As we move further through the summer months towards autumn, numbers of wading birds around the lagoons and estuary continue to increase, with a greater variety of species present. Some of the highlights from the past month have included wood sandpiper (pictured) with sightings on 26/7 to 28/7 and again on 5/8, green sandpiper on 13/8, a summer plumaged knot present from 17/7 to 20/7, and a single turnstone (a scarce bird on the reserve) seen on 24/7 and 27/7. Small numbers of black-tailed godwit have been continuously present and greenshank have been regular, while whimbrel have often been seen among the larger curlew flocks on the estuary. Small numbers of dunlin have also been present among the redshank and at least two common sandpipers still remain around the lagoons.
Other highlights have included several sightings of great white egret with individual birds reported on 24/7, 4/8, 13/8 and 15/8. Mediterranean gulls were seen on 27/7, 29/7 and 1/8 among the larger groups of black-headed gulls, while a juvenile kittiwake seen on 2/8 was perhaps a greater surprise. While several hundred kittiwakes breed locally on the cliffs around the Great and Little Orme, juvenile birds generally head straight out to sea once fledged, so birds turning up further inland are rather unusual, with only four birds previously recorded on the reserve.
Wildfowl speces have become more diverse as well, with increasing numbers of teal, small numbers of shoveler, and a pochard present on 18/7. A great crested grebe has also been frequently seen on the deep lagoon in recent weeks and there have been regular sightings of kingfisher.
Meanwhile passerines have included four crossbills over on 29/7 when a juvenile redstart was also seen, and a juvenile wheatear was present on 26/7. There are still regular sightings of some of our summer migrants including reed and sedge warblers, whitethroat, blackcap, willow warbler and chiffchaff, while reed buntings have also made regular appearances, particularly along the estuary track.
It seems to have been a great summer for butterflies with the influx of migrant painted ladies, and other highlights including small copper (the first of the season recorded on 8/8), ringlet and comma among good numbers of meadow browns and gatekeepers. Dragonflies noted have included emperor, southern hawker and common darters.
Big Wild Sleepout events took place on 27th to 28th July and again on 3rd to 4th August, where families could camp on the reserve and activities included moth trapping, bat walks, astronomy, campfires (pictured) and wildlife challenges for children. Wildlife Drop-in events have been held each Thursday throughout the holidays where participants can experience pond dipping. For adults, Nordic Walking and Tai Chi Workshops have also continued on Thursdays, while the monthly Farmers Market was held on 31/7.
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