Its certainly been a fantastic spring here on the Sands with some great birding and wildlife watching just continuing on and on, it really seems to change day in day out with you never really knowing what will be about!

Apologies too for the late blog, its just been a difficult week all round. Highlights have included the female Montagu's harrier that is still present on site but can be fickle. It seems the morning can be best but usually not too early as in the cold it takes a while for the harriers to get moving. Other recent highlights have included the cranes again on Saturday, spotted flycatcher, hobby, spoonbill (this morning), whimbrel, 7 spotted redshank, 7 ruff, arctic tern, and 2 bitterns. 

Off course there are always the avocets and marsh harriers on show and now more regular little egrets while the bearded tits continue to be busy as they feed their growing young with the first fledged juveniles already seen!

Marsh harrier food pass (Tim and Si Jump)

Waders passage has been slow but there are still regular spotted redshank and ruff, the odd whimbrel and curlew, lapwings (with the first local chicks seen on the arable recently), oystercatcher, 15 black-tailed godwits today, wood sandpiper at the weekend, little-ringed plover, ringed plover and a single dunlin today, and then the years first common sandpiper on Townend at the end of last week. The winds are shifting slightly southerly with a little rain tonight there may be a possibility of some interesting wader passage?

Ruff - can you spot the spotted redshank? (Tim and Si Jump)

Ruff and reeve in the rain

Spotted redshank

Little ringed plover

Ringed plover

Common sandpiper and avocets

One of our regular visitors Jason has a very interesting colour ringed black-tailed godwit sighting last week, a bird from the Project Godwit no less called Chalky, these are birds that have been reared using eggs from collected the wild population in East Anglia and reared at Welney WWT. The project is aiming to increase the declining and very rare British breeding population of Limosa race birds in the Fens. What is nice is that many years ago I worked on both sites where the godwits breed and part of my job was to protect the last few remaining black-tailed godwit nests, so very nice to hear of this bird using the Humber. The question is - will it return to the Fens or will it go to Iceland! 

There is a good mix of duck about but recent arrivals are two wigeon to add to the mix of gadwall, shoveler, teal, pochard, tufted duck etc. What is of interest is the continued influx of mute swans, one of which has a red colour ring, it will be interesting to find out where it is from in the near future.

Mute swans

 A nice mix of summer migrants now on site with as usual here the arrival of cuckoo is often in early May, also plenty of swifts to join the Hirundines but they are struggling in this cool weather, also a nice mix of warblers around with lesser whitethroat this morning, plenty of sedge and reed warblers, whitethroats, willow warbler and also some very showy Cettis warblers.

Swallow at Ousefleet

Sedge warbler

Whitethroat - (Tim and Si Jump)

This Cettis warbler was very obliging this morning, it allowed me to take my camera out, turn it on, take of the lens cap and then take four photo's! All within seven feet close!!

The yellow wagtails have also been quite good from time to time in front of Ousefleet hide and around the Koniks who are currently confined to quarters because of an outbreak of Laminitis.

The water voles seem to be showing again well in front of reception while this morning there were two buck roe deer chasing each other around Ousefleet lagoon and looking quite spectacular in the morning light and splashing water. 

Roe deer buck

The dominant male is on the left

And the interloper - still with velvet on his antlers

And lastly just to say in the evening the barn owls are still putting on a tremendous show as they hunt on suitable calm evenings

 

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