Yes it is only early September but over the last few days both the weather and birds has really made it feel like Autumn has arrived early with pink-footed geese arriving in number, wigeon, pintail and shelduck moving west, teal numbers building up on the recently re-wet Ousefleet, swallows and martins moving south in earnest and this morning a discernible rise in the number of chiffchaffs and an arrival of goldcrests.
Pinkies from heaven! The early arrival is building by the day
However, not sure how many will feed around the reserve this year as the cereal stubbles have gone under the plough very early. I really do envy some of the wildfowl refuges in the USA that manage farmland for ducks, geese and cranes by leaving some accessible food within the cropped wheat and Maize fields
And there's other signs particularly with the Marsh harriers that were starting to communally roost yesterday evening, so keep an eye out for possible Montagu's harrier (not defiantly seen over the weekend) and maybe an early hen harrier. Other birds that are regular include buzzard, kestrel, peregrine, kestrel and still the odd hobby about.
Duck numbers are certainly increasing as many now feed on the shallow flooded Ousefleet flash but often rest and wash up on Marshland and Xerox lagoons, watch out for the garganey that's been regularly seen including yesterday evening, also the odd pintail now and then building numbers of shoveler, gadwall, mallard alongside about 1000 greylags that regularly commute over the lagoons. There were also one morning two Egyptian geese in with the greylags and a visitor report of a common crane - maybe the one that ended up at Weldrake?
Teal on Marshland with ruff
Greylags in the stubble
Mystery duck from this morning - I'll do a bit of research and come back to you on this little fence jumper, somewhere I think I know what it is just need to check
Wader migration as with the rest of the country has been slow but we've still got a reasonable showing of species and numbers including this morning a few more dunlin (alsways a good carrier species that attracts other interesting small waders), also plenty of ruff, spotted redshank, greenshank, green sandpiper, snipe, ringed plover, curlew, black-tailed godwit, avocet, redshank, lapwing and a few fly over golden plover as well as single bar-tailed godwit west with curlew and calling whimbrel somewhere high up! However, with the northerlies it looks like the knot may have now eventually departed - was it just the weather holding em down?
Redshank (left) with two knot
The curlew are still roosting on an evening on Marshland but now also on Ousefleet flash
Spotted redshank making the most of the fast disappearing water on Singleton - it won't be until the late September tides that this lagoon re-floods (that's if the tides are big enough too!)
With the lower high tides we don't seem to be getting the spoonbills at the moment, however there are lots of water rails around the edges of the lagoons and still a few little egrets feeding in front of Ousefleet screen.
Water rail at First lagoon - they are pretty easy to see at the moment!
Little egret Ousefleet screen
Passerines haven't been too bad really with the Autumns 1st wheatear mid week and then regular sightings of whinchat, very nice yesterday evening to have 75 yellow wagtails fly over Ousefleet hide on their way to roost and certainly there are lots of meadow pipits, goldfinch, linnets about - all probably on their way south. Question is when will be the first siskins and redpolls?
A very pale wheatear on Ousefleet enjoying insects from the harrowed ground
Whinchat near the Koniks
Also on the move are the last whitethroats, willow warblers and a few reed warblers with one giving a bit of song this morning, but gradually their place is being taken by chiffchaffs and goldcrests. As per usual the Cettis warblers are still singing but also notably the bearded tits are starting to become vocal, I always reckon on about the 10th September as a date when the beardies start to begin to erupt and with the cooling temperatures I suspect the next fine day will bring attempted irruptions!
Whitethroat - there has been a noticeable passage
Although creeping thistle is the bane of my life when it comes to managing the grassland under Countryside Stewardship it is rather good for wildlife, including at the moment goldfinch.
A few people have been asking how our two Konik ponies who had laminates this spring are, well certainly one recovered very well but one got complications with abscesses in its front feet which gave us a lot of worry about his future, however after a good foot trim by the farrier and a lot of TLC I'm pleased to report he's now getting back to his own feisty character - seen having a bit of a fight last week with one of the other ponies.
And lastly I'll finish on a picture of the beautiful purple loosestrife in Horseshoe meadow
Spotted crake relocated on singleton this morning, feeding with water rails in small bay director in front of of the hide at twelve o'clock
Great to see the first hen harrier of the year tonight, also yesterday spoonbill so still plenty to see with new birds arriving and passing through constantly
Just reported on bird guides - spotted crake on Singleton and also curlew sandpiper!
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