I'll start with a brief summary of the last couple of days.............

Well there's certainly been some great birding on the reserve over the last few days, yesterday there was the ringtail AND grey male hen harriers hunting around the reserve and a fantastic adult male merlin, add in lots of marsh harriers, barn owl, peregrine, buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk then it's been a bit of a raptor extravaganza.

Resting marsh harrier

With such mild conditions there are still thousands of waders, ducks, and geese around the estuary with the reserve attracting good numbers and variety, best sightings in the last few days have been the young whooper swan still at Singleton, water pipit, 13 ruff, 109 curlew, 23 black-tailed godwit, stonechat, and plenty of Cettis warblers

Ruff and sleeping black-tailed godwit



JUST A NOTE THAT THE RESERVE IS CLOSED ON CHRISTMAS DAY, but we do re-open on boxing day. 

That just leaves me to end with a bit of a reflection on what I personally think has been just a fantastic last ten years here on the Humber, we've seen so much land added to the reserve holdings that help support over 100,000 wetland birds, our rare breeding birds such as bittern, bearded tit and marsh harrier have all colonised new sites giving them a much brighter future, Spoonbills have started to breed too in Yorkshire with birds feeding at Blacktoft while feeding their young at Fairburn, and when you look at the last ten years we've had some memorable birds and birding. 

One of the advantages of the blog is that I can look back at whats been seen relatively quickly particularly if I've mentioned it in the title! It was interesting that it is just about ten years now that we've been writing the blog - doesn't time fly. I suspect I've now past the 1000 mark or at least getting close, but it does show that Blacktoft and the Humber and occasionally the odd trip abroad does generate plenty to write about, one of the beauties of our natural world. 

So what was hot in the last decade - here's my personal pick of the years highlights, Mostly birds that people got to see give or take their speed off the mark or luck on the day!

2019 - Little crake & purple heron

2018 - Buff-breasted sandpiper & red necked phalarope (unfortunately the swift with the white rump didn't fully get identified to species as far as I know!)

2017 - White-rumped sandpiper & black-winged stilts

2016 - Caspian tern & green-winged teal (gw teal was the first for many years at the time)

2015 - Black stork, ring-necked duck, Montagu harriers fledges young

2014 - 5 hen harriers at the roost, grey phalarope, GW egret (when they were still scarce!)

2013 - Pectoral sandpiper, spotted crake, Montagu's harrier

2012 - Marsh warbler, Savis warbler

2011 - Marsh sandpiper, crane

2010 - Semi palmated sandpiper (I was in Austria when this one appeared!!!), white-tailed eagle, Rough legged buzzard

Hopefully this brings back a few memories and lets hope 2020 will bring a few more fantastic birds for us all to watch

How about one of these for next year (picture taken in Poland)

Scarlet Rosefinch


  • I'd like to concur with MParry's comments. My wife and I always look forward to your blogs and they always transport us to one of our favourite places to visit. You and the team do such a brilliant job and you bring joy to many people as well as the excellent conservation work you do. Thankyou so much Pete and keep up the excellent work-it really is appreciated!

  • Great day today, both hen harriers in to roost, 3 water pipits, kingfisher, barn owls, a fantastic buzzard in front of Xerox, stonechats, and an otter that gave 9 performances at Singleton lagoon. Pete. Also thanks everyone for your kind comments about the blog. Very much appreciated. 

  • Thanks for all your work in writing the blogs. You have a talent for it and always give a good sense of the land, with great pictures. One of the few RPSB blogs I read of places I've never visited. Because you have the ability to give 'a sense of place'. Thanks