Autumn migration has brought a good variety of birds to the reserve over the past few weeks, with some of the main highlights including an adult black tern which appeared briefly over the deep lagoon on 29/8 and up to two garganey, at least one of which has been present since 26/8.
A variety of scarce waders have made appearances including a little stint which has also been present and regularly seen since 26/8, ruffs with up to two juvenile birds present between 25/8 and 3/9 (photo by Tony Pope), and regular spotted redshank with a maximum of four on 7/8. An osprey was seen sat by the side of the shallow lagoon on 12/8, while up to two great white egrets have remained in the area, often seen on the lagoons or on the estuary at low tide. A female pied flycatcher reported on 2/8 was only the third record for the reserve and the second for this year.
Other notable waders have included regular black-tailed godwit with a peak of 14 so far on 11/9, individual bar-tailed godwit on 21/8, 22/8 and 24/8, several knot with a maximum of four birds on 22/8, and up to two greenshank and small numbers of whimbrel which have both been seen regularly. Meanwhile numbers of the more common species have seen noticeable increases with 454 redshank, 347 curlew and 137 oystercatcher recorded on the high tide WeBS count on 22/8.
Wildfowl has featured several pintail present since 26/8 with a maximum of four birds on 31/8. Other species including wigeon, shoveler and teal have been steadily building in number as we move further towards winter, while family groups of goosander were seen on the estuary including 10 on 22/8 and six on 2/9. Two ruddy shelduck present on 12/8 were also notable but are most likely to be feral, originating from birds in captivity.
Other water birds have included regular sightings of kingfisher in recent weeks and increasingly regular sightings of water rail following the first bird of the winter season which was seen on 4/8.
Other migrant passerines of interest included individual spotted flycatchers on 20/8 and 9/9, wheatear including two on 8/9 and one on 10/9, a sizable flock of linnets containing at least 50 birds along the estuary track on 18/8, and good numbers of chiffchaff.
A nice variety of butterflies have continued to be seen including small copper, painted lady, holly blue and comma noted among the more numerous meadow browns, gatekeepers and common blues.
Dragonflies have included a good number of migrant hawkers around the reserve in recent weeks (photo by Jon Ward of an individual that was rescued from the coffee shop) along with several southern hawkers, many common darters, and black-tailed skimmers which were seen around the lagoons in early August and are probably under recorded on the reserve.
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