We're seeing increasing activity from the great egrets, being seen more on the wettest parts of the wet grassland area from the visitor centre and aroung the large ditch that is near the barn. The grey herons are still building in numbers, with regularly 30 plus have been on the banks of Bridge Pool, best seen from Marsh Covert Hide, and spending more time in the treetops in preparation for nesting. The little egrets are around more and more feeding in Reception Pool and getting harassed by the ever-increasing black-head gulls. The cattle egrets have been spotted frequently from Marsh Covert Hide; fingers crossed they decide to pop back up to the Marsh Covert Woods again and breed.
Great egret by Tom Giles
A fun challenge from the visitor centre is to try pick out the Mediterranean gulls amongst the black-headed gulls, then the Egyptian geese in amongst the Canada geese on the farthest wet grassland area.
The usual exciting birds of prey have been showing on and off. The marsh harrier, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, merlin and a fantastic view of a male hen harrier going past the visitor centre.
Waders have not disappointed this week either. The avocets are steadily increasing with over 60 being the top count. Still the best spot is on the main scrape from the visitor centre. Beautiful large flocks of lapwings and black-tailed godwits. Handfuls of redshanks around the edges furiously feeding away. Ruff, spotted redshank and dunlin all have been seen occasionally on the main scrape but mostly on the other pools. The one lonely green sandpiper seems to really like the Reception Pool and you can get some beautiful close views of it feeding around the island and the edges of the water. Likewise the water rail still pops out every now and then, so always remember to keep your eyes out down along the edges.
Redshank and dunlin by Tom Giles
Still loads of fabulous ducks about like pintail regularly being seen on Bridge Pool, along with wigeon, gadwall, tufted duck, teal, shoveler, and over 30 shelduck at the back of the reserve.
Yet another right place right time for the kingfisher sightings. The best was at Inner Marsh Farm with some visitors getting some lovely pictures from the hide as it perched on some reeds.
The slightly worse weather has meant we have had more sightings of barn owl onsite during the day. Seen predominantly from Burton Point hunting around the birdcrop fields and then also seen around the opposite side of the reserve closer to the visitor centre.
Barn owl at Burton Mere Wetlands by Paul Jubb
A quieter week for the warden team, with a series of training courses taking up three days in midweek. However, they managed to finish off the repairs on the car park dividers and also made progress with strimming the grass along the anti-predator fenceline, and paths mowed on Thursday; getting ready for the busy spring breeding (and growing!) season.
The severe weather warnings meant we had to cancel our final Raptorwatch of the season, but we have three more Parkgate Tidewatch events coming up in just over ten days time when this kind of weather would actually be highly favourable for pushing the tide right in for that rare spectacle of a completely flooded marsh.
As always for families, we have our Wild Challenge family trail at Burton Mere Wetlands, “Wild Challenge migration trail” and we have some revamped Explorer Backpacks to hire filled with everything you need to become a nature detective and go wild on the reserve. Come down, get some fresh air and learn something new!
Finally, it's an exciting week ahead for the visitor team - although worth noting the visitor centre will be closed all day on Wednesday, but the rest of the reserve open as usual - and visitors who buy from the RSPB Shop, either online or at another reserve, then...
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