Lower winds and a break in the recent period of unsettled weather saw me return to South Milton again this morning. The day started with a sighting of an animal running ahead of the car down the access road to the reserve. From a distance I had thought to myself “that cat has a very fat backside” but as I got closer realised that it was actually a young badger.
I had decided to start by the ringing hut at the seaward end of the reserve as the net rides there are easier to maintain with increased salinity stopping anything but phragmites from growing. Previously, soft mud had prevented safe access but the ground had firmed up and the rides were quickly cleared of sprouting reeds. It was just as I finished this work that I heard a strange rushing noise in the reeds. Increasing in volume and apparently heading straight towards me, it was unlike anything I have heard there before. As it reached a crescendo two adult Roe Deer dashed across the net ride and they and the sound faded away into the distance as quickly as they had arrived.
The ringing was not particularly productive so, after two hours, I packed up and transferred to the eastern end of the reserve. It wasn’t much better here. The colder weather during the latter half of May seems to have impacted on the timing of the breeding season and fledglings have yet to appear. There were plenty of adult birds carrying food though so hopefully breeding has been delayed rather than disastrous. Highlight of the day was two new Reed Buntings. Final total: 18 birds – 1 Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Great Tit, 2 Reed Bunting, 7 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler and 3 Wren.