A busy fortnight on the reserve, a good selection of birds returning or passing through. The range of songs being heard around the reserve is increasing. It truly feels like summer with willow warblers/chiffchaff constantly singing in the background wherever you are, and skylarks filling the air with song, especially on the Coal Tips. Some nice wetland visitors also with a ruddy shelduck making a brief appearance, a green sandpiper and visiting whimbrel. A great time of year to be out and about, beautiful birds to be seen and heard, it’s good for the soul.
Chiffchaff - Keith Boyer
Avocets continue to be seen on Hicksons Flash with up to 12 recorded, wigeon are also still present on the flash with up to 60 being recorded, with up to 30 on New Flash also. Other regular sightings have been of up to 8 curlew, 2 oystercatchers and 6 little egrets, which has been a welcome sight. The whooper swan, which has been resident for around 10 months, has finally departed, seen heading west on 10th April. Presumably the recent visiting whooper swans had stirred some memories of home! The red-crested pochard is still wandering around the reserve popping up on the Moat on a couple of occasions.
Curlew - Pete M
A stunning male garganey was seen on Cedrics Pool on 8th April and has also been seen on New Flash, with a female being noted alongside on 18th April. A great white egret has also been seen coming in to roost on the Moat around dusk, staying in the Moat area up to 5 spoonbills have been seen around the heronry. A little gull made an appearance on New Flash and has also been seen more frequently on the fishing club pool. A nice visitor to New Flash on the 15th April was a green sandpiper, followed by 2 redshank a day later and then 8 whimbrel dropping into Spoonbill Flash on 17th April. Best of the rest were sightings of swallow, house martin, blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff, a first swift, and a yellow wagtail seen flying overhead. Raptors noted have been peregrine, red kite, 10 buzzard, marsh harrier, 2 raven, and 80 fieldfare.
Whimbrel - Pete M
Main bay and village bay
A ruddy shelduck appeared on the 9th April before flying to the Cut area. A garganey was noted and 2 Arctic terns were seen flying east on 17th April. A nice supporting cast of waders were 4 ringed plover, 5 little ringed plover, 10 avocet, dunlin, and 2 common sandpiper. A good count of 19 goldeneye was made on 15th April, a sparrowhawk and raven were also seen on 17th April.
A little gull was seen regularly on Village Bay with the red crested pochard making an appearance on 10th April. Other notable sightings from the Cut area have been2 avocet, 2 little egret, 2 cetti’s warblers, kingfisher, sparrowhawk, goldcrest, blackcap, and willow tit.
Ruddy shelduck - Pete M
A couple of wheatears have been seen but did not hang around, moving on towards their breeding grounds. A swift was seen flying over north on the 19th April and the first cuckoo was seen on the 20th April, and a lesser whitethroat near Big Hole. Bitterns have been showing well at the edge of the reed beds on occasions for a lucky few. Black-necked grebe numbers continue to increase with 4 being noted on south-east lagoon and 2 on north-east lagoon on 16th April. The red-crested pochard made a brief appearance on its reserve tour; bearded tits have also been seen and heard. A reed warbler was seen on 12th April, with a single cetti’s warbler heard around the reed beds. Other sightings have been 3 little ringed plovers, dunlin, oystercatcher, 6 swallows,7 goosander, 2 common tern, marsh harrier and 2 mediterranean gulls flying east on 20th April.
Reed warbler - Pete M
Discovery Trail and visitor centre
A garden warbler has been seen along Red Shale Road and in the visitor’s car park from the 18th April, presumably the same bird. A merlin was seen from Pick Up hide on 18th April with 2 sparrowhawks seen the following day. Sand martins have been seen investigating the wall for prospective nest sites, and a grey wagtail was a good sighting on 14th April. Avocets can be seen feeding from the duck feeding platform with a cetti’s warbler frequenting the adjacent reed beds. A common crane was seen flying west on 20th April.
Notable counts from around the reserve have been 80 carrion crow, 20 goldeneye, 75 shoveler, 20 goldeneye, and 15 yellowhammer off site in the field opposite the moat.
Current list of butterflies reported on the reserve are orange tip, peacock, green veined white, speckled wood, comma, small tortoiseshell and brimstone
Brimstone - Pete M
A fox was seen by the woodland feeding station; stoat’s were seen by Main Bay, the Moat and Lin dike footpath.
Large-earth bumblebee, common carder bee were recorded on 16th April.
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