Whilst my previous blog post focused on the habitat management work at the reserve I thought that an update on the wildlife sightings was long overdue, so here's an overview of what's been seen over the past week or so.
As the water levels have been rising, the number of ducks has been increasing with good numbers of wigeon and teal now on site and a few shoveler and pintail in amongst them.
Teal are currently the most numerous of the ducks. (Photo: Chris Prince)
The winter waders are also on the increase with lapwing, snipe and black-tailed godwit numbers creeping up in the right direction. Still a couple of green sandpipers passing through as well - although they'll struggle to find muddy edges now the pools are full.
The most popular sighting over the past week has been the Kingfisher. There are at least two on site and they have been seen from both Nettley's hide and Winpenny hide. Kingfisher sightings tend to be sporadic here so for them to have been seen daily is fantastic.
Kingfisher at Winpenny Hide - photographed by Graham Osborne a couple of years ago.
I haven't yet seen a photo of this months Kingfishers so if you do manage to take a picture I'd love to see it!
As you explore keep an eye out for birds of prey - marsh harrier, peregrine, kestrel, buzzard and sparrowhawk are all regulars at this time of year - and as I started to write this blog a radio call came in from one of our volunteers with a sighting of a merlin. One of our wardens also saw a little owl this morning - keep a look out around the field in front of the Visitor Centre and at West Mead hide.
Water voles continue to perform - look at Redstart Corner pond and in the ditch in front of Nettley's Hide.
No big influx of redwings or fieldfares yet but there do seem to be more goldcrests in the hedgerows and trees now. Always check these tiny ever-moving birds carefully in case one is a firecrest or event a yellow-browed warbler. We had a possible sighting of the latter on Thursday in the adder alley area.
Goldcrest (Photo: Anne Harwood) Firecrest (Photo: Chris Prince)
Whilst it is not the time for bird song (if you are missing the beautiful sounds of our songbirds then try out the RSPB's birdsong radio) you can still bird by ear - several people have heard the 'kronking' of ravens this week.
The rain has meant that there is plenty of fungi - my fungi trail continues until the end of the month with current highlights being amethyst deceiver, fly agaric, penny bun and coconut milkcaps.
Fly agaric (Photo: Anna Allum)
On a slightly different note, I'm sorry to report that we're going to have to close our composting toilet for the winter. It has been a 'popular' facility on the reserve and the pits are now full. We had arranged for them to be emptied, however the heavy rain created boggy conditions (excuse the pun) and the vehicle was unable to access the site. We'll now need to wait until spring when vehicle access will be possible. Please accept our apologies - we'll plan better next year.
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