A very exciting visitor stayed for around an hour on 20th October, a harrier appeared over new flash sporting a white rump and a ring tail, a hen harrier! Flying with easy effortless wingbeats between gliding, the harrier moved effortlessly across spoonbill flash before descending out of sight into robins reed bed for a short time. When the harrier reappeared it flew off in a westerly direction, watched until it was a distant dot. Quite a memorable afternoon for the few lucky observers who were in the right place at the right time, an unforgettable experience.

Hen harrier - Tom Ballam

The plight of the hen harrier is well documented and it has become extremely scarce, in fact last year they became close to being extinct as a breeding bird in the UK. Only three pairs were recorded in 2017 producing ten chicks, the good news is that there were nine successful nests out of fourteen attempts this breeding season producing 34 chicks. For a more detailed update there is an excellent blog via this link http://ww2.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/skydancer/b/skydancer/archive/2018/07/31/title.aspx

Hen harrier - Tom Ballam

Coal Tips

A bittern was seen in flight on 10th October and a grey partridge also made an appearance on the same day. Goosanders are beginning to appear on the west lagoon with a maximum of twelve reported. Bearded tits continue to show on the south-east lagoon with a maximum of six being seen on a single occasion.

Flashes / Lin Dike

The cattle egret still remains on the reserve and has now been present for nine weeks; views are usually distant unless you are lucky enough to catch it on new flash.

Cattle egret - Joe Seymour

A single spoonbill made a visit to spoonbill flash on 11th October. The single whooper swan is still present, favouring new flash or spoonbill flash.

A round up of waders seen as follows, fifteen curlew, six little egret, greenshank, dunlin, two snipe, and three golden plover seen on 16th October.

Raptors noted have been hen harrier, sparrowhawk, buzzard, kestrel, red kite and two peregrines. Barn owls continue to be seen hunting over the flashes, two have been seen on some occasions.

Kestrel - Pete M

An early brambling was seen on the lin dike footpath in the area of the iron bridge and more regular sightings of two ravens in the fields beyond cedrics pool.

The 17th of October provided an irruption of bearded tits on the phalarope pool with a fantastic total of 43 birds.

Teal and wigeon numbers continue to build and a few pintail have been seen, no reports of goldeneye as yet. Two egyptian geese continue to be seen, although they can be found anywhere on the reserve.

Main Bay / Village bay

Up to 5 pintails have been seen from Charlies hide, as well as the great white egret and little egret. A sparrowhawk has also been seen patrolling the cut lane area, also noted along the lane have been two redwings and two chiffchaffs. A bittern was seen flying over village bay on 14th October, also noted on the same day were two goosander and a kingfisher. 400 gadwall were present on main bay on 10th October. A bar-headed goose was seen on main bay on 17th October, most likely an escapee but a nice bird to have on the reserve all the same.

Great white egret - Pete M

Pick up hide and visitor centre

Two woodlarks were heard calling whilst flying south by alert observers on the discovery trail on 20th October. Also reported were a siskin on 13th October and seven swallows making their way south on 15th October. Two snipe were reported from pick up hide with willow tits making more frequent visits to the feeders.

A sparrowhawk was seen to pounce on a ground feeding chaffinch and make off with its prey by the visitor centre feeders.

Visible migration

Pink-footed geese continue to be seen over the reserve with a total of 1200 being seen moving east during 17th October with 30 redwing also noted.

Other

Butterflies noted were speckled wood and small copper.            

Dragonflies noted have been migrant hawker, ruddy darter and common darter.

A noctule bat was seen flying high over the visitor centre on the afternoon of 20th October, flying a few circuits before disappearing.

Noctule bat - Joe Seymour

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