• Teetering on the Brink, cool weather delays spring

    Just a reminder that the reserve is shut to all visitors and locked down for only essential management duties such as shepherding the livestock, however I've managed a few photo's during my brief visits and checks that the ponies and site are all ok, fed and watered. 

    Koniks enjoying some fresh water 

    The arrival of Spring has been as per usual from recollection of past ones been held back a little longer than…

    • 1 Apr 2020
  • Nature at Home (a guest blog)

    You may know that I did request people to write a guest blog to help keep everyone's spirits up in the current situation and for people to help me out a little, well here is the first blog from our neighbour Andrew who felt inspired to put 'pen to paper', a fascinating blog which I myself have learned a thing or two - I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did and hopefully it will inspire one or two of you, it doesn't even…

    • 27 Mar 2020
  • Isolation - lock down but not out, we will be back!

    Well most but maybe not all by from what I'm hearing have already heard about the national lock down, here on the Sands we closed our gates seven days ago and went into lock down knowing what was almost a certainty to come as it has now.

    Nobody knows how long it will take for the country to get back to how it was but its likely that we will be talking about months before the reserve re-opens rather than weeks. I…

    • 24 Mar 2020
  • A virtual update - spring is most defiantly here

    As many of you will already have heard unfortunately we have had to close the reserve due to Corona virus concerns mainly due to the issue of contamination within the hides and toilets of surfaces where the virus can survive for long periods. It was a difficult decision and not taken lightly, but we felt that without the long trails you have on other sites we could just not operate safely and without risk to visitors…

    • 19 Mar 2020
  • Sad to say the reserve is now closed for the foreseeable future

    Following the latest government advice we have made the difficult decision to close the reserve as at end of play today 18/03/2020. This is to prioritise the health and welfare of our staff, volunteers, supporters and members of the public.

    Its been a difficult decision for us as we know how much people enjoy visiting and seeing the fantastic birds and wildlife we have in Spring, it was not taken lightly.

    However, we…

    • 18 Mar 2020
  • Its alive! Spring floods brings an amazing bird bounty

    Our cup is certainly running over at the moment with yet another massive series of tides and currently most of the reserve paths flooded to above wellington height and therefore closed. However, we have endeavoured to keep the site open as Ousefleet hide is apart from at high tide, open and accessible along the bottom of the flood bank as indicated on the sign at the second entrance gate to the reserve. 

    Flooding up! Ousefleet…

    • 12 Mar 2020
  • Drunken by the Elvin cup

    Its certainly been an amazing last few days here on the reserve in terms of the beautiful spring weather but its also been an exciting time for the birds and wildlife. March is certainly one of my favourite months as it can bring so much diversity and also a mix of both winter and summer birds. 

    Last Friday though my 'highlight of the week'  was the discovery of a large colony of scarlet elf cup fungi as I was having…

    • 6 Mar 2020
  • Waders, waders waders, and quite a few wildfowl too!

    Well I think wet is an understatement for the marsh but then for us that's good! The past few winters have seen our habitats far too dry so its nice to have them wet for most of the winter, creating the wet and boggy habitats that makes the marsh come alive. No problems with the paths though, all are clear although the path up to Ousefleet is somewhat a little boggy at the moment so you'll need strong boots or wellies…

    • 25 Feb 2020
  • A February to Remember

    Mild, stormy, and wet both from the sky and on the tides, yet the the reserve has been outstanding this month with the wetland birds giving our habitat management the thumbs up by using both the lagoons and grazing marsh in impressive numbers. Time after time I've sat in Ousefleet hide in particular or looked from the field side gate and just thought 'fantastic' this is what large swathes of our countryside should be…

    • 18 Feb 2020
  • Reserve provides welcome shelter for wildfowl and waders in constant stormy weather.

    The last few days have really seen the weather almost boiling as the winds rage and squalls of rain filled clouds push constantly across the Humber landscape, but in many ways the scenes have been particularly beautiful and certainly the birding on site has been pretty good too with plenty to see from waders and wildfowl to birds of prey and passerines. Birding of course at its best is not always a fair weather pastime…

    • 12 Feb 2020
  • Close up and personal

    At times that's just what its felt like here on the Sands at times over the last few days with particularly over the weekend and Monday a fantastic 2800+ wetland birds using the lagoons and grazing marsh to roost and feed on. There's been plenty of variety too and the odd returning rarity with the green-winged teal returning from its brief holiday over at Weldrake Ings!

    Simply lots of birds!

    Green-winged teal…

    • 5 Feb 2020
  • Full steam ahead! A great end to January

    For the last three weeks we've really been tied up in the winter reed cut and there's no doubt about it I've not had much time to get out and about around the reserve, particularly when the sun is shining. But yesterday we finished and this morning I manged to get a quick look around site and get a better understanding of whats about, I certainly wasn't disappointed! 

    Lapwings in front of Ousefleet hide…

    • 30 Jan 2020
  • Stirrings of Spring and hidden corners

    Yesterday morning I walked out of the House in the early hours to be greeted by a distinct beautiful dawn chorus of robin's, song thrushes and blackbirds, consciously this is the first time I've noticed a distinct togetherness of song and it certainly gave me one of those small but welcome smiles that unexpected wildlife moments like this can often give.

    (And just to say at last the road works have finished so…

    • 25 Jan 2020
  • More Mild Please

    It very much seems that this current mild and soggy winter is suiting many of the reserves wetland birds with some nice numbers of ducks and now a few more waders about site.

    Xerox lagoon this morning - full of wigeon and teal 


    Certainly this morning the 7 marsh harriers were 'beating' up the wildfowl with 340 wigeon, 460 teal and a great supporting cast of

    • 14 Jan 2020
  • Mild weather suits the birds, mammals and fungi!

    With no sign of ice or snow down here along the Humber its certainly seems to be a case of suits you sir! No shortage of birds right across site but also it seems the mammals are becoming more active while with mild and damp there has been some lovely fungi to see along the trails. 

    Sunrise earlier in the week - there's been some real corkers this winter

    But before I start just to remind everyone that the road through…

    • 9 Jan 2020
  • A new year, a new decade and some fantastic birding!

    2020, who would have thought it! But the new decade seems to have just breezed in as the old one left with some outstanding birding on site, decent numbers of wildfowl, the odd rarity and some top general wildlife watching just to add that little extra to the day. 

    There have been some lovely evenings - I think these may be lenticular clouds - but I'm no expert so please correct me if I'm wrong!

    The raptors have…

    • 2 Jan 2020
  • Ten years of reflection - what a birding decade (If not a little quick!)

    I'll start with a brief summary of the last couple of days.............

    Well there's certainly been some great birding on the reserve over the last few days, yesterday there was the ringtail AND grey male hen harriers hunting around the reserve and a fantastic adult male merlin, add in lots of marsh harriers, barn owl, peregrine, buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk then it's been a bit of a raptor extravaganza.…

    • 24 Dec 2019
  • December - the month that just keeps on giving!

    Yes its dull and at times foggy and raining but at the moment it seems like December is the month that just keeps giving...............

    But don't always expect too much from the reserve! It is December after all and the weather can change the birding very quickly, but these mild conditions are at the very least ensuring the lagoons are staying clear of ice and this is allowing the wildfowl and waders to feed while…

    • 20 Dec 2019
  • December bringing in the changes

    Quite often December can be a little like groundhog day and I'm usually writing this sort of title in January, but there's certainly no doubt that after all the rarity excitement there has been a wee but notable change in the birds using the reserve triggered by the change in water levels and availability of food.

    Take the goldfinch that are suddenly managing to gain access to the Alder cones up at Ousefleet,…

    • 16 Dec 2019
  • A wealth of wildfowl and waders

    Just a quick blog today on what has been a stormy Tuesday. But over the last few days the birding has been maintaining its high standards with both the green-winged teal and Siberian chiffchaff putting in an appearance, three of the nine cranes returning to the area on Saturday being seen heading over Alkborough and then the Trent end of the reserve. There's also been a nice supporting cast when the weather has been nice…

    • 10 Dec 2019
  • December Crane Spectacular!

    Wow and wow again! What an amazing end to what has been an amazing year at the moment with yesterday a flock of nine spectacular cranes flying over the reserve and then over the reserve office allowing some breathtaking views of what must be one of the most enigmatic species in the UK. If it were spring time then maybe I'd have expected it but December, certainly not! 

    Cranes over the office!

    And one of the comments…

    • 5 Dec 2019
  • Red berries and winter thrushes

    With December sweeping in and a few cool days the winter thrushes have suddenly descended on the big hawthorn hedge that runs alongside the reserve that is laden with beautiful red berries. With about 300 fieldfare, a good number of redwing, blackbirds and song thrushes then its one of those winter events that I really look forward to with the clear skies and crisp temperatures making it all the more memorable. 

    A bit…

    • 3 Dec 2019
  • November ends on a high - GW teal and Siberian chiffchaff

    Its certainly been an interesting end to the month with a great range of top quality birds using the reserve and today at last the sun is shining! Nice too yesterday to see our familiar little friend the green-winged teal back on his favourite island in front of Ousefleet hide, however it is amazing that with his back turned you wouldn't know he was there!

    A few shots of the GW teal - it came about as close as I've…

    • 29 Nov 2019
  • Late Autumn Migrant Falls and Siberian flirtations

    After been away from the reserve for a few days due to meetings and winter roost counts of the pink footed geese it was despite the drizzle and grey overcast skies simply one of those superb November mornings when there was hundreds of birds to look through and as I found out plenty of interesting ones mixed in. 

    A few ducks at Ousefleet - its been consistently busy this Autumn

    So what had happened? Well from the species…

    • 27 Nov 2019
  • The Age of Discovery - Water pipits and Scandinavian rock pipits along the Humber

    Its certainly been an interesting last few days here along the Humber with as usual plenty to discover and plenty to ponder! And although our wetland birds have been fantastic as have our birds of prey it seems that its been the passerines that have just edged the headlines. Judge for yourself. 

    At this time of year there's often a few water pipits around site with at least two on Saturday one of which was feeding alongside…

    • 18 Nov 2019