The most notable bird around the reserve over the last fortnight turns out to be a raptor again, a female merlin making a couple of appearances in front of Lin Dike hide. The first sighting was on Sunday 28th October where it decided to have a bath in front of lucky onlookers; the second sighting was a week later on Saturday 3rd November to strike a pose. The merlin is the smallest European falcon, often seen flying low and rapidly over open country at lightning speed giving chase to small birds. Meadow pipits appear to be the predominant bird prey with up to 90% of birds taken, but a merlin will also catch small mammals such as voles, mice and shrews.

Merlin - Jimmy Shaw

Coal Tips

Bearded tits continue to show infrequently on the south-east lagoon with a maximum of four being seen on a single occasion. A cetti’s warbler has taken up residence on the tips and has been heard regularly, also noted were two goldeneye on 25th October and eight whooper swans on big hole on 23rd October. Thirty one goosanders were present on the west lagoon on 3rd November. Keep your eyes open along the tips as quite often green woodpeckers will be perched on the fence, it pays to look ahead otherwise you will just see a green back as it flies off!

Green woodpecker - Pete M

Flashes / Lin Dike

The cattle egret still remains on the reserve and has now been present for eleven weeks and does move around the flashes frequently. Two great white egrets have been seen on occasions, there seems to be one who is content with Fairburn and another indecisive bird who likes to put appearances in at St Aidans as well.

Great white egret - Keith Boyer

A round up of waders seen as follows, eighteen curlew, eight little egret, three snipe and numerous lapwings.

Raptors noted have been merlin, sparrowhawk, three buzzard, two kestrels, two red kite, peregrine and marsh harrier.

Kestrel - Pete M

Teal and wigeon numbers continue to build and shovelers are slowly increasing. Two Egyptian geese continue to be seen, although they can be found anywhere on the reserve. Up to five pink-footed geese have been seen, usually mixed in with flocks of greylag geese. Parties of whooper swans have been dropping in, the most being thirteen on 22nd October. The resident whooper swan hasn’t been swayed and can usually found on either Spoonbill or New Flash.

Teal - Pete M

Flocks of linnets and reed buntings can also been seen flitting around, quite often in mixed flocks. Worth checking out in case yellowhammers have joined, a good sighting for Fairburn. A grey wagtail was also seen on New Flash on 28th October.

Reed bunting - Pete M

Main Bay / Village bay

Up to ten pintails and three snipe have been seen on Main Bay. Village Bay and the Cut Lane area has produced six goldeneye, tufted-red crested pochard hybrid, two kingfishers, and marsh harrier. Good numbers of gadwall from Charlies hide with around 500 present on 1st November as well as around fifty wigeon.

Pick up hide and visitor centre

A sparrowhawk has been seen frequenting the feeders by the visitor centre again, why not stakeout and catch some action with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, just an idea! Two stonechats were seen on or around the fence line from Pick Up hide on 31st October.

Stonechat - Pete M

Visible migration

Pink-footed geese continue to be seen over the reserve with a total of 380 being seen overhead. Other notable overflights reported were three rooks, thirty skylarks, forty five whooper swans (total), nine golden plover, fifty redwings, two siskins and a brambling.

Other

Butterflies noted were speckled wood, red admiral and small copper.            

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

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