The last few weeks has seen the first of the waders returning from the north. First the green sandpipers appeared, then the spotted redshank, then the ruff and now greenshank is back.
Over the last few days we have also seen a few knot and a little ringed plover so you never know what may pop in during the next few days.
Start watching for birds as you approach the entrance to the car park. Yellow wagtails have been seen recently on the road approaching the car park or catching insects just in the gate. Also many of our marsh harriers are hunting in the surrounding fields.
Then as you walk through the car park start looking out for butterflies such as the speckled wood that often favours these shady areas. Then as you cross the bank look out for more butterflies such as large skipper, ringlet, small tortoiseshell etc.
In the willows to either side of reception listen out for young birds calling to be fed by their parents. There is a lot of young sedge warblers, whitethroats and tree sparrows around at the moment.
When visiting Xerox hide scan the black-headed gull colony and you might see a mediterranean gull. We have seen one on Monday and now today. Also waders are beginning to use the newly exposed mud on xerox. The bulk of the waders remain on marshland with 2 spotted redshank, 2 ruff and 2 green sandpipers being present along with black-tailed godwit and redshank.
Also between xerox and marshland there has been a grasshopper warbler singing. A visit early or late might reward you with the sound of a grasshopper warbler.
Then down at singleton end of the reserve we have a brood of tufted ducks on the lagoon, bittern continues to be seen and great sightings of bearded tit can be had.
Ruff is the latest wader to appear at Blacktoft. He was present along with 5 spotted redshank (all black summer plumage), green sandpiper, lapwing, redshank, avocet and around 30 Black-tailed godwits.
The spoonbill also visited us for a short while during the middle part of the day. This is its fourth day of visiting marshland.
Otherwise our marsh harriers and bearded tits continue to entertain. Yellow wagtails were seen around newly cut grass searching for insects. We also had a couple of common terns over head today and 2 little egrets.
A nice morning on the reserve today with spotted redshank, yellow wagtail, bearded tit and a gilmpse of the bittern.
For waders head to marshland where this morning there were 5 spotted redshank (4 in amazing black of their summer plumage), 40 black-tailed godwit, redshank, lapwing, avocet and a green sandpiper.
Bearded tits were also showing well on marshland and they continue to be seen throughout the reedbed. Look out for low flights over the tops of the reeds or over the channels in singleton and if you are lucky they will settle at the edges offering great views.
Marsh harriers continue to offer great views over the reserve as they feed their young. Keep an eye to the sky as the males are coming in high up and then calling the female up to pass the food to her. Also watch out for our amazing female marsh harrier that appears to be feeding her young on black-headed gulls only. She has already fetched two gull chicks so far today from the black-headed gull colony on xerox - she makes it seems so easy!
Views of the lagoons are now better as the grass in front of the hides have now been cut. This has also brought us the extra bonus of yellow wagtails using these areas to find insects.
With the nice weather out again the warblers are beginning to enjoy themselves and butterflies are showing well again. This morning we had a large skipper in front of reception.
Spoonbill returned to marshland this afternoon.
This is the third time spoonbills have visited us during the last three weeks. The first time they were seen was the bank holiday in May and they spent the following day the 1st June on marshland (also a tuesday). Then last thursday we had SIX spoonbills (a reserve record) again feeding on marshland and then yesterday we had a single spoonbill also on marshland.
Spoonbills often visit Blacktoft Sands off and on during the summer months. Please keep an eye on our blog for further updates on when they visit again.