July, 2011

Blacktoft Sands

Blacktoft Sands
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Charlie's Blacktoft Blog

I'm the visitor experience officer at Blacktoft Sands
  • Marsh Sandpiper - still at home at Blacktoft!

    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.








  • The Arctic Tunda and Snow flurries in July!

    Every day on site seems to change at the moment with most of the birds seen earlier in the week, apart from curlew sandpiper, still present (see last couple of blogs for full details). The curlew sandpiper fligged* off on Tuesday night, calling madly before it flew south as the evening light faded.

    Last night the constant chew chew chew calls of the six greenshank filled the air and instantly transported me in mind and soul to the Arctic Tundra. I've always had this in my mind from when I was a teenager growing up near Doncaster with greenshank always seeming wild and free and able to take take me in my thoughts to wild places I would have loved to have visited. Then over in the distance I saw a massive cloud of white 'snow flakes' swirling around, when I got my bins on them it was a huge flock of over 3000 black headed gulls, quite breathtaking against the green verdancy of the reedbed and lincolnshire wolds. At that moment the Tundra had come to me..............

    Going back to Greenshank, they always make me think about life too for some strange reason. I don't have a favourite bird but I do often wonder what bird I would like to come back as if I could be reborn back into the circle of life. Greenshank as you may have guessed seems to be the favourite but there are two other contenders, common swift and gannet! All three contenders are wild wanderers and maybe this is why I favour them more than any other? Swifts do often have a problem with flat flies though which may be a down side and maybe gannets are just too exciting for me, so possibly greenshank just edges in front at the moment. I rather doubt anyone else has given this much thought but if you have then why not let me know what you would like to be and why? If you can't post a comment on the blog then e-mail me at pete.short@rspb.org.uk.

    * The word fligged means to fly off - something that we used to say as kids, probably not a real word but it brings back a few memories!

    Below - A couple of greenshank with redshank and lapwing - Could that be me one day?!!

  • Marsh Sandpiper makes the reserve feel like the Med!

    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!