The sound of the chiffchaff singing has been heard in several areas of the reserve, lifting the melancholy days of spring when the weather does not quite know what to do with itself. An easily recognisable song as it repeats its name over and over, a good way of separating from the near identical willow warbler as the songs are completely different, the willow warbler has a more fluent song, with a gentle series of descending notes. There are bird apps available which aid identification through sight and song, the RSPB app is very good for the beginner and the Collins Bird Guide app is excellent if you want more detail.

Chiffchaff - Pete M


The red-crested pochard was mobile over the last two weeks with sightings on the moat, parkers pond, cedrics pond and spoonbill flash. Up to four pintail, three goldeneye and a maximum of 24 shelduck noted around the flashes. A count on hicksons flash on 14th March produced 80 wigeon with 60 carrion crows also present. New flash held up to five curlews, and four oystercatchers appeared on 22nd March.  Other notable sightings were of a little owl on newton lane on 11th March, a raven over the flashes on the 13th March and a barn owl on newton lane on 17th March. Cetti’s warblers have been heard at cedrics pool and also in the lin dike area.

Barn owl - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

Notable sightings on main bay have been three avocets, 25 goosander, and four goldeneye. A ringed plover, and oystercatcher made an appearance on 13th March, with eight sand martins being seen on 22nd March.

Sightings noted from Charlies hide have been up to 30 goosander and four oystercatchers. Two buzzards were seen over Fairburn from charlies hide on 14th March. Along the cut two cetti’s warblers have been heard regularly, and sightings of two kingfishers reported. Three chiffchaff, a goldcrest and a flock of around 20 lesser redpoll have been seen along the riverbank trail.

Oystercatchers - Pete M

Coal Tips

Raptors noted from the coal tips have been red kite, kestrel, buzzard and a marsh harrier. The marsh harrier was seen flying over big hole on the 19th and 22nd March. A bittern can be heard booming on the west lagoon with sightings for a lucky few. The red-crested pochard made a brief appearance on the south-east lagoon, around 20 redpoll were noted on19th March and three sand martins on 20th March. Green woodpeckers are being seen almost daily with up to four seen together on one occasion.

Green woodpecker - Pete M

Discovery Trail and visitor centre

Two sightings of kingfishers from the screen, these have usually been at the far end of the stream, also one sighting from the duck feeding platform. Around 40 lesser redpoll were seen in the area of the screen on 12th March with a mealy redpoll amongst them. The visitor centre feeders have attracted nuthatch, siskin, bullfinch and willow tit. A single redwing has also been noted near the childrens play area.  A goldcrest has also been seen on the discovery trail. Raptors seen from the visitor centre have been red kite, sparrowhawk, and up to ten buzzards.

Red kite - Keith Boyer

Flooded area

The flooded fields produced 13 curlew, around 1000 black-headed gulls, 11 common gulls, little egret, and four oystercatchers on 20th March. 20 sand martins and a single pintail were noted on 22nd March.

Shoveler - Joe Seymour


Seven peacocks were reported around the reserve on 20th March.


Roe deer have been seen from pickup hide on 10th March and from the coal tips on 23rd March. A stoat was seen crossing newton Lane towards the moat on 15th March, two toads and three brown hares were also noted around the reserve on 20th March