Beauty and Beasts – Drama in the Reed Beds

The sun has brought all sorts out this past week and the lack of rain has caused the water levels to fall, generating a maze of newly created microhabitats, these mini wetlands will be full of food for a range of wildlife found on the reserve. The number of shorebirds has surged in the past few days, in Manton Bay we’ve had reports of snipe and godwit, and over at Egleton there has even been a glossy ibis.

Snipe (Anna Douthwaite)

Barn Owl seen in Manton Bay (John Smallman)

In the bay it’s not the ospreys which have been drawing attention, but what lies beneath the nest in the reed-beds, sometimes it pays to look down…. The incident was described to me by volunteer Anna Douthwaite, who also provided the photos. It was a normal Sunday morning with a bright sun and blue sky, the visitors and volunteers in the hide were treated to some lovely views of ospreys, joined soon enough by a snipe (see above), fox and beautiful grey heron.

Fox having a drink (Anna Douthwaite)

grey heron (Anna Douthwaite)

The day then took a darker turn, the heron picked its way through the reed bed, suddenly it stopped, the bird had found its prey, sadly it was one of the water voles that have been frequenting Manton Bay. The little vole put up the fight of its life and at one moment looked as though it could have got away, unfortunately, it was all in vain and before long the vole was gone.

found it’s prey (Anna Douthwaite)

(Anna Douthwaite)

almost got away (Anna Douthwaite)

(Anna Douthwaite)

Caught (Anna Douthwaite)

As for the ospreys the week as been much less eventful, the two chicks are still enjoying the shade of the poplar trees. We have been provided with some beautiful photos from John and Carol Smallman of the chicks and the adults enjoying the weather.

3AU lifts off from nest ( John Smallman)

3AW ( John Smallman)

3AW in flight ( John Smallman)

3AW lands on nest ( John Smallman)

3 AW (John Smallman)