With the breeding season drawing to a close, autumn migration is already well underway with large numbers of birds on the move. The low water levels in the lagoons due to the warm and dry weather in recent months are providing extensive additional areas for birds to roost, particularly around the deep lagoon. This seems to have resulted in some relatively high counts of birds, particularly black-headed gulls (pictured) with 1886 recorded on the monthly WeBS count on 17/7, almost certainly a record count for the reserve. Herring gulls were also present in relatively high numbers with 348 counted, while wader numbers have been steadily building up with 274 curlew, 147 redshank and 47 oystercatcher.

Sightings of great white egret have been very regular over the past month with at least one bird seen on 14 dates, including a maximum of three birds present on 21/7.

Waders of interest have included up to two green sandpiper which were present between 19/7 and 27/7, and a spotted redshank still mostly in summer plumage, seen regularly since 30/7. Individual greenshank were reported on 12/7 and 28/7 while whimbrel have been regularly seen among the larger flocks of curlew, with a maximum count of five so far on 17/7. Small numbers of black-tailed godwit and dunlin have also been regular, and up to three common sandpiper are still present around the lagoons.

Mediterranean gulls have once again been seen regularly with sightings on seven days including individual adults and up to two juveniles. Individual common gulls were also seen on 17/7 and 20/7.

Other notable water birds have included up to six great crested grebe, and kingfisher sightings on seven dates.

Autumn migration has also brought some notable passerines including up to two juvenile yellow wagtail seen between 19/7 and 27/7, and juvenile redstart including two on 19/7, and individuals on 20/7, 27/7 and 31/7.

Meanwhile some of the late summer butterflies have been out in good numbers including gatekeepers which were first seen on 8/7, and meadow browns, while second generation common and holly blues are now present as well. Speckled wood can still be seen particularly around the wildlife garden and bird feeding areas, and comma, peacock and red admiral have been recorded in small numbers. Six-spot burnet moths also continue to be seen on many of the flowering plants such as thistles and ragwort.

A spotted longhorn beetle found on 9/7 was only the second record of this species on the reserve (photo by Jonni Price).  

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