We're two thirds of the way into 2017 now and the Kingfishers look determined to go for broke and squeeze in one last brood before the breeding season comes to an end. Their second brood of 5 youngsters fledged on the 27th (they already had 5 in their first brood back at the end of May, so they're doing well), and since then the adults have been seen mating repeatedly on several occasions; with a bit of luck they'll be able to raise one final brood this year before their breeding season comes to a close.
There's been a noticeable change in the waterfowl populations recently; we've had several Garganey appear in groups, primarily on the Draper hide although there have been sightings on the Gadwall Hide as well. We've also been starting to see Shovelers appearing sporadically across the site; all females currently and again, as with the Garganey most of the sightings have been from the Draper hide.
Waders are also having something of a boom in numbers lately. Over the last week or so we've had consistent numbers of both Common and Green Sandpipers, sometimes congregating into groups of 5 individuals across several scrapes around the reserve. We've also had multiple sightings of Snipe from several hides too, and a few fleeting glimpses of a juvenile Little Ringed Plover tottering about; not an easy spot, but quite possibly the cutest bird we have on the reserve at the moment!
Most of the Black Headed Gull and Common Tern chicks have gotten big enough to move on to new areas now, so the rafts are much quieter these days, barring a few late hatchers. We have however got at least one pair of juvenile Lesser Black Backed Gulls who are trying their hardest to make up for the lack of ruckus! They seem to be not far off fledging at this stage; apparently a diet of chips is exactly what growing gulls need! Well, provided they Magpies don't get in and pinch them first!
Last but not least, we've had an influx of Little Egrets around the reserve recently. They've been scarcely seen over the last few months, but now they're back and strutting around in full view. They're such eye-catching and sleek looking birds, and it's always a pleasure when they decide to stick around on the reserve.
Kingfisher - Katy Smith, Garganey & Little Ringed Plover - Vicky Buckel, all others - James Hamilton
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