This afternoon a spoonbill flew into our singleton lagoon where currently a siege of little egrets have taken residence during the last few weeks. The spoonbill arrived had a little feed and then went to sleep (what they like doing!) and that is the way I left it at half five this evening. The peak count of little egrets on singleton was last Saturday where 19 were counted all on the same lagoon. Today we managed 12 so the challenge is to reach 20. It is amazing that only ten years ago a little egret was a rare sight in Yorkshire and now we have so many using the reserve to feed. Have a look at the following photo showing only a small part of singleton lagoon.
Today also saw us watching a tawny owl roosting in the car park. It had to put up with blackbirds, magpies, chaffinches and blue tits all trying to shift it but it stayed put.
Waders today included 12 spotted redshank, 19 ruff, 7 green sandpipers, 200 or so lapwing, snipe, redshank, whimbrel, greenshank, dunlin, black-tailed godwit and little ringed plover. Every so often a hobby or a marsh harrier caused everything to move especially the lapwing which get spooked very quickly.
Bearded tits also still present all over the place.
Wader update - Monday 26th July
Our waders have been changing from their breeding plumage into what they will wear in the winter. It is a great time to spot ruff, spotted redshank and dunlin in the inbetween.
With around 20 ruffs around it is a great time to learn how to spot this strange bird that does not look quite right. Ruffs show a great variation in plumages which makes it all the more tricky - so with so many ruff you can try and figure out if that one is a ruff or if that other birds is also a ruff. They appear to be camped out on marshland at the moment.
Another ticky wader is the spotted redshank - with around 11 on the reserve at the moment it is a great time to learn how to spot this bird from the other R waders, the redshank and the ruff. They are now only showing hints of that black summer plumage.
Dunlin have been appearing on the reserve in around 30 plus numbers - some are young.
Other waders around include the greenshank, green sandpiper, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, avocets (some days) and snipe. Overhead listen out for oystercatcher, golden plover, whimbrel and curlew.
Blacktofts wader locations: screen at ousefleet (greenshank), marshland (ruff and spotted redshank), xerox (snipe, redshank, lapwing), first (green sandpiper).
Best time for waders: This week the best tides are in the morning (we are open from 9am). Waders can be seen throughout the day - the counts above were made when the tide was out (5pm)
Other bird news from Blacktoft. Bearded tits were everywhere again today, we are at record levels of 20 little egrets for blacktoft, yellow wagtails have been seen in many locations, hobby has been visiting daily and our young marsh harriers are trying to hunt.
Water rails have been delighting visitors on xerox this week where there have been two broods of young water rails showing really well. This evening we spotted the second brood with very small black chicks moving along the edge of the reeds behind all those waders. Also on xerox were young yellow wagtails and bearded tits have been seen there all day. Waders on xerox include 9 spotted redshank, 14 ruff, 30 dunlin, 8 snipe and of course the little stint. So escape to the xerox lagoon at Blacktoft to enter the world of water rails and waders and more.
Elsewhere - up to 8 little egrets have been present on singleton, young marsh harriers are about all over the place, bearded tits still seen well on marshland and hobby has been visiting daily.
A day early for my wader update as off tomorrow. This weekend has seen 14 species of wader on the reserve - mainly using marshland, xerox and first. Totals as follows:
Other birds news - young yellow wagtails around, a young cuckoo has been seen both days, hobby visiting ofter, at least 200 sand martins over the reserve towards the end of the day (gates locked 9pm), 5 little egret, bearded tits seen well at marshland and young marsh harriers all over the place - some now trying to hunt.
Butterflies - plenty of commas today, red admiral, green-veined white, small tortoiseshell and peacock.
Have fun waders watching
Around 20 young marsh harriers have now taken to the skies above Blacktoft Sands. Since the first youngster was spotted on the 1st of July more and more have started to learn to fly. More could still start appearing over the coming weeks.
Our earliest fliers are now becoming very good at flying - the ones out the front of reception flies anywhere from in front of Ousefleet to the back of Townend. These three are one of the most advanced family groups on the reserve and are now beginning to show signs of trying to hunt - not very successful but at least they are trying. Another of the advanced families down at singleton are following the parents out of the reserve as they go hunting over the farmland but they are not too confident as they often return to their perch along the hedgerow and watch for their returning parents. Most of the other family groups are in the stage of sitting around waiting for their parents and then chasing them to be fed - quite often three chicks can be seen chasing their mother or father above the reeds.
This Sunday we are having a special event to celebate the success of the marsh harriers at Blacktoft Sands. The event 'Flight of the young harriers' will show you how to distinguish between males, females and the youngsters and you will learn amazing facts about marsh harriers. Join us from 11am to 4pm on Sunday.
On the wader front today - we had 10 species. 10 spotted redshank, 14 ruff, 30 dunlin and a greenshank that seems to have walked miles today - as you can now see into the corner of xerox since we have cut some of the vegetation and this greenshank kept walking between the edge of the lagoon to the island and back again all day.
Other birds of interest include yellow wagtails on marshland, little egrets, barns owls hunting in the evening, around 100 sand martins roosting in the reedbed (this will likely increase so keep an eye on our blog for further information about this) and of course our bearded tits still giving good views particularly on marshland.
Enjoy watching marsh harriers, bearded tits and the waders at Blacktoft Sands at the moment. Moths tomorrow.