Its a noisy place, once you stand still a while and listen. And I’m standing still’ish for three to four hours at a time. Watching marsh harriers. Hoping to work out where they are making their nests and what they are eating.
This morning I’ve been watching a stunning male pottering along real slow, a metre or two above the grasses, totally defying gravity! He chased a few reed buntings for a while. Watching the chase was thrilling, though watching them caught for breakfast may not be so attractive. So far they’ve outwitted him.
Whilst watching him, a toad has been busy croaking away. Yesterday I watched this toad make several advances towards another (toad). He was aggressively rejected each time.
A snipe is flying around drumming. A noise I’ve heard in the past, but never understood what it was. His drumming is part of his aerial display, to catch the ladies! Its not actually a vocal call. The sound comes from air vibrating through his spread outer tail feathers as he flies around. Amazing! And he’s flying around and around up above me.
I can also hear ducks, geese, pheasant, and the amusement arcade-like sounds from the lapwing. Yesterday I watched and heard a bittern booming in full day-light. The cheek of him.
Tonight I went back to the same part of the reserve to listen and learn which nocturnal birds there may be. Hoping to hear some calls of returned (from Africa) corncrakes. I heard a spotted crake whistling, a bittern booming, and a snipe drumming. Backing vocals came from hundreds of ducks, geese and waders. What wonderful music. So much life in one place, its truly incredible.
Alas, no corncrakes crexing just yet.
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