Today I returned to Tophill. My primary targets were the otters, but the only one I “saw” actually sped past me under water, leaving a trail of bubbles as it brushed the submerged weeds. It didn’t surface until almost out of view! So much for that.
It wasn’t a total loss at North Marsh, as I was able to see two Water Voles and three Wood Mice that seem to have taken up residence under the hide. Both could have made tasty snacks for the Otter!
My next planned targets were the Barn Owls, so off I went to North Scrub and Hempholme Meadows to see if I could find the resident pair. As the weather was fine it was almost a given that I would find at least one bird. As it was, both the male and female birds were out and about looking for mice and voles for their fast growing brood. They gave me some great views.
After a cup of tea it was on to the south end of the reserve. The next target species was a Grass Snake. The weather was just perfect – a chill wind with intermittent sunshine from the breaks in the cloud. As expected there were a number of snakes of different sizes sunbathing on the various hay bales placed around the reserve. Some were a bit sluggish, but others that had really warmed up zipped off into the undergrowth as soon as I was spotted.
On the path to Watton I found a number of tiny Common Toads. Had they not moved I probably wouldn’t have seen them, and covered them with my size ten’s. Part of this year’s spawning, I couldn’t help wondering how many would escape the intentions of the Grass Snakes and survive to breed next year.