As part of our recent sightings post, once a month the Marshside Interns (myself and Hazel Watson) are going to spend a couple of hours monitoring and identifying the vast array of different species that visit the reserve . We thought it would be a bit of fun to challenge our visitors to do the same - and for you to let us know how you get on via this blog.

So this morning we set off in pretty wet and cold conditions with a view to cover the entire reserve, early mornings can give you some amazing sunrises at Marshside but not today, check out a sunrise I prepared from earlier in the week......

Sunrise by Barry Smith

In two and a half hours we didn't quite manage to cover the whole reserve, plenty of stops meant it took longer than we'd anticipated.

The challenge this month is to beat our total of 46 different species - we'd hoped to break fifty, maybe next time!! Below is a breakdown of the different birds we identified, giving you a great idea of the type of species you can expect to see while taking a stroll around the reserve.

shelduck, mallard, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pintail, moorhen, pink footed goose, greylag goose, canada goose, mute swanredshank, common snipe, black tailed godwit, golden plover, lapwing, curlew, little egret, grey heron, lesser black-backed gull, great black-backed gull, herring gull, black-headed gull, common gull, carrion crow, magpie, jackdaw, robin, song thrush, blackbird, house sparrow, dunnock, wren, starling, blue tit, pied wagtail, goldfinch, chaffinch, wood pigeon, feral pigeon, goldcrest, reed bunting, skylark, kestrel, merlin, buzzard.

Pintail by Barry Smith

For us the highlight was definitely seeing the merlin perched on a post in the outer marsh, please let us know your highlights if you get the chance - it would be great to hear from you.