Apologies for the late sightings report, we’ve had a busy week! It’s been wonderful to see so many families getting stuck in to our Wild Challenges and discovering our spring wildlife this half-term.
It looks like we’ve been saving the best until last, as over the last 24 hours we’ve had a broad-billed sandpiper and little stint on the South Levels, a wood sandpiper on the West Scrape, an Iberian chiffchaff on the border between us and Dunwich Heath, two singing Savi's warblers at Island Mere and an incredibly rare Cretzschmar’s bunting (photo by Henry Page) in the dunes near the Sluice (possibly a first UK mainland record).
Even more exciting news as we see the first Mediterranean gull (photo by Ian Barthorpe) and Sandwich tern chicks, and discovered that the large numbers of little terns (100+) has inspired a few to lay some eggs on the shingle islands of the South Scrape. More than 260 common terns are across the scrape, with around 50 Kittiwakes visiting daily. Five pochard was an unusual arrival on East Scrape on Friday, joining the shelduck, shoveler, gadwall, mallard and pair of bar headed geese with their goslings. Common gulls and little gulls continue to be seen on East Scrape too, and we had a brief visit by a Roseate tern on Thursday.
Bitterns (photo by Steve Everett) continue to put in a wonderful show at Bittern Hide, Island Mere and flying low over the North Wall. Bearded tits have also been showing well at the beach end of the North Wall and at Island Mere, plus a cheeky otter was spotted wandering down the North Wall path yesterday afternoon. Marsh harriers and hobbies can be seen hunting from both Island Mere and Bittern Hide, especially now larger numbers of dragonflies have emerged.
Several hundred sand martins are inhabiting the burrows in the sand bank, with garden warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap and willow warbler in the North Bushes nearby. Green hairstreak and holly blue butterflies can be found in the carpark enjoying the red campion and bugloss, with a broad bordered bee hawkmoth (photo by Ian Barthorpe) darting from flower to flower.
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