At last I’ve managed to see my first harrier roost and it was impressive. Sadly the light levels made it difficult to photograph but it was a spectacle non the less.
I counted at least 12 Marsh Harrier (which I never get bored of watching) and I would have been happy at that. But then I caught sight of a ring tailed hen harrier coming in across the reed bed at singleton from over towards Alkborough. Happy with that I was about to leave as a beautiful barn owl swooped in front of the hide. I thought things couldn’t get any better and then another barn owl came into view!
As the light levels dropped I was about to leave as a Merlin whizzed by at a rapid rate of knots and my grin got bigger. If you’re around the reserve later in an afternoon I can’t think of a better way of finishing the day!
They aren’t the only raptors frequenting the site at the moment either. Kestrel has been regularly using the reserve to hunt.
Recent Kestrel sighting.
Sparrow hawk is a regular visitor too and just lately there’s been a plethora of buzzards around. It was great to witness 2 youngsters having a little spat a couple of days ago; they reminded me of marsh harriers in courtship the way they frolicked about. I caught this one this morning having a little rest on a fence post in the grazing marsh.
Buzzard across the grazing marsh.
Marsh Harriers continue to show well throughout the day cruising across the lagoons and bringing up the water fowl.
Marsh Harrier over Ousefleet causing this …
Teal, widgeon and gadwall getting nervous.
Seeing a sky full of widgeon, teal, gadwall, shoveler and a few shelduck taking cautious flight when a harrier passes over is exciting.
That’s not the only flying display that caught me eye either. A couple of nights ago several hundred grey lag flew loudly honking over the reserve and headed out to roost further up the estuary – perhaps they landed at Whitton or Reads Island. Adding to the immense number of waders and water fowl using the estuary the last couple of months.
Greylag heading down the estuary.
I was at singleton earlier today where I was happy to see the scaup (immature) still around. She’s been gracing us with her presence for a couple of weeks.
Scaup from a few days ago.
Other highlights include this young male Golden Eye spotted by Pete.
Photo courtesy of Pete.
One of my faves has been the little grebes. As I went across the reserve this morning I spotted at least 4. This one was having a wash before puffing out its chest.
Bathing little grebe.
Little Grebe trying to look butch!
Dusk at the reserve has been brilliant, but mornings have brought in its fair share of highlights too. Flocks of fieldfare have entertained, particularly in the car park and across horseshoe meadow the past couple of days. If you’re really lucky there’ll be the odd redwing amongst them.
Fieldfare in carpark area.
Keep your eyes open as your passing the feeders too – I’m regularly seeing greenfinch taking advantage although never when I have my camera handy. We’ve also had reports of the occasional brambling.
Other species to be vigilant for are siskin – very solid reports (from Pete) that they have been passing through. Others passing by include Whooper swan with a group of seven coming through. They are so gracious in flight. Since I didn’t get any pics I’ll post this “ugly duckling” which is still hanging around with the parents.
Disgruntled parent … will they never leave home?
There’s quite a few snipe still around too. As I was watching the Marsh Harrier spooking the ducks a small group of around 8 came up flitted around and decided it was prudent to disappear in the margins. Then this little fellow came out to see if it was safe.
Snipe in the margins at Ousefleet.
I’m a simple man and easily pleased with any wildlife – here’s my favourite picture from today – a wee little wren. I know I’m a sucker for cute things.
Speaking of cute things – I saw the weasel again this morning in front of reception.
Weasel in front of reception.
Since the water levels across the reserve have now dropped I’m guessing some of the land based predators are eager to hunt. I’ve had a few sightings of stoats too.
I’ll leave you with this rather poor quality image of a wood mouse though. There was a couple of them on the coppice trail to Ousefleet flittering around trying to find food.
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Blacktoft Sands and the Humber.
Just to say even after all the rain the reserve is open as usual, Blacktoft only floods on high tide cycles and at the moment we are on lows so all well and good. Scaup still here, whoopers roosting, and a good mix of birds as per Daz's blog.
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