Although the Summer Solstice is now past the reserve is still very much in the frenzy of summer bird activity. The wading birds are pretty good for mid June with 10 spotted redshank (still in stunning plumage), a male ruff (with collar), 24 black tailed godwit, 58 avocet (plus 10 chicks), 2 snipe, 2 green sandpipers, plus the usual lapwing and redshank. Curlew have been much in evidence recently as they fly West to Morecambe bay on their moult migration, often detected by their bubbling call over 50 birds have been counted in a day this week. Some of these birds will be returning from the Nordic countries but others may have been 1st or 2nd year birds that often summer on the Humber. The reason why many of these birds go to Morecambe Bay is that it has a higher than average amount of food of food at this time of year and this aids quick replacement of feathers and there is a massive expance of mudflat where the birds are relatively safe from predators. They can often be accompanied by bar tailed godwit, oystercatcher and on a late evening common scoter, so make sure you scan over any passing flock just to make sure of your ID.
The spoonbills have been playing hide and seek with birds showing exceptionally some days and then being absent during the day on others but then returning on an evening. The drake garganey has reappeared on Singleton lagoon but now in full moult, but where is the female? Fingers crossed she is trying to raise a brood somewhere deep in the murkey reedbed pools the management team create through late summer reedcutting operations. The Shoveler broods are also doing well which excellent news for a species that has had some very bad breeding seasons recently. Plenty of marsh harrier activity too at the moment with both the males and females going out to catch prey for the growing young, (the females usually guard the young until they are about three weeks old often depending on the males to go out to hunt on the arable fields). The adults often start to look ragy at this time of the year mainly as they always seem to start moulting their main primaries (wing feathers) when they feed away from the nest. Maybe it's due to the need for plenty of food to help feed growing feathers as well as chicks.
Some good news from Reads Island recently with a report of at least 50 young avocet feeding along the edge of the island. After a terrible start to the breeding season here the avo's have really dug deep to hatch out these young in lagoons that are mostly dry, something that is very unusual. But it's a great example how prime habitat and a bit of habitat creation can work together to give those perfect conditions, even in 'poor' years. There's still a way to go before the young fledge though but I for one am rooting for the little Kloots, a dutch name for avocet, apologies to the Dutch if I've spelt it wrong!
A nice bit of Bio-diversity after the recent rains - rehydrated Auricularia auricula-judae