April fool makes me so happy!

Blacktoft Sands

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Charlie's Blacktoft Blog

I'm the visitor experience officer at Blacktoft Sands

April fool makes me so happy!

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Yes folks it seems that the begining of April is playing a cruel trick on those of us who thought the weather would never change, so who's the fool then! RAIN, RAIN beautiful wet and cooling rain, everything a Wetland Manager would want to help bring things back to normal and hopefully get the reserves water levels up to where they should be at this time of year. We still need quite a bit more though so I'm also having a quiet word with Neptune to try and arrange a bit of a surge tide in the near future!

The wetter the better makes a lot of sense on the Humber reserves where our birds need plenty of water at the beginning of the breeding season plus soft ground so that wading birds can probe their beaks into  it for food. High tides also bring in many shrimps and fish for our hungry waterbirds such as bittern, avocet and little grebe. The hot dry weather may have being very nice for us to get out and about and top up our tans but for many wetland birds, insects and amphibians it has been nothing short of a disaster so early in the year with many struggling in the dry conditions. Strange really but much of our wildlife like's the weather a bit worse than we do and is reliant on conditions that we tend not to like, like rain and average temperature's! So I'm feeling quite happy today that hopefully this accursed drought has relented just a little and given us on the Humber some hope that the wetlands will start to become wet again!

In terms of the birds there has been a lot of recent activity from our star species such as bittern, avocet and marsh harrier all putting on spectacular shows at times. At least four bearded tits were also seen yesterday at Singleton while little egret and buzzard have also been regular.

The little gull has seemed to have taken up semi residence on site too so don't forget to sort through the black headed gulls to find him/her. Waders have been thin on the ground this spring to say the least (probably due to the drought conditions) but there are at least a few regular black tailed godwits visiting on occasions and a handful of snipe and curlew still around. Breeding duck numbers are building up too with more shoveler and gadwall about than for a while and the great crested grebes are currently putting on their stunning breeding dances at Xerox.   

Migrants are slow but then again it is only the beginning of April! (mother nature fooling us again to expect the migrants back too early). Still up to 3 blackcaps are singing on the reserve along with regular chiffchaffs and occassional sand martins.

Below - Ousefleet flash should have a bit more water on than this hopefully soon, even if the Koniks are enjoying the mud!

And finally - farewell to our Assistant Warden Mhairi (bottom right) who finishes at the end of the week to start a new post at Hodbarrow in Cumbria. Good luck and thanks for all your work


  • About time it rained ! Hopefully the last 24 hours will help Pete