Man Orchids and passage waders
Barnack is one of the more northerly outposts for Britain's scattered Man Orchid population, and they are relatively easy to find here from mid-May to mid-June. Despite a warm May, the spring still seems a tad late, and many of the 'men' were a good week short of their best over the weekend ...
Personally I think there's a real charm to what, from a distance, looks an almost weedy and ill-looking species. My mum's underwhelming reaction to them said it all! However, when you look closely, there's plenty going on here, with the dainty little 'men' bearing their helmets. Some were quite washed out yellow; others were much more hued.
Shorebird passage, like pretty much everything else this spring, has been both late and lightweight. The forecast rain and easterlies on Friday nevertheless promised, and duly delivered in the form of a quartet of Turnstones and a beautiful and genuinely red Knot at Deeping Lakes. However, the so-called 'wader pit' on my old patch at Baston & Langtoft Pits has been enveloped in water and now has minimal wader habitat available. That didn't stop Hugh Wright et al gripping me off with a stunning Temminck's Stint there on Bank Holiday Monday, by which point I was back in London. I've never seen Temminck's at BLGP and this was the second in three years at the site, following a brief bird that Mike Weedon had in May 2016.
In my humble opinion, there aren't many better birds than adult Mediterranean Gulls in full breeding regalia. Since mid-March, at least three adults (at least one pair and a lone individual, seemingly paired with a Black-headed Gull) have been seen around the Deepings area. I came across a pair today, showing extremely well on my old patch. Clearly they still haven't settled down to breed, but their courtship and vocalisations certainly suggested they were thinking about it.
Both were still present late this evening, again performing well for the camera. It became apparent when I reviewed pics that one of the birds has a metal ring on its right leg; it'd be fascinating to know where it's from. A female Ruff was also at BLGP evening, for its second day. Yesterday a very smart Wood Sandpiper was present, something of a surprise under the unbroken blue skies. Spring migrants are arriving in force and the whole site seems so verdant. It was great to hear three singing Cuckoos as well as Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler among the warblers.
The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.