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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Now you see me, now you don't!

On Sunday 22nd May, at Carlton Marshes, on an initially cloudy start the sun broke through and on the walk to Spratts water, the 5 dead bushes by the footpath I could hear the Grasshopper Warbler as usual but this time he was perched on the one 2nd in from the right and was singing from a perch 1/3 to 2/3 up in full but often partially obscured view. My first sighting of this species for several years. Walking to the area by Spratt's Water, 2 Reed Warblers seen and further along the path, really good to see Neville S and I walked back to show him the Gropper that was still reeling. A Willow Warbler showed briefly well. Half way down the path just past the 2 bare bushes by the dyke, I heard a plop go into the water it must have been a Water Vole (walking back later it did the same on the way back. A Cuckoo was heard and appeared to be in the western area of Spratt's water actually in the large very well foliaged tree right above me, the Cuckoo then flew out and soared down and out of sight. I saw a Sedge Warbler briefly. I met Chris M, good to see Chris too and we enjoyed first a Song Thrush singing from the overhead wires and then a Buzzard and a pale male Marsh Harrier both flying north. Walking back I broke off from Chris to look at Spratt's water and saw 2 Reed Warblers again. We saw up to 8 Hairy Hawkers patrolling the dykes and an early Wall Brown briefly alighted on the path as we started the walk back. At the car park, I met with Chris again and he said he had seen a Water Vole nibbling on a stem just path the right hand bend by the dyke. I walked back initially no sign although I enjoyed seeing the showy Grasshopper Warbler reeling from his favourite bush. Walking back I saw 3 people intently staring into the reeds they had a Water Vole and just left of a bramble stem going into the water partially obscured by 2 reeds was indeed a Water Vole nibbling on a reed stem with its claws, it spent around ten minutes doing this before leaning forward and plopping in to the water and completely out of sight. Walking back just past the bend were a pair of Mallard with ducklings 2 were bright yellow, another plop into the water must have been a 3rd Water Vole although not seen.

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