• 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
  • Friday update - a very wet affair

    It seems like the rain is never going to relent at the moment with the local area getting another pasting yesterday of almost biblical proportions. But of course rainfall doesn't close Blacktoft its only tidal flooding and currently the tides are nowhere near high enough to have an effect.

    Here's a graph from the farm next door showing how wet its been - but still not as wet as 2012 apparently! 

    It has created…

    • 15 Nov 2019
  • A Lull in the Rain Travel Update.

    Its been a rainy few days in our neck of the woods but thankfully it hasn’t really affected the reserve too much apart from the odd puddle here and there. The reserve only really floods when we get a series of really high tides which inundates onto the reserve. All the trails are accessible and no need for wellies at the moment.

    What is affecting us slightly is the road closures in the area. Just to clarify a little…

    • 13 Nov 2019
  • Travel News – Open as Usual.

    **Road Closure Announcement**

    From Monday November 11th East Riding of Yorkshire Council will be closing local roads in the area which will affect people travelling to the reserve.They have assured us that access to the reserve will not be restricted. Visitors to the reserve are advised to check travel arrangements before setting off.

    The essential repairs will be happening on the C48 unnamed road between the North Lincolnshire…

    • 10 Nov 2019
  • Slavonian grebe on Singleton lagoon!

    Just a quick update - A great find by our Warden Mike of a Juvenile Slavonian grebe this afternoon on Singleton lagoon, it was really enjoying the sticklebacks and shrimps by the looks when I went to have a look so lets hope it stays around for tomorrow. 

    Its always nice to see scarce grebes - the last record of slavonian was would you believe it way back in 2011 - On Singleton!

    Also about on site today was the long…

    • 8 Nov 2019
  • Roost News…

    At last I’ve managed to see my first harrier roost and it was impressive. Sadly the light levels made it difficult to photograph but it was a spectacle non the less.

    I counted at least 12 Marsh Harrier (which I never get bored of watching) and I would have been happy at that. But then I caught sight of a ring tailed hen harrier coming in across the reed bed at singleton from over towards Alkborough. Happy with that…

    • 6 Nov 2019
  • 64,000 waterfowl and rising!

    That's the amazing number of waders, ducks and geese birds that have been counted using our fantastic Upper Humber refuges during October and November this year and certainly shows just how important our network of reserves are along this amazing bird filled estuary. 

    A view from Townend lagoon this summer with a range of waders ducks, herons and spoonbills......

    And it really hit home on Sunday when me and my partner…

    • 5 Nov 2019
  • Wetland doing what a wetland should do!

    Its certainly been a wet old Autumn here on the Humber with record September and now October rainfall figures along with lots of high tides that have flooded across the reserve, but of course for the habitats and the wetland birds this excess of water does nothing but good! It soaks into the soil and floods across areas bringing in food and creating the right conditions for many wetland species to thrive. 

    Water water…

    • 31 Oct 2019
  • Green-winged teal appears as if by magic

    Well I did write the following in my blog last week!

    'Teal numbers are building too with 1000 last night - lets hope the green winged teal that was at Reads Island works its way up the estuary but then as the teal moult out there could be another one lurking'

    And as if by magic one was found yesterday on Ousefleet where it was still present this morning showing off right in front of Ousefleet hide allowing the…

    • 28 Oct 2019