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 involved it was quite clear that there had been a fall of Scandinavian migrants particularly thrushes with the hedges hooching with continental blackbirds (the first real numbers I've seen this year), 350 fieldfares and many redwing flocks dilly dallying around before continuing on their journey west. The mix also included chaffinches, siskin and the first woodcock of the year that flew obligingly past me and allowing some decent views.
And fieldfares lining the ash trees
presumed continental blackbird - one of the many hundreds in the local area today
It was also nice to locate the Siberian chiffchaff (an eastern race of chiffchaff) that had been reported on Sunday, calling away near to reception it showed well as it worked its way down towards Townend. Its the second year in a row we've had Siberian Chiffchaff in November, either people are getting better at identifying them or they are getting more frequent like yellow-browed warblers, I suspect they are becoming more common with quite a few reported around the country recently.
Sibe chiffy - the light wasn't the best but some of the pictures are better than others
A minimum of 23 of pied wagtails were feeding on the arable field next to Ousefleet with a few meadow pipits and this bird that I suspect is a Scandinavian rock pipit although unfortunately the dull weather made for a poor quality photo despite it being quite close in to the bank. Also a nice little flock of linnets around the car park and plenty of tree sparrows, it's always worth a good scan through passerine flocks as they can often have something a little different in with them.
Scandinavian rock pipit?
While all was busy around the scrub and arable there were sparrowhawks hunting but also a barn owl that was back and forth putting on a superb show, fling relatively close several times and also getting hassled by the magpies.
Magpie hovering over the barn owl
And a barn owl fly past
The harrier roost has been building too with up to 20 marsh harriers, hen harrier and then a chance of merlin. Quite a few buzzards now and a few kestrels, some of which may be continental. Best place to watch the roost is from Singleton hide with the hen harrier often coming in right at the last particularly on these dark dismal days, the weather is set to get brighter for next week and this may make for better roost watching conditions.
Marsh harriers coming out of roost
Good numbers of duck on site this morning probably because the tide was up and many had been forced of the river, but about 500 teal and then a mix of mallard, shoveler, shelduck, gadwall and a single goldeneye still on Ousefleet lagoon. There were also 4 whooper swans that I suspect are roosting on the reserve and feeding in local fields and then a few pinkfeet over site going to a field in nearby Whitgift that had 700 birds feeding on it.
Pinkfeet in nearby arable
Nice to see 600 greylags feeding on an un-worked sugar beet field near to the reserve, doing no harm to anyone and in fact helping to clear the field up. May be worth a look through as they can attract the odd whitefront or two in some years.
Waders at the moment are mostly lapwing, curlew and snipe with a few golden plovers about. Oddly it seems that many are roosting in the middle of the Trent particularly up to 70 black-tailed godwits and a good number of redshank and 1500 lapwing. Its always interesting to see how birds along the Humber use different areas to roost and feed in different years and over time and certainly helps to support the view that just because somewhere isn't used over one or two years that in time it won't become important!
Anyway that's just about it and here's hoping to a bit more light and sunshine into next week when off course it will be December!
Here's a bit of Willow bracket fungus - at least I could use my flash on this!
The green-winged teal was showing well from Ousefleet hide again this morning - Its turning out to be another fine end to the month's birding highlights, Sibe Chiffy also showing and calling well.
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