many a year with a mixture of the hot spells we've had in between has allowed the vegetation on the reserve to flourish. If you leave more than a week between your visit you will be rewarded by that sight you only get in Spring and Autumn when so much has changed in such a short space of time. The river in particular is very changeable with this rain as reed and bank vegetation start to ease the flow on drier days. Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) is starting to flower (pictured) and can be seen between now and August, whilst sunny days will reward you with the first damselflies and dragonflies on the wing.

Spot the Tree Creeper fledgling!

Of course it is not only the flora having a busy few weeks; birds are in their full breeding season now and many species are at different stages of nest building, laying, rearing and fledging. Some such as the Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) nesting on one of the buildings on site are having difficulties getting enough food to their young with this extremley wet weather. Along with many other passerines (perching or song birds), a large part of the chicks diet is caterpillars from the tree canopy, which consequently get washed to the ground away from ther foraging sites in heavy rain.

 I also caught site of a rather soggy but successfully fledged group of Tree Creepers (Certhia familiaris) this week. Once out the nest they were moving through the woodland sticking close to each other by constant calling so that the parents could still regularly find and feed the young. The young themselves were already displaying the chracteristic Tree Creeper behaviour of flying to the bottom of each tree then slowly moving up it looking for insects, (never moving down, the complete opposite of the Nuthatch) and were a joy to watch, even in the rain!

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