It’s been a busy week in front of the visitor centre as the work continues for the extension of the electric fence. Despite the recent work and the birds moving off the main scrape the reserve as a whole has still had some fantastic wildlife, in particular the raptors. The marsh harrier, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, merlin and hen harrier (ringtail) have all been showing exceptionally well from the visitor centre.
Many of the birds that left the scrape have now been feeding and loafing on Bridge Pool. So some great views from Marsh Covert Hide and Bridge Screen. Pintail regularly being seen from there, along with wigeon, the odd gadwall, tufted duck, teal, shoveler, black-tailed godwit and shelduck. When the peregrine heads over to Inner Marsh Farm Hide you can see hundreds of lapwings in massive flocks dancing across the sky to avoid being made dinner.
Once again from the visitor centre the kingfisher has been zipping past the window with just a few lucky visitors getting a glimpse. Regular visits from decent sized flocks of redshank and curlew feeding on the edges of the scrape and islands first thing in the morning. The little egrets have been dropping in for a short feed and a quick wash too. The snipe and dunlin are often seen in amongst the large lapwing flocks hiding for protection. One water rail has been seen very well from the footbridge on the Burton Mere loop.
Along the railway embankment and the surrounding fields and scrub there has been a lovely mix of smaller birds like brambling, linnet, bullfinch, goldcrest, siskin and stonechat all showing well, with stonechat and reed bunting seen particularly well from the visitor centre.
Bullfinch, goldfinch and blue tit by Lynne Greenstreet
As ever the reserve feeders have had an abundance of beautiful garden birds on them like great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, greenfinch, goldfinch, coal tit, blue tit, great tit. A good spot for green woodpecker has been the fields before you enter the car park and don’t forget to keep an eyes peeled when parked up as it is a favourite spot for tree creepers.
Multiple sightings of stoat mainly on the bank between reception pool and the scrape.
Star sighting for the week has got to be the owls. The short-eared owls that show really well on our marsh have also been visiting us and landed really close to the visitor centre on the new fence posts, showing off for visitors. Then the beautiful barn owl hunting during the day towards the railway end of the reserve.
Short-eared owl by John Hewitt
The contractors doing the electric fence are making good progress in the icy, freezing conditions and the raptors are enjoying the new fence posts using them as vantage points. The materials for the bunker hide roof have now arrived so we can make a start on that soon.
Assistant warden Liz and her team of volunteers have been hard at it maintaining the board walk mesh at inner marsh farm hide. Getting all muddy clearing out dragonfly ponds, carrying out some coppicing around the meres and sorting a wood storage area.
The December family quiz trail ‘Christmas Nature Trail’ is out for the whole family to try and come see what all of Burton Mere wetlands wildlife want for Christmas this year.
Our Big Farmland Birdwalk at Burton Mere Wetlands will offer a chance to get behind the scenes and off the beaten track for closer views of the winter swans and flocks of farmland birds on the reserve.
Full details can be found at rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands, with booking via Eventbrite.
Parkgate events can be found at rspb.org.uk/parkgate, including Raptorwatch on Sunday 13 January and the first Tidewatch of the year for a 10 metre tide on Wednesday 23 January.
Read more at https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/community/placestovisit/deeestuary/b/deeestuary-blog/default.aspx#1xq6JvOfuI94B6dl.99
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