So Christmas has been and gone and everybody is starting to feel like they need to get outdoors for some fresh air and exercise.

It appears that the snow goose may well have enjoyed the festive period here at Marshside, it was seen on Boxing day on Rimmer's Marsh along with a mixture of pink footed geese and greylag geese

Sandgrounders hide continues to provide brilliant views of our large flocks of lapwing and golden plover, along with huge amounts of wigeon and teal with the odd pochard also making an appearance. I managed to get a really good picture of a black tailed godwit while I was out working on Sutton's Marsh last week, there are good numbers of these along with curlew and plenty of common snipe.

black tailed godwit by Barry Smith

Other highlights from our Sandgrounders hide include kingfisher, bewick swan, whooper swan, little grebe and pintail. Further out towards the centre of the reserve you will see the imposing great black-backed gull sitting amongst flocks of black headed gulls and for those with a real attention to detail you may even be able to pick out the odd Mediterranean gull.

The birds of prey have been busy doing what they do, diving and swooping around the various lagoons and scattering everything in their wake. Earlier this morning I was treated to the sight of a nearby Peregrine ambushing a flock of wigeon before it settled on the grass to plot it's next attack (Giving me a brief photo opportunity - not the greatest I admit).

Peregrine by Barry Smith

We've also had some good sightings of kestrel, buzzard, sparrowhawk and merlin.

Round and about the reserve we've seen small flocks of goldfinch and greenfinch along with twite, reed bunting, a Cettis warbler, pied wagtail and a single (interesting) sighting of a ring necked parakeet.

Happy new year from all of the staff and volunteers at Marshside, lets hope 2017 is a good one - All the best.