Friday, June 20, 2014

Evening Delight!

Each year around this time Dee and I like to take in a night visit to Brandon Marsh and among other things we love to go searching for Glow Worms. These amazing and fascinating little bio-luminescent creatures are great fun to seek out. Females have unfortunately only a few weeks in which to attract a mate and lay eggs. After this, sadly they die. As well as attracting a mate, the glowing green abdomen is also a warning to predators to stay away.

The amazing bio-luminescent Glow Worm!
As ever we'd invited members of the conservation team and their wives to join us and began at the screen area which overlooks the Newlands reedbed. As most are now aware Brandon is once again playing host to a family of Barn Owls, fantastic news considering the appalling year they had in 2013. Jim had in fact ringed these birds a little earlier in the month and it was a real delight to see that all six original birds were practically fledged. As we stood mesmerised by the young birds one of the parents flew in and during our stay some of the young Kestrels, another nearby breeding success, could also be seen. A reeling Grasshopper Warbler, calling male Cuckoo and bubbling female were other highlights during our short stay.

Grainy image of four of the six Barn Owl young (taken almost in the dark!)
Having had Otters during last years visit to the Carlton Hide we were not as lucky this time around but enjoyed silhouetted views of a hunting Hobby over the treetops of the distant New Hare Covert. Chris Wiltshier was good enough to bring along his Bat detector and I was astonished to see how this excellent piece of kit performed. None of the team are Bat experts but judging by the frequency variation I would imagine that at least three or four different species were heard and seen!

Finally to the Glow Worms and I'm happy to report that we managed a reasonable eight examples, sadly down on the previous years but a real delight to go in search of and a first encounter for one or two of the attendees. Oh and yes, the call of a Tawny Owl echoed over the reserve as we departed not long before midnight.