Welcome to the first recent sightings blog of 2022! 

Following on from last year, the reserve is bursting with birds all over the place. Since the 1st January we have recorded 127 species of birds already, 103 on New Years Day alone! Highlights from the year have included whooper swan, Bewick's swan, Slavonian grebe, black-throated diver, purple sandpiper, jack snipe, Mediterranean gull and Siberian chiffchaff. 

Car Park / Visitor Centre / Meadow Trail

Around this area are several overwintering chiffchaffs and a minimum of two Siberian chiffchaff's. With the scrub vacant of leaves the normally secretive bullfinches are showing regularly. There have been small numbers of siskings and bramblings at the top of the trees and the water rail is back in the usual ditch on the west bank path, opposite the visitor centre.

The best time to see the woodcock is early mornings or late evenings as it gets dark . 

Early morning visitors to the reserve can hear the tawny owl and perhaps see the barn owl quartering the fields.  

Bullfinch - Les Bunyan


With the mild weather the marsh harriers have become very active, including some skydancing and mating being observed. There are between 15 - 20 marsh harriers roosting across the reserve.

This week there have been two ringtail hen harriers hanging out on the saltmarsh, scraping with one and other.

Visitors have been reporting a bittern on an almost daily basis and there is a great white egret roosting on the reserve in the evenings. 

Marsh harrier - Les Bunyan

The bearded tits are very secretive at the moment, spending most of their time in parts of the reserve where there is no public access, however we did briefly hear them today along the west bank path. 

If you are very lucky you might spot one of the two otters that are in the area at the moment. 

Today (13 Jan) two flocks of white-fronted geese flew over the reserve, it is worth learning their call in case you hear an usual goose as they are on the move. 


The freshmarsh islands are alive with hundred of lapwings and golden plovers. A careful scan along the muddy edges will reveal a snipe or two and there has been the odd grey plover sneaking in amonst the other waders on the freshmarsh. Where the water levels are lower a small flock of dunlin can be seen feeding along with ringed plovers and the flocks of brent geese regularly come on for bath, otherwise they can be found on the saltmarsh or the surrounding fields. 

Golden plover - Phill Gwilliam

Volunteer marsh / tidal pool

On the tidal marsh, over 100 oystercatchers are regularly roosting on the islands along with bar-tailed godwits and knot. A red-breasted merganser has been regularly coming onto the tidal marsh for a swim about and is often accompanied by wigeon, pintail, mallard and shoveler. 

Opposite the tidal pool there have been a couple of stonechats in the bushes along with reed bunting, linnets, skylarks and rock pipits. 

A peregrine was seen on the 13th catching a black-headed gull and there has been a merlin on the Thornham saltmarsh.

Greenshank - Phill Gwilliam

Beach / Sea

Today a group was treated to a flock of 50 snow buntings moving along the beach, this is the biggest flock we have had for some time. Also on the beach are turnstones, bar-tailed godwits and sanderling. 

The sea has been quiet with a few goldeneye, fulmar, a long-tailed duck, great-crested grebe, kittiwake, red-necked grebe, red-throated diver and eider. 

Red-throated diver - Phill Gwilliam

Report your sightings

 If you are visiting why not enter your sightings on to BirdTrack. Your records support species conservation at local, regional, national, and international scales.

For more information follow the link https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack