A week of beautiful wildlife much like the last with a couple unusual visitors that turned up, see my star sightings to find out who!
Still hanging around most of the week was the great egret, one showing well on the Reception Pool then up to seven seen at Inner Marsh Farm Hide. Great to see little egret and grey heron with the great egret, brilliant to watch them interacting with each other as they all feed in the same areas.
A number of good sightings this week of the green woodpecker, the top three spots to try find them are on Burton Point along the left-hand side of the hill fort then in the garden and occasionally in the field opposite Bunker Hide, where sighting of the water pipit are still being reported.
The smaller birds this week that can sometimes be a bit trickier to spot have been around, you often just have to spend a little more time in one spot in order to find them. Still about are goldcrest, tree creeper, nuthatch, fieldfare, redwing and those showing a bit more recently are grey wagtail, long-tailed tit and chiffchaff.
Long-tailed tit by Paul Jubb
Wonderful waders all week. Still hundreds and hundreds of lapwing murmurating from the wet grassland area up and across the back of the scrape area. Golden plover are also still being seen spending most of their time out in that area, so keep an eye on those lapwing flocks to spot the difference. Black-tailed godwit, curlew, dunlin, ruff, redshank, and now as of last week oystercatchers can be found on the main scrape looking from the Visitor Centre. Snipe still a somewhat elusive bird for some to spot but keep looking they are out there along the muddy edges in the shorter vegetation. Ducks galore on site and a returning favourite to their usual spot in the Reception Pool are the tufted ducks. Other usual’s still about include: teal, wigeon, shoveler, gadwall, shelduck and pintail, which have still been showing from the Bridge Screen.
Oystercatcher by Paul Jubb
Another good week for raptors. Our fabulous Kestrels are still feeding so close to the Visitor Centre at the moment. Although some may think they are a common sighting it’s the close and prolonged views we have had that have been so great. The hen harrier sightings have been great too this week with plenty of visitors getting good views of these spectacular Winter raptors, they may be heading off soon as we approach Spring, to upland moorland areas to nest. Marsh harriers are one of our star birds as they are around all year but this time of year they are around at Burton Mere Wetlands most days, giving us wonderful displays as they glide back and forth over the reserve. Merlin are another bird that will soon be leaving us but we are still getting some good reports onsite. Peregrine and sparrowhawk are birds that are about most of the time but we only tend to see them when they are very actively hunting other birds and the commotion of the hunt alerts us to their presence.
Marsh harrier by Paul Jubb
The star sighting for this week, only the second ever record on the reserve goes to two tundra bean geese! They like to mingle with our pink-footed geese. This in its self can cause confusion as not only are they quite similar in plumage but the pink-footed geese move about a lot and don’t tend to have much routine. So, the best spots are first thing in the morning if you head down towards the Bunker Hide and look out to the farmers’ fields beyond the barn or out across the wet grassland area beyond the scrape.
Tuesday work party was great, the warden team cleared most of the overgrown willow out looking from the top crop field viewpoint and its looking allot better now! Thursday they were cutting back trees and willow around the Burton Mere Trail to keep it clear and safe. Usual reserve checks and maintenance has been ongoing and the preparation and planning for hopefully another busy breeding season.
Warden team working hard on Tuesday to viewing area from the top crop fields.
Liz assistant warden, working hard clearing willow around the meres with her team.
When you visit Burton Mere Wetlands Visitor Centre we have the new February family quiz trail "National Nestbox Week" to celebrate the British Trust for Ornithology's National Nestbox Week from Friday 14 February to Friday 21 February. Along with the quiz trail we also have Winter Backpacks to hire for the kids to take out and get adventurous.
Our next Little Explorers events will now be running between Monday 13 January to Monday 23 March, 10-11.30am meet at the Visitor Centre and come see what stories and activities we have planned. Price: £5 per child (£4 RSPB Wildlife Explorer members); accompanying siblings half-price.
Our next Binocular and Telescope Open Day will be over the weekend of Saturday 1 February and Sunday 2 February between 10am-4pm. Price: Free (normal admission charges apply to non-members wishing to access the reserve)
Join us for our first Parkgate Tidewatch of the year on Tuesday 11 February and Wednesday 12 February between 10.30am-2.30pm. We will be down at the Parkgate Old Baths for the spectacle of high tide as it comes in and pushes small mammals up the saltmarsh which then brings in the likes of short-eared owls, hen harriers, marsh harriers and many other spectacular raptors.
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