With the 2019 breeding season at an end, it’s time to look back at a season of successes and notable absences.

To our great joy our pre-dawn bittern surveys back in April quickly picked up two booming males; one on Holywell and one on Elney. These two boomers kept going throughout April and into May, although we were unable to conclusively confirm if either had attracted a female to successfully breed. Whilst a pair of marsh harrier were seen on several occasions back in March and April, sadly they did not appear to build a nest this year. Nightingale were also absent this year, but we are busy planning some habitat management and creation work for the 2019-20 winter period to hopefully attract them back for next year. Turtle dove were once again present with the presumed same individual being heard in several spots around the main reserve.

Black-headed gull and common tern returned and made good use of our renovated tern rafts and newly fenced islands on Moore Lake and Ferry Mere with breeding numbers of both species up on last year. Two pairs of lesser black-backed gull, scarce breeders, also nested, one each on Moore Lake and Ferry Mere, fledging two young. Waders also had a better year than 2018 with lapwing successfully fledging four young on Ferry Mere, oystercatcher fledging two youngsters on Moore Lake and redshank fledging two more on Ferry Mere.

Away from our monitored species, waterfowl seemed to have a good year, as did the resident and migrant songbirds nesting in the hedgerows all around the reserve.

As we head into the autumn, we will be carrying out management work around the reserve to keep it in top condition for 2020.