A quieter fortnight with a steady flow of migrants passing through, although most have been either single sightings or overflights. Wheatears in particular have been very elusive and difficult to find this year, although we seem to have greater numbers of garden warblers and lesser whitethroats with their songs filling the air in most areas of the reserve, every cloud….

Garden Warbler - Keith Boyer


Up to six spoonbills have been reported on the moat, please view from the Coal Tips viewing area and be patient; they can be quite well hidden. New Flash sightings have been of garganey, barnacle goose, two black-tailed godwit and a black tern on 8th May. Spoonbill Flash has produced yellow wagtail, dunlin, two black-tailed godwit, little ringed plover, pintail, up to four avocet, two little egret, four oystercatchers and a return visit of the female bufflehead which was seen on three separate days.

Spoonbill - Pete M

Raptors noted have been peregrine, sparrowhawk and four buzzards. Overflights have been interesting with a whimbrel and mediterranean gull both seen heading east. A water rail was seen on Cedrics Pool on 7th May and four egyptian geese were seen in the moat field on 5th May. Counts around the flashes have been ten shelduck, 52 mute swans (Spoonbill & Hicksons Flashes), 100+ greylag geese with 45 young and five pairs of little egrets in the heronry.

Greylag & barnacle goose - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

Waders recorded on Main Bay have been four common sandpiper, three ringed plover, wood sandpiper on 6th May, six dunlin, two little ringed plover, redshank, two oystercatchers, and ten avocets with four chicks. Arctic terns have continued to pass through with two seen on 9th and 11th May along with up to ten common terns. A goldeneye was noted on 7th May and the following a day a yellow wagtail made an appearance with a little gull passing through on 11th May. Overflights have been of a common gull on 6th May and a whimbrel on 9th May, both heading east. Counts of 250+ swallows and a similar number of sand martins were made on 7th May.Two lesser whitethroats have been seen along Cut Lane with the two cetti’s warblers still being heard.

Sand martin - Keith Boyer

Coal Tips

Regular sightings of bitterns have been made around the lagoons; most of the sightings have been of birds in flight so keep a look out. Up to three cuckoos have also been seen around the tips; it pays to look ahead whilst you are walking as they are often seen perched on fence posts. The red-crested pochard has been on several occasions on different lagoons, bearded tits have also made more regular appearances on the south-east lagoon. Big Hole has produced two arctic tern and common tern, with a greenshank making an appearance on 10th May followed by a little gull on 13th May. A black tern headed north-east on 8th may and a single wheatear was seen briefly on 10th May. Raptors noted have been an osprey heading north-east on 14th May and a hobby and sparrowhawk on 15th May.

Skylark - Pete M

Discovery Trail and visitor centre

A cetti’s warbler and two garden warblers were seen in the car park area on 6th May. Nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker have been visiting the feeders at the visitor centre, and kingfishers have been seen at the screen on a couple of occasions. Raptors noted have been three buzzards and a red kite.

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Current list of butterflies reported on the reserve are orange tip, peacock, green veined white, speckled wood, comma, small tortoiseshell, brimstone, small copper, dingy skipper, holly blue, and brown argus.

Sightings around the reserve of large red damselfly, azure damselfly, four spotted chaser, banded demoiselle, and ruby tail wasp.

Four spotted chaser - Keith Boyer


Bees noted have been early bumblebee, large earth bumblebee, common carder bee and tree bumblebee

A brown hare was seen on Main Bay heath with two noted on Moat field the same day. A roe deer was seen from Pick Up hide and two mink have been reported on the Coal Tips.