As we move ever closer to autumn birds are starting to move from their breeding grounds in preparation for migration. This is the time to keep your eyes open for birds passing through the reserve which you wouldn’t expect to see as they drop into fuel up for their long journey. A surprise find on the 24th August on the path through Lin Dike was a Tree Pipit. Tree pipits can usually be found in sparsely timbered heaths and commons, or lower lying areas with scrub or in woodland glades and is a species which usually warrants a visit to a specific site to view in the present day. They are usually given away delivering their song as they rise from a perch in a tree to gently parachute down, an event all to scarce these days but a captivating sight if you are lucky enough to witness it.
Tree pipit - Trevor Walton
For the second successive year we have a cattle egret visiting, first seen on 20th August on spoonbill flash and still present on the reserve. These birds are scarce visitors to the UK although the odd pair has bred, the first recorded pair breeding in the UK was in 2008 and the second time was in 2017 so who knows, we may get a breeding pair in the near future in the heronry. As the name suggests they do like to associate with grazing cattle, picking up the insects that they dislodge, especially grasshoppers.
Cattle egret - Jon Buxton
Cattle egret - Joe Seymour
Black-necked grebes have been seen regularly on the west lagoon, one adult and one juvenile being noted recently. Bearded tits continue to be seen with up to four birds being seen together and five grey partridges being noted on 13th August. Other sightings have been red kite, kestrel, sparrowhawk, sedge warblers, blackcap and common gulls on big hole.
Flashes / Lin Dike
This is the busiest part of the site presently with the water levels being ideal for waders. Visiting recently have been three greenshank, four green sandpiper, seven ringed plover, common sandpiper, six dunlin, 15 black-tailed godwit, two ruff and a cattle egret.
Common sandpiper - Pete M
Up to seven whinchats have been seen, with four seen regularly on spoonbill flash. Yellow wagtails have also been seen around with up to ten being seen on one occasion, and a wheatear also seen on 12th and 24th august. Other species seen have been hobby, peregrine, marsh harrier, garganey, pintail, spoonbill (maximum of seven individuals), whooper swan, water rail, common tern, and snipe. A kingfisher was seen on spoonbill flash on 20th august and a bittern was reported on the moat on 17th august
Spoonbills can be seen feeding anywhere around the flashes or can also be seen in flight as they venture further afield for food.
There have also been redstart sightings on hicksons flash on 20th august and a male was seen in a field adjacent to phalarope pool on 25th august.
Newton / Newfield area
Four red kites and six buzzards were seen over the Newfield area on 16th august, and on the same day fve ravens were seen in a stubble field above newton farm.
Red Kite - Pete M
Main Bay / Village bay
Not much to report from this part of the reserve apart from around three hundred gadwall being present and over a hundred mute swans also. The red-crested pochard hybrid was still present and seen on the 22nd august; also three snipe have been seen as well as oystercatcher, common tern, two egyptian geese and a kingfisher.
Butterflies noted were small white, green-veined white, speckled wood, large white, gatekeeper, comma, meadow brown, brown argus, small copper, holly blue, common blue, red admiral, small tortoiseshell, painted lady.
A hummingbird hawk moth was behind the visitors centre on the 18th august.
Hummingbird hawkmoth - Darren Starkey
Dragonflies noted have been brown hawker, southern hawker, ruddy darter, common darter.
Fox - Keith Boyer
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654