September is certainly turning out to be very memorable indeed with this morning the Doncaster RSPB group finding a crake on Marshland lagoon, when I heard I was certainly interested as I'd been videoing the spotted crake on Singleton lagoon earlier? When I saw the pictures of the crake I tried my very best to not blurt anything out too naughty as it was clear that the bird in question was either little or ballions crake. And after a short while it re-appeared and allowed me to be certain that indeed we did have a superb adult female little crake! 

Apparently its the first Little crake in Yorkshire since 1946!

Many thanks for the superb pictures from Chas Harrison of the Doncaster Members group - a fantastic find!

And a picture from Darren our Community Officer to show the scale of what you are looking for!

It seems that the bird has been showing for most of the day on and off - as with all crakes it will be patience and a bit of courtesy in the hides to allow all to see it. The bird is also just reward for Mike our Warden, who has over the last year or two has made it his mission to create a crake friendly edge around the lagoon - what a result indeed!

The spotted crake has also been performing well but mostly in the morning, the gates will be opening early for the next few days to if you want a chance of the spotted it shows quite well between 7.30 and 9am, 

Spotted crake (right) and water rail

And then there was of course yesterdays brief pectoral sandpiper which I thought was going to be the headline for today's blog! But it very much seems that our run of great birds is going to run and hopefully run........................

Waders have been a little disturbed by a juvenile peregrine but there has been a good number of ruff and redshank, a few dunlin and ringed plover particularly on tide, 3 green sandpipers, black-tailed godwits, a single avocet, then a few snipe, lapwing, the occasional curlew sandpiper and over the other side of the river a flock of about 1000 golden plover yesterday. 

Green sandpiper

Waders on Marshland

And on Singleton despite the low water levels

The marshland curlew roost was simply stunning the other evening with 70 birds loving the managed side of the lagoon on the left. 

Curlew on Marshland - but can you can see the garganey?

Spoonbills still seem to be visiting from time to time with up to four birds on occasions while there seems to be a little bit more little egret activity at the moment with five birds also flying west. Many many water rails around the edges of the lagoons often mixing with the crakes, so what else is lurking?

Wildfowl have been excellent in terms of numbers with still 1200 teal and then mallard, gadwall, shoveler a single garganey and then a few pintail. Pink footed geese numbers keep on rising with over 450 birds feeding on the deck this morning near the reserve and also birds coming in high from the North West on migration. 

Garganey (in the water to left of the island)

Pinks over the reserve

Just lots of teal

Birds of prey have been particularly active around the waders and wildfowl hoping for a free dinner with marsh harriers trying their luck, as well as peregrine, hobby, sparrowhawk and kestrels but no recent reports of any ring-tail harriers. On my way home yesterday evening I had my first barn owl for ages near to the reserve, so maybe look out for a resurgence of early evening owls hunting. 

Marsh harrier overlooking the dinner table

Some interesting small bod sightings recently with today the first 'proper' bearded tit eruptions with a small flock moving west along the river Ouse, they were so high I couldn't get a photo. Also now a few stonechats appearing and the first autumn grey wagtails although there was also a white wagtail on Xerox at the weekend. Chiffchaffs and goldcrests are moving while there are also good numbers of up to 100 meadow pipits. There was also still 30 yellow wagtails at the weekend but these have now reduced down to just a few tardy individuals, there are also still a few reed warblers about though and on some days a few hirundines moving south. 

Reed bunting 

Juvenile meadow pipits are lovely - there's been a strong southerly movement recently

Yellow wagtails and splat

And with the cows mippit and yellow wag

So there you have it! Question is how long will it all last, water is OK on quite a few of the lagoons but its a while to the next high tide and certainly Singleton lagoon is again getting dry. But I suspect we should survive ready for the next set of springs tides at the end of the month! 

What next?