With December sweeping in and a few cool days the winter thrushes have suddenly descended on the big hawthorn hedge that runs alongside the reserve that is laden with beautiful red berries. With about 300 fieldfare, a good number of redwing, blackbirds and song thrushes then its one of those winter events that I really look forward to with the clear skies and crisp temperatures making it all the more memorable. 

A bit of thrush video - hopefully it will work!

Redwing - always a lovely bird to see, I still can't resist looking at their undertail coverts to see if they are Icelandic or European race, these are European!

And fieldfare take some beating for sheer colour

But then I do like the continental song thrushes, but they can be shy

The harrier roost is also building very nicely indeed with particularly the marsh harriers liking the safety of a wet reedbed this year and last night reaching 29 birds (thanks to Jason who is regularly watching the roost at the moment), apparently all 29 were up in the air with the hen harrier making for some spectacular pre-festivities raptor watching. Add in merlin, some very showy barn owls, buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks and its worth a late afternoon visit if you wrap up well. The habitat at Singleton also looks very good for bittern so also try and keep a look out for roosting birds flying about low over the reeds, they must be there!

Hunting barn owl this morning

Yesterday was very much a whooper swan day with small parties fling around and out of roost, today however was a mute swan day with quite a few birds on the lagoons including two lovely immature birds who were pair bonding.

Whoopers from near Crowle Moor on flooded farmland - there were 22 of them

And immature mutes on Marshland this morning trying out some early pair bonding


Despite some of the lagoons being slightly iced there is still quite a bit of wildfowl using the site but also sometimes flying onto the river. Nice to still have at least one goldeneye and also good to see the wigeon feeding on the grass in front of Xerox lagoon, the males are looking in stunning plumage. 97 mallard was a notable count today while there are a few teal, gadwall, shoveler, and shelduck.

Goldeneye on Marshland 

With the chill the waders are a bit thin on the ground but a lone Oystercatcher yesterday near the Trent end of the reserve was a very out of season record for us, still a few redshank, the odd ruff, lapwings, golden plover, curlew and snipe but you are not guaranteed to see any of these on a visit if they have moved onto the river, it all depends on tide and weather.

Ruff from when it was a little milder last week

I haven't had a lot of time to look for the siberian chiffy this week but I did re-locate the collybita race chiffchaff on the way to shepherd the livestock yesterday at Ousefleet, also of note has been 3 bullfinch, singing cettis warblers, our resident tree sparrows, a few greenfinch on the feeders, water pipit, and of course the thrushes.  

Male reed bunting feeding on Willow herb seed

And then a female 

This young wood pigeon seemed to want to do a bit of ice skating this morning.


The cold also always brings out the reed buntings to feed on the seeds in the fen and also the stonechats to feed along the edges of the lagoons, but not quite cold enough for the bearded tits to show at the moment.

Male stonechat at Ousefleet today taking in the first rays of morning sunshine