A windy and at times wet week has reminded us spring hasn't fully arrived, and the presence of small numbers of siskins, redwings and a merlin have reinforced the sentiment. However, avocet numbers continue to build, up to around 80 this week, and up to eight spotted redshanks and an occasional ruff have teased us with the beginning of the wader migration.
Spotted redshank with common redshank and black-headed gulls (Paul Jubb)
Other highlights include two Mediterranean gulls, up to five great egrets seen from the visitor centre and on Thursday up to two cattle egrets spent most of the day in the field behind the Bunker Screen.
Plenty of marsh harrier activity and several great sightings of a peregrine, plus single barn owl and short-eared owl were seen a couple of times, no doubt seeking more sheltered hunting grounds than out over the saltmarsh. A male hen harrier has delighted visitors a couple of times this week with at times very close views from the hides and screens.
Bearded tits are still in the reedbed, and a few lucky visitors waiting at Bridge Screen have had good views of a kingfisher, while one lucky visitor bagged the sighting of the week...
Kingfisher (Paul Jubb)
Sighting of the week
An otter was spotted by said lucky visitor, swimming across the pool in front of Reedbed Screen - we've been finding signs of them on the reserve, and occasional footage caught on nocturnal remote cameras, but there have only ever been a handful of daytime sightings.
With assistant warden Liz away, warden Al has been continuing preparations for the breeding season, including making sure the vegetation and water levels are perfect. He also played a key part in sprucing up the visitor centre when we were closed on Wednesday, ready for Friday's shop kiosk launch!
On Friday, our shop kiosk opened, so pop down soon to have a browse of our fantastic selection of bird food and feeders, nestboxes and binoculars. You can order anything you might find on the RSPB Shop website, and we can offer free delivery direct to your door. Until Tuesday, there's the national 10% off RSPB binoculars and telescopes, plus we have a brilliant exclusive offer of a free feeder when you buy a box of suet balls.
We're fast approaching another run of 10 metre tides; we'll be at Parkgate Old Baths for Tidewatch events from Thursday to Saturday next week. For full details visit www.rspb.org.uk/parkgate
We're also approaching the start of 'badger season' - our exclusive badger watching experiences will be available for booking from Monday 1 April. Enquire not for more details or to reserve a date, on email@example.com
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