It’s been an exciting week here at “the Sands”. Earlier in the week we had the harrier triple (see Pete’s blog) of Montagu’s, Hen and Marsh – of course I missed the first two but, still, you’ve got to love the Marshies!

Then a spotted crake appeared and kept people busy by merging in with the water rail. Stuart (one of our assistant wardens) counted 7 water rails as he spent the early evening scouring to see the spotted crake (it didn’t reappear that evening). It’s been around most days this week and has been reported this morning.

I managed to see it a couple of days ago down the middle channel at Singleton. I managed this rather poor shot but it was rather distant (I know I must improve my aim!).

It’s difficult at a distance to make out the difference between the spotted Crake and water rail (especially juvenile rails) but I had the advantage of a couple of experienced birders with big scopes next to me who assured me I was looking at the right bird.

We’ve had amazing numbers of water fowl on the reserve this week and this morning was no exception. Teal have been especially numerous (I counted over 700 this morning and that’s a conservative estimate). It’s quite a spectacle when a Marsh Harrier floats over and spooks them.

There’s been a plethora of waders hiding in plain sight amongst the teal all week, keeping us on our toes. Excitement has built by the presence of Curlew Sandpiper this week with several sightings but has so far eluded my lens.

Others hiding amongst the water fowl includes redshank :-

Lapwing and Ruff

And even a more conspicuous Avocet

There’s been plenty of other waders too like this Black Tailed Godwit :-

A good number of dunlin (I counted 12 in a small flock moving around the reserve earlier)

Green Sandpiper:-

Snipe (possibly my favourite – they’re so cute!)

And Ring Plover :-

Surprisingly I even managed to catch a shot of a Reed Bunting (well I was surprised!).

Later on in the day it has been amazing to see the sky full of grey lag flying over. It’s a fantastic sight but even better to hear the chattery gaggle of pink footed geese flying over. Surely a sign of the changing seasons. As the waders diminish down their respective migration routes I feel sure the number of waterfowl is set to increase.

I’ve already noticed some of the mallard are beginning to come out of eclipse and there have been several sightings of pintail to peak your interest.

Finally it was great to these  2 young little grebe still darting around the lagoon through the viewing hide at Ousefleet.

If you haven’t already you might want to follow us on Twitter. It’s the media we mainly use to update throughout the day. If we see something unusual Twitter is where we’ll announce it first!

Search @Blacktoft_Sands – you can message us live here as well. We’ll reply as soon as we are able.

Alright so that was almost my traditional end of gratuitous advertising – happy birding!

  • Fantastic following on from yesterdays pec sand there is LITTLE CRAKE on the amazing marshland lagoon at the moment while the spotted crake at Singleton (best viewed between 8 and 9am - and yes the reserve will be open early for the next few days).