The main event at the reserve at the moment is the starling murmuration, between 10000 and 20000 have been reported over the recent weeks. It’s advisable to be up on the Coal Tips by 14.45 – 15.00 to watch the incoming starlings perform. Please be warned that it can be very cold at dusk so please dress accordingly and stay warm.

Flashes

The cattle egret was last seen on the 21st November and there have been no further sightings in the area.  A great egret has taken up residency and can be seen most days around the flashes. Little egrets are scarce around the reserve with only three recent sightings being either on the Moat or on Hicksons Flash.

Great egret - Pete M

Up to three whooper swans have also been seen with at least one being happy to have an extended stay. A single pink-footed goose made a brief appearance on 20th November. Raptors noted have been red kite, marsh harrier, kestrel, buzzard and barn owl. Other notable sightings have been of a single grey partridge (very scarce on the reserve), 275 lapwings, willow tit, redwing, fieldfare and eight mistle thrush on 24th November.

Whooper swan - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

The only sightings of note on Main Bay were of two peregrines and four goldeneye on 17th November.

A maximum of six goosander and two goldeneye were reported on Village Bay on 21st November. Sightings along Cut Lane have been of two kingfisher, sparrowhawk, two water rail and two chiffchaffs.

Goldeneye - Pete M

Coal Tips

A bittern has been seen fairly regularly in flight around the lagoons, it pays to keep your eyes open as they are not in the air for long as they move between the reed beds. Up to four bearded tits have been reported, as well as three lesser redpoll, three water rail and two meadow pipits. Raptors noted have been kestrel and sparrowhawk.

Visitor Centre

Some good sightings from Pick Up hide, a marsh harrier on 19th November, a bittern flew in to roost on 21st November and a barn owl was seen on 26th November. A single whooper swan has been seen on a number of occasions, presumably the same bird seen around the flashes. A tawny owl was seen in flight along the discovery trail on 21st November having been heard on previous evenings, no further reports since then.

Tawny owl - Pete M (library photo)

Notable sightings around the visitor centre in the area of the feeders have been of nuthatch, willow tit, treecreeper, goldcrest and a hunting sparrowhawk. Three lesser redpoll and a single siskin on the discovery trail on 28th November.

Willow tit - Pete M

Overflights

Six whooper swan over east on 17th November, single avocet over east 27th November, two skeins of pink-footed geese of around 35 and 150 birds over east 29th November.

Roosts

200+ jackdaws on the moat and 64 goosander on coal tips 24th November.

2500+ herring gull on main bay on 25th November.

Other

Roe deer were seen on the Coal Tips on 19th November and a fox on 21st November, the latter also seen from Pick Up hide on 29th November. Cut Lane sightings on 21st November were of two bank voles and a single fox.

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