It’s that time of year. The clocks have gone back and the leaves are well and truly falling. I see the evidence of this every time I get in my car at the reserve and its covered. But it does mean the landscape is awash with colour and the dabbling ducks are too.

After yesterdays downpour the weather has perked up and promises to be fine for the next few days at least. Which is great news for those planning on coming to the reserve for the harrier roost.

Warden Mike was at the reserve last night – after the rain had stopped – and reported the first goldeneye of the season. Sadly no pics but good to hear. The immature Scaup was still around too. Just to confuse us it’s been moving around the reserve with sightings from Singleton, Townend and Marshland, spending perhaps most time at Ousefleet congregating with the flocks of teal, shoveler, mallard and gadwall.

Photo by volunteer Barry Bishop.

Gadwall playing peek-a-boo.

Widgeon amongst the teal.

Shoveler have been looking very resplendent at the moment as they complete their moult.

Shoveler on Xerox

There’s been a plethora of passernine birds at or passing through the reserve too. Stuff like Brambling was seen yesterday taking advantage of the feeders with the tree sparrows, brilliant to see but why oh why do they always appear when I haven’t got my camera strapped across me? One of life’s conundrums.

Solid sightings of redpoll, redwing, fieldfare and siskin have also been reported.

With the weather set to stay fine for a few days at least maybe I can chase one down!

As I whizzed quickly round the reserve this morning I did at least see a greater spotted woodpecker playing hide and seek amongst the trees between Townend and Singleton hides. Our volunteer Barry caught this image a day or two ago. Keep your eyes peeled on the drainage ditch too – kingfisher was reported to have flown down it.

Photo by Barry Bishop

Perhaps the most spectacular sight this week has been the “harrier roost”. Warden Mike was at Singleton yesterday evening where he counted 15 marsh harriers, a merlin and a ring tail hen harrier. Guess who’s staying around tonight!

Kestrel and sparrow hawk have been regular sightings too.

Kestrel hunting around the reserve.

Warden Mike also spotted a 20+ whooper swans heading south which must have been quite a sight. These mute swans were lo9oking for a sheltered spot yesterday. The youngsters were following the adult around for most of the day. They are so graceful flying.

Pair of little grebe enjoying the morning sun.

My favourite spot this week though has to be the weasel that decided to have a playful half hour in front of reception hide last Friday. I caught this before the documentary that was on tv the other night. As cute as they may be they have an awesome bite – pound for pound this little creature puts any lion to shame – and talk about fast!


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RSPB Blacktoft Sands and the Humber