The birds keep arriving; top of the billing has to be the black-crowned night heron. First seen in flight over the Hicksons Flash area heading east and then located on Village Bay Island on the morning of 2nd May. Although views were distant, this rare visitor attracted attention until the last sighting on 4th May. No decent usable images are available due to the distance so the photo below is a library shot, as Jim Bowen of Bullseye fame would have said “this is what you could have seen”, sorry!

Black-crowned night heron - Pete M


The sight of a female bufflehead on Spoonbill Flash on 27th April caused a ripple, although this is almost certain an escaped captive bird it created a lot of interest over its short 2 day stay, although views were distant. Spoonbills can be viewed in the heronry from the Coal Tips; up to five have been reported. A greenshank was on New Flash for a couple of days and Egyptian geese have returned with 3 noted in the Moat field.  More warblers have arrived in the form of whitethroat and lesser whitethroat with the ever vocal cetti’s warblers seeming to burst into song everywhere.  

Bufflehead - Keith Boyer

Raptor sightings have been of kestrel, buzzard, two sightings of a hobby over the Moat, and an osprey over Spoonbill Flash on 25th April. The first swift over the flashes appeared on 26th April with an arctic tern over east on May 1st. Five yellow wagtails were seen in the field adjacent to Spoonbill Flash on 22nd April and 3 yellowhammers in the field opposite the Moat.

Yellowhammer - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

Up to 14 avocet have been seen on Main Bay accompanied by a greenshank, six little ringed plover, ringed plover, and two common sandpiper. The wandering male mandarin duck appeared on 22nd April and a ruddy shelduck on 28th April, the red-crested pochard also reappeared on 1st May. Up to 9 common terns have been recorded with arctic terns moving through on passage with four noted on 1st May, little gulls are still make infrequent appearances also. A single swift flew over on April 25th. Raptors noted have been red kite and buzzard.

Greenshank - Pete M

Star visitor on Village bay was the black-crowned night heron as mentioned previously. Waders noted on the Cut have been common sandpiper, ringed plover and little ringed plover. A sparrowhawk was seen to take a little ringed plover from Charlies Hide on 4th May. The wandering mandarin duck made an appearance on 4th May along with three common terns. Thirty swifts were seen over Village Bay on 3rd May with more to follow in the coming weeks. A cetti’s warbler continues to make itself heard along Cut Lane.

Cetti's warbler - Keith Boyer

Coal Tips

Usual suspects to keep an eye open for are bittern, cuckoo and black-necked grebe, with a good number of skylarks around the south side. Both lesser whitethroat and whitethroat have been seen as well as a wheatear and ring ouzel passing through on 23rd and 30th April respectively. A reed warbler was reported on 24th April. A ruddy shelduck and two sandwich terns flew over Big Hole on 29th April, two dunlin were noted on 30th April and a little ringed plover made an appearance on Big Hole on 3rd May.  The mobile red-crested pochard made an appearance on a couple of occasions, a hobby was seen over Big Hole on 21st  April and a marsh harrier was seen heading east on 4th May.

Lesser whitethroat - Pete M

Discovery Trail and visitor centre

A barn owl was noted around the visitor centre on the morning of 25th April with a spoonbill seen feeding in front of pick up hide the same day. A kingfisher was noted at the screen on a couple of days with a sparrowhawk also seen in the same area.  Raptors noted from the visitor centre have been red kite, buzzard and a marsh harrier on 28th April.


Current list of butterflies reported on the reserve are orange tip, peacock, green veined white, speckled wood, comma, small tortoiseshell and brimstone.


A water scorpion was seen from the pond dipping platform on 24th April and a large red damselfly from Pick Up Hide on 30th April.

Tree bumblebee, common carder bee, early bumblebee, large earth bumblebee have all been seen on the reserve.

Large red damselfly - Pete M