The last two weeks have seen an increase in migrant birds visiting the reserve. Willow warblers and blackcaps can now be heard around the reserve, spoonbills have begun to return to the moat area, and a garganey appeared and has been mobile around the flashes. A little gull has given excellent views on Main Bay and Village Bay and a single black-tailed godwit was seen on New Flash. Not forgetting the Coal Tips where a pair of black-necked grebes have been noted. Spring has well and truly sprung so let’s hope the variety of visitors continues to accompany the new summer residents arriving.

Willow warbler - Pete M

Flashes

Chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps can now all be heard, if not seen, around the Lin Dike area, with increasing numbers of sand martins appearing. Up to four cetti’s warblers have also been heard as well as they become more vocal, patience is the key if you want to locate these shy skulking birds. Two willow tits were heard singing along the Lin Dike path and in the Bulholme area. Good numbers of whooper swans have been dropping in on their journey north, 10 on 26th March, 70 on 27th March and 75 on 31st March.

Whooper swans - Keith Boyer

A single spoonbill was noted on the 29th March followed by a sighting of 3 birds the following day.  Other notable visitors have been a black-tailed godwit dropping in to New Flash on 31st March followed by a stunning male garganey on 1st April which is still present. The best totals of a supporting cast have been 29 curlew, 80 shoveler, 5 little egret, 5 oystercatcher, 10 goldeneye, and 17 avocet. Raptors that have been noted were marsh harrier, 3 red kite, 2 buzzard, peregrine, and add to that another sighting of a raven over the Moat. Kingfishers have been seen more regularly around Lin Dike, a grey wagtail was seen in the Bulholme area and up to 3 water rails have been heard around Cedrics Pool.

Garganey - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

March 29th proved to be an interesting morning with an early common tern passing through and the arrival of a little gull. Up to 500 sand martins have been noted hawking for insects, the odd house martin and swallow have also been picked out amongst them. Two little ringed plover and a single ringed plover arrived on March 30th with 31 whooper swans calling in later in the day. Other sightings have been of 30 goldeneye, 8 avocet, peregrine, and 10 fieldfare moving through on March 26th.

Little gull - Pete M

A brambling was discovered along Cut Lane on March 31st, soon to disappear as it was only seen again on April 1st. A nice male mandarin graced village bay on March 28th, never to be seen again! A cetti’s warbler has also been heard and seen along Cut Lane, along with a pair of willow tits. Up to 4 avocets have been noted from Charlies Hide, as well as 2 oystercatcher and 4 goosander. The Riverbank Trail produced 3 siskins on March 26th, as well as treecreeper, goldcrest and willow tit.

Treecreeper - Pete M

Coal Tips

Two black-necked grebes were recorded during the WeBS count on March 24th on the West Lagoon; a red crested pochard was seen the following day. There have been regular sightings of bitterns also; they have showed really well for some visitors giving prolonged views. Other notable sightings have been of a brief visit of a wheatear on April 4th, a single bearded tit on March 28th, 70 lesser redpoll were mobile on March 26th, plus another singing cetti’s warbler heard frequently.

Discovery Trail and Visitor Centre

A raven was seen from the centre on March 24th and again from Pick Up Hide on March 25th.  A barn owl was seen around the centre on the evening of March 31st.  Other sightings have been of 3 yellowhammer opposite the car park, a grey wagtail from the pond dipping area, singing blackcaps and 3 swallows over the centre on March 27th.

Butterflies

Comma on Riverbank and Discovery Trail, 2 peacock on the riverside, brimstone, holly blue and speckled wood on Discovery Trail, small tortoiseshell on Coal Tips and Lin Dike and orange tip on Main Bay.

Small tortoiseshell - Pete M

Other

A weasel was seen on the Discovery Trail and staff car park, 3 roe deer from Pick Up Hide, a mink from Main Bay platform, and a brown hare in the Plantation Field.

Roe deer - Pete M

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