Monday, 29 June 2015

Summer terns up

I got a call from Bill this afternoon about the terns at Roswell Pits. He wanted to know exactly how many chicks there were, and I told him I thought I could see three on Friday, when I was leading a bunch of excitable school kids around the site, (and therefore not having my telescope to hand). 
Just to make sure, I thought I'd wander up and confirm this, and have a good look at them as well. At first I could only see two, but as the parents arrived with food, the third shuttled into view to join its screeking siblings. Their subtle plumage of powder grey and white, burnished on top with bronze and black-cap, was contrast to their raucous begging at the approach of fish, though there was not much squabbling between them. They're obviously well fed, and on this warm day they spent much of the time dozing, bills drooping on their chins.
Closer to me, a lone grebe bobbed gently on the sparkling water, preening as it turned in circles.
Near the bridge, three Chiffchaffs relentlessly sang , every few notes interspersed with a mid-summer stutter, and in the heat of the afternoon they perched high up- blending in with the Ash leaves, and not scuttling about as they do in Spring. Summer has finally settled, it seems, and only one short gust of wind arrived- a pleasant change as today the breeze was a salve rather than the bothersome interference of recent weeks. Down at the settling beds the dry song of Reed Warblers could be heard above the slight rustle of Phragmites, and three well grown Pochard ducklings dived constantly- emerging with silt-caked faces.