The marsh sandpiper heads the cast of waders currently present at Blacktoft. It has now been in this part of the Humber for 20 days! Today, like most of last week, singleton lagoon was the place to find this special bird. Other waders include almost 200 Black-tailed godwits, 14 spotted redshank, 65 dunlin, greenshank, ruff etc. This coming week we have highish tides in the mornings that hopefully will bring more waders onto our lagoons.
Other great birds around this week included bearded tits being seen on all lagoons, young marsh harriers playing around, sedge / reed warblers in front of reception, water rails on singleton / townend, yellow wagtails, around 14 little egrets, flocks of tree sparrows and goldfinches.
A wide variation of birds to see at Blacktoft right now. From our spoonbills to some young avocets to those spotted redshanks.
Lets start with those spoonbills. They are sleeping a lot this week - often at the back of townend. These two have been here for three weeks now. Today they left their sleeping quarters at the back of that island on singleton around 10am this morning and took a short flight to townend lagoon next door and they went back to sleep! For the rest of the day they have been sleeping or preening on that lagoon.
Avocets - they are staying longer this year and some are trying to raise young again. On marshland we have seven young avocets to been seen and some are sitting on eggs on townend so lets hope things go well for them over the coming weeks.
Waders - Those stunning spotted redshanks are still around along with black-tailed godwits, green sandpipers, snipe, redshank and that single dunlin. The screen at Ousefleet is best for viewing waders.
Marsh harriers - the first of our young harriers took a flight today. Over the coming weeks more and more of our young marsh harriers will fledge and take to amusing our visitors. The young in the nest at the back of first received a lot of food today from their parents - maybe they don't need to take off quite yet!
Bearded tits - after a hard winter we are just starting to see a few bearded tits with the first family group spotted on marshland. We have a few spaces left on tomorrow mornings bearded tit walk and on Sunday the 10th July starting at 8am where we will try to find some bearded tits. Please book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Other birds around today - little egrets, cuckoo and plenty of ducks with young including pochard.
The marsh sandpiper that was first seen at Alkborough yesterday evening has done a quick flit over to be on Ousefleet lagoon this morning. This is only the second record of this delicate southern European wader for the reserve with the first about seven years ago on Marshland lagoon. Hopefully it will stay long enough for everyone to enjoy it! We'll try and put some pics on the blog! A good bird always turns up on our visitor officers Mike Andrews day off so I'll have to put him down to a three day week to bring in a few more rarities!
In fact someone yesterday happened to mention to me that the reserve felt like the Mediterranean and indeed I have to agree! Supporting cast for the above Yorkshire rarity are the regular 2 spoonbills, 13 little egrets, 6 ruff, 13 spotted redshank, 7+ green sandpiper, 50+ black tailed godwits, 3+ greenshank, snipe, dunlin, common sandpiper, a few remaining avocet and at least till Sunday wood sandpiper. (although it still may be lurking along the edges of the lagoons).
Add to this the regular sightings of bearded tits, water rails and superb views of marsh harriers then the reserve is providing everyone with some superb birding! Last night it was great to see a male marsh harrier bring in some food for its three chicks and when one went to take the food the bird just at the last minute lifted it away! It did this several times in what I assume to be a bit of a teaching session for the youngster. The Barn owl at Marshland is also putting on a good display on an evening while the grasshopper warblers are still reeling
Good to see many people enjoying the site and its birds and wildlife at the moment Enjoy it while its good! That's my hot tip of the day!
A moody sky over the grazing marsh today!
The sizzling hot weather seems to be good for the birds at the moment! An Osprey flew high over on Friday as it did the week before and almost exactly at the same time! Maybe its going to the Golden Chippy (Shop) in Goole for last dinner time orders, I never knew ospreys were Catholic though?
Waders, are really putting on a show with a wood sandpiper and ruff now on site plus up to 8 green sandspipers, 2 greenshank. 50 black tailed godwits, 14 spotted redshank, 2 Little ringed plovers, 20+avocets being the highlights among the norm. Often side by side on Singleton and Townend lagoons are the the 2 spoonbills and last night up to 7 little egrets. The little egrets were interesting as they had a colour ringed bird which I think was one seen last year plus a juvenile bird with all Greene yellow legs and bill. A bittern was seen the middle of last week so keep an eye out for them sneaking around the edge of the reeds where you may also spot a juv water rail or two. Apologies to all the people who came to see the spoonbills on Sunday, they flew back onto the reserve at 9.15pm!
Now at last the bearded tits are starting to appear around the edges of the lagoons, yippee I hear you all cry! The good news is that with a bit of patience and luck you should have a reasonable chance of seeing the Mexican bandits of the reedbed. Best chance is on a calm still morning or evening with parties of up to ten birds showing on and off at most of the lagoons. I had excellent views of 6 birds at Townend, all were juveniles and co-incidentally it appeared there were five females and one male, amazingly as per my sighting of a brood earlier in the year (see six of the best blog). It would be nice to think that these were the birds and that they had all survived, however they could equally have all been from different broods as they had all been fledged for quite a while. It looks as though the beardies have had a good season despite the low number of pairs with maybe as many as 60 different juvenile birds present around the lagoons at the moment. Look for them near to the edge of the reed and mud but also listen out for for their distinctive pinging calls that can alert you to their presence.
Ducks are still continuing to hatch new broods with a brood of 6 pochard and 8 shoveler seen over the weekend, which is amazing as the first shoveler brood hatched is just fledging. Considering that duck broods take up to two months to fledge then this is turning out to be a very prolonged breeding season. There is also a female cuckoo about that appears to be busy laying eggs, the first time this has taken place in several years so maybe hears to a bit more Cuck-oo in springtime next year.
The supporting cast of species is also making for some varied birding at the moment with yellow wagtail, hobby, marsh harrier, buzzard, grasshopper warbler, and occasional garganey around.
And no I don't own the golden chippy so no cheap advertizing intended!
Todays action includes water rail, young marsh harriers, bearded tits, spoonbills, 12 types of waders and one or two little egrets!
Starting at the beginning - water rail. A family of young water rails (adult plus 4 very small young) were seen by many along the edge of townend this afternoon. At a similar time water rails were seen on singleton lagoon.
For bearded tits try singleton, first and marshland. They were seen at all three locations today. Remember mornings are best and just keep scanning the bottom of those reeds around the lagoons.
Then comes the young marsh harriers. Many are now taking up positions around singleton on the bushes and along the hedge looking towards the trent. They are waiting and watching for their parents to return with food. When they spot their parents, young harriers launch themselves and start chasing down their parents to be the first to get that piece of food so if it is action you are after then head to singleton and be prepared for waiting for the marsh harrier explosion as families of marsh harriers take to the air. All is quiet up at reception at the nests to the back of first with only adult birds patroling the skies above the reeds, sometimes flying around with food to try and encourage them to fly - not yet anyway but it won't be long until they join the action above the reeds at Blacktoft.
OK spoonbills, the schedule appears to be to arrive around 10am flying in over singleton and then landing on townend and sleeping for the day. They arrived at 0950 this morning and at 1015 yesterday!
12 different types of waders today including wood sandpiper, 14 spotted redshank, over 50 black-tailed godwits (some in stunning orange breeding plumage) and 4 ruff (one the same orange as the godwits so look carefully!).
And then the little egrets. Well we do have more than two. Last weekend there were 3 around - this morning there were 13. For a short time they all were present on first and viewed from reception.