April 2010

displaying Magpie (Pica pica)

April was a month of mostly bright, settled weather so there was ample opportunity to get photos of the spring courtship and nesting activity of the resident species and a few of the first spring migrants.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) feeding its chicks

Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) & its chicks

Grey Herons begin nesting early, and by the beginning of April the chicks on many of the nests at Attenborough were almost fully grown.  Although the nests are reasonably close, getting a clear angle where there are not hundreds of branches getting in the way is not easy and you have to be patient to wait on the birds moving to a position where the branches are not obscuring them too much.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) chicks

subadult Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus)

At a slightly more distant nest, a subadult bird was attempting to steal nesting material from an occupied nest...

juvenile Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) defending its nest from a marauding subadult

It was initially prevented from taking any branches by the valiant defence of the nestling (above)...

adult Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) threatening an interloping subadult

...but it wasn't completely repelled until the adult bird returned a few minutes later.

adult Grey Heron (Ardea cinereus) repelling an interloping subadult from its nest

Elsewhere, Cormorants were also busy nesting.

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

subadult Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

In the middle of the month, the early spring migrants suddenly started turning up in numbers.  Shortly after a beautiful sunrise one misty Sunday morning, I was lucky enough to have a Grasshopper Warbler land on an exposed bramble branch only 8m in front of me and proceed to sing its insect-like, reeling song for a couple of minutes while I happily blasted off shot after shot in the perfect light.

Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)

Sunrise over Attenborough Nature Reserve

The common birds were also quite obliging throughout the month, including numerous Wrens, Robins, and Dunnocks...

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

As the temperatures began to rise, more and more insects began to emerge, including the bee-like hoverfly Eristalis pertinax which is always one of the first hoverflies on the wing in the springtime.

Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) getting ready to pounce on a small fly

March 2010 2010 Diary Index May 2010