• A False Spring?

    At last this morning there was a bit of mid-winter sunshine to warm the heart and with it a few signs of spring across the reserve's lagoons with mallards chasing each other and greylags pairing up and looking for potential nest sites. 

    Townend lagoon with a range of wildfowl this morning

    With the current mild weather the lagoons are holding a good selection of dabbling ducks but with our shallow water levels no diving…

    • 15 Jan 2019
  • The bar is now set for 2019! Great-white egret

    Well its been a bit of a funny old start to January but today it was great to hear from our regulars Tim and Si Jump that they had the locally wintering great-white egret drop into Xerox lagoon for ten minutes. Maybe not the rarity they once were but still an excellent bird to get 2019 off to a great start, and also this morning there was another bird that only a year or two ago would have been a bit of a site rarity…

    • 8 Jan 2019
  • A festive seasonal summary

    Well happy new year to everyone and lets hope 2019 is a good a year as the last here on the Sands, I decided to have a bit of a blogging rest over the Christmas period and instead get myself out into the country air and go and find some nice wildlife and birds around the local area! So here's a summary of what was seen over the Christmas break and a bit of information on what work we have already started for the new year…

    • 3 Jan 2019
  • Christmas eve excitement

    What could be better than an early Christmas present in the form of some fantastic birds and wildlife which is exactly what I got this morning when I peered through the gloom at what I thought was a cormorant diving for fish on Xerox lagoon. 

    As you can hopefully see from this short video it was in fact an otter busily fishing for its breakfast! (reminder - must go for eyes testing!)


    • 24 Dec 2018
  • The Shortest Day - Winter Solstice and moon corona

    Today being the Winter Solstice often seems like a watershed in the natural calendar when over the coming weeks we again have just that little bit more light and time to enjoy the wildlife. Today it was certainly a dark start especially as the light drizzle shrouded the reserve in mist, however the birds and wildlife didn't really seem to mind with a nice selection of birds, mammals and an amazing continued emergence…

    • 21 Dec 2018
  • It just wouldn't be Christmas without the Turkey tail!

    Over the last couple of weeks the weather and surrounding habitats of the reserve have suddenly become a bit damper and this coupled with the mild December we are currently having means there has suddenly been a noticeable revival of emerging fungi here on the reserve, after what had been a very poor autumn due to the continued drought conditions.

    Some very 'seasonal' Snowy waxcaps underneath the ash trees in…

    • 19 Dec 2018
  • A working week - bird conservation in action

    Its certainly been a diverse working week if nothing else with the team delivering plenty of work around our Humber reserves but also a good chance to see some of the results of work that we did in the summer bearing fruits. 

    Lets start with the area of bird friendly food that was set on local farmland, unfortunately not in a place that is visible but certainly delivering for the local farmland birds with yesterday counts…

    • 14 Dec 2018
  • Raptor roost festive fun

    Apologies for the late blog this week, work always goes completely crazy at this time of year and the last few days has certainly been no exception. So its going to be a quick and a little out of date blog but hopefully it will give you a flavour of what to expect on your visit.

    The winter sunrise is all I've been seeing of the reserve this week as I drive past!

    Certainly over the weekend the raptor roost watches…

    • 12 Dec 2018
  • Return of the grey ghost

    Well the weather is certainly if nothing up and down at the moment with rain, then frost and then rain again, not that we don't need some rain and frost though as I'll talk about a bit later. 

    Firstly though its good to report the appearance of our first adult male hen harrier back on the reserve who can occasionally be seen along with the ring tail. First seen last Friday he's been at times showing pretty well…

    • 5 Dec 2018
  • Close up curlew enjoys the worms on Ousefleet

    Its always nice to see lots of different birds but this morning the star of the show was undoubtedly for me a single curlew on Ousefleet. So whats all the fuss about a single curlew? Well apart from being a Red listed species this lone curlew was lovely and close to the hide and allowed some great and very natural views of it happily and unconcernedly feeding on some juicy little worms.

    And as the video now seems to be…

    • 30 Nov 2018
  • Its All-White

    Well maybe not all quite white but it was very nice to see this lovely white lapwing this morning on the reserve, it was flighty but I managed to take a snap or two down at Singleton lagoon. Leucistic birds are often the norm, that is birds with some of their plumage white instead of the usual colour, however albino birds are much more unusual and tend to have pink eyes which this birds seems to have in the photo's. There…

    • 27 Nov 2018
  • A Tempestuous Tuesday

    Well it really looks like winter is finally arriving today with a cold easterly wind and at times driving rain, but the lagoons and waterfowl really needed the wetland to become a bit wetter so in many ways its time we left these drought conditions behind! 

    Still plenty to see despite the wind driven rain at times seeping through the hide windows with our little female kingfisher using the shelter of the ditch at Xerox…

    • 20 Nov 2018
  • November hits the heights, siberian chiffchaff, hawfinch, show off water pipits and a swift with a white rump!

    Well the blog is back and hopefully you have managed to find us! Its been typical really the blog is updated for a week or so and the birding goes completely crazy! I'm not really sure where to start or if I can do the last week justice but I'll give it a good go! As its the first blog since the change over there may be a few teething problems so please bear with me especially if the pictures aren't quite the right size…

    • 15 Nov 2018
  • Eek Eek, its a brambling invasion year!

    With a bit of continental influence and easterly winds & high pressure over Europe over the last few days there has certainly been some interesting movement of birds through the reserve with the most notable sighting being a Siberian chiffchaff which has been present for the last two days (seen between Xerox and Marshland hide this morning). Although still classed as a race of chiffchaff these lovely little warblers…

    • 6 Nov 2018
  • A frosty start to November

    It seems like quite a few years since this time of year has brought Ice to some of the lagoons, but that's what greeted me on this cold, crisp but beautiful morning in early November, is winter upon us? But despite the conditions there was plenty to see and the visible migration over the site was on good form with bramblings, chaffinches, siskins, yellow hammers and redpolls all going south on a broad front. They…

    • 2 Nov 2018
  • Stars and stripes Green-winged teal

    Amazing really that yesterday morning a green-winged teal turned up on Xerox lagoon, amazing because last year a green-winged teal turned up on the 14th November not more than ten meters from the exact spot! It of course seems logical to suspect that it may be the same bird but then never assume birds do anything we would assume! The bird stayed all day but we couldn't find it first thing this morning but then as its…

    • 30 Oct 2018
  • Close encounters of the Hen harrier kind!

    Apologies for the double blog today but after writing in my earlier blog that I'd post a better fieldfare photo up so here you go. I was sat in the van on my way to do a bit of work alongside the reserve so could get a bit closer. 

    What I didn't expect as I was taking the above photo was this fantastic five minute encounter with our adult female hen harrier which flushed the fieldfares and then continued to hunt…

    • 26 Oct 2018
  • Winter's about to arrive!

    And it seems like the birds certainly know about it with fieldfare pouring through site, lapwings and golden plover arriving and up to six whooper swans often feeding in the fields next to the reserve. 

    Whoopers and greylags

    Plenty of other birds and wildlife to see too with the resurgence of wader numbers continuing to impress with a nice late October count of 66 ruff on Singleton this morning and 50 (red listed)…

    • 26 Oct 2018
  • Whoopers hoovering up the beet

    The last couple of days has certainly seen a chill in the wind here on the Sands and accordingly it seems that the birds are reacting to the onward march of Autumn into Winter. For me its always the Whooper swan passage at this time of year that makes it particularly special and they are certainly not disappointing with small and large herds passing south towards their main wintering ground in East Anglia.


    • 24 Oct 2018
  • A golden autumn

    Just a quick blog and then a few pictures tonight as its been a long day and time has just about run out!

    Highlights of the last three days

    Water pipit (On singleton today), hen harrier, kingfisher, merlin, short-eared owl, barn owl, pink-footed geese, ruff, black-tailed godwits, green sandpiper, spotted redshank, water rails, bearded tits irrupting, stonechats galore, a couple of fly through whooper swans, 3000+ golden…

    • 20 Oct 2018
  • The day it rained harriers from heaven!

    Last night after the rain had eventually stopped the skies started to clear and bring on an Autumnal chill as we all were sat in Singleton hide for the raptor roost watch. I had been already told that the marsh harriers had hung around site for much of the day and we had certainly just experienced some great views of them at Ousefleet where they had been constantly buzzing the wildfowl only an hour beforehand. 


    • 16 Oct 2018
  • Halcyon days!

    October always seems to be a great time here at Blacktoft to see kingfisher particularly along the lagoon feeder ditch that runs in front of the hides. The team have put a few extra perches up for its use especially in front of reception hide where even on windy rainy days birds can get out of the poor conditions and fish right in front you. The last couple of days certainly haven't disappointed with what I suspect is…

    • 12 Oct 2018
  • Jack snipe, pintail, hen harrier, fieldfares and reed warbler - winters arrived before summers left!

    Well it certainly seems that bird wise if not necessarily weather wise winter is gradually arriving with plenty of wildfowl and a build up of golden plover and lapwings signaling that at last the seasons are changing. Of course it's not really the weather here in the UK that pushes these birds to our shores, it is the temperature where they are coming from that often dictates their movement from colder climes, so maybe…

    • 9 Oct 2018
  • Hen harrier sighting and old foxy develops a sweet tooth

    Again just a quick blog today ready for the weekend as again its been a busy week of practical work and report writing that's just flown by! Not too many photo's either as I've mostly been working away from site.

    Main headlines are a ringtail hen harrier was seen late yesterday afternoon from Singleton hide, two kingfishers were also present and then late on a mystery small stint like wader flew in and back…

    • 5 Oct 2018
  • The autumn winds of change

    The last week has certainly seen the wind of change blow through the reserve with the winter birds now replacing our summer migrants, pink-footed geese, whooper swans passing through, the first stonechat and over 1300 teal today feeding on Marshland lagoon while today it was the NNW wind that brought another immature gannet this time heading west and 'vaulting' over the pylons at Ousefleet.

    This Googa gannet…

    • 2 Oct 2018