Friday, 31 May 2013

31st May

We look all set for another wonderful weekend on the Avalon Marshes, the weather's looking perfect and the wildlife is out in force!

At this time of year there is an almost constant cacophony of sound coming from the reedbeds and pools, leaving nay visitors confused as to it's source. The culprit is calling Marsh Frogs, the largest European frog, though not  native to the UK. Marsh Frogs were introduced accidentally to kent in the early 1900's and have since spread across the country, living permanently in wet habitats, unline our native frog which spends most of the year on dry land.
Interestingly, there has been some debate over the identity of the frogs on the Avalon Marshes, with some herpetologists suggesting that they could actually be Edible, or maybe even Pool Frogs. Identification between the species seems to be somewhat difficult with individuals being highly variable.
Either way, they're a fascinating creature to have around, and being so loud they certainly make themselves an integral part of the landscape. There is also the added bonus that they provide a great food source for Herons, Bitterns, and Egrets, which goes some way to explaining why we have so many here.

The highlight of the day for me was seeing several Banded Demoiselles at Shapwick Heath NNR, the first ones of the year. None posed for a photo, but i'm sure i'll get something in the coming months, they really are a stunning little damselfly, one of my favourites.
Another Swift photo, still not quite got the shot i'm after

Great-crested Grebe
 The best bird of the day on the Avalon Marshes was an unseasonal male Hen Harrier flying west over Meare Heath, unfortunately I was at Ham Wall at the time.

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