It was such a nice evening that I thought I would have a bit of time relaxing down at the reserve watching our stars in action.
A quick visit to marshland hide, to have a look at those avocets (a must at this time of year). These fasinating birds are now sitting on eggs and seemed well behaved tonight with little noise. Here is a photo of one of those islands on marshland with all those avocets sitting on eggs.
Next up was a walk up to Ousefleet taking in our mammals on the walk up there. From Ousefleet hide, one of our barn owls was out hunting and I managed to take a picture (rather distant but still a pleasure to see anyday).
Then back down towards singleton to watch our marsh harriers hunting for that last meal of the day. On route there I spent time looking in the willows and the reeds to either side of the trails for our warblers. Singing away were whitethroat, reed warbler, sedge warbler and grasshopper warbler.
Mornings and evenings tend to be the best time to watch the action at Blacktoft Sands. Gates open at 9am and close at 9pm so plenty of time to watch our wildlife. And this saturday you can get onto the reserve a little bit earlier at 8am instead of 9am so an extra hour to look for those warblers.
Earlier today, there were dunlin and whimbrel at Ousefleet, 2 little gulls around and several sightings once again of our bitterns.
A quick update of the action from today at Blacktoft.
Quite a few people have been asking me how the ponies are at the moment and this made me realize that I had'nt blogged about them for a while. So here is a brief update along with a few photo's.
The 'boys' as they are now affectionately known are quite in their element here at Blacktoft in the spring, chasing each other around and fighting like all little (or not so little) boys tend to do when out in the countryside! They seem to know the Sands like the back of their hoofs after only 6 months here and quite happily charge around at full pelt with the confidence that they are'nt going to run into anything. When they are in full flow they are quite magnificant and seem truly wild and free. So for those of you who have'nt managed to visit for a while here goes.
Its been quite nice recently on the reserve, that is compared with the last few weeks of cold and rain. Mornings have felt lovely and warm once the frosts have ebbed away and the sunsets have been at times breathtaking. Good to start seeing a few different migrants too with an Osprey heading north at the weekend and cuckoo in yesterday.
Its also a great time to come to see the warblers with reed, sedge, grasshopper and whitethroat all singing and showing well in the mornings and evenings. The odd wheatear at Ousefleet has brightened up the grassland and a host of yellow wagtails arrived on Saturday, unfortunately they seemed to prefer standing on the the road rather than on the reserve!
A few waders starting to trickle through with about 20 summer plumaged dunlin at Ousefleet yesterday with 4 ringed plover. Also a nice whimbrel in with the curlew.
Stars of the show seem to be the short eared owls and barn owls at the moment with some excellent sightings to be had. The barn owl came within about four feet of the hide the other day and I could swear that it looked in to see if anything was in there!
The Marsh harriers and Avocets continue to put on a fantastic show while the ring tail hen is still about plus hobby on and off trying to catch the swallows and martins. The bitterns seem to be stopping booming now (about the usual time here) but people are still getting good views from time to time.
Last but not least an arctic tern was sitting on Ousefleet this morning.
Our local mammal population is putting on a great show at the moment so keep those cameras at hand to take a snap of the hares, roe deer and foxes.
Below a few record snaps from the last few days
Shortie on his favourite pearch and sheep - Ousefleet!
Sunset - Tuesday evening
and Roe's in the reedbed
This past month has seen incredible action from the marsh harriers at Blacktoft Sands and here is some of my favourite photos taken from the gallery or from emails that I have received over the last month. Hope you like them.
Lets start with this fantastic shot sent in by Mr H.F. Bardsley of a male marsh harrier:
One of our regulars at adding photos to our gallery is Neil and he captured this wonderful shot of that male marsh harrier that seems taken with those bushes between townend and singleton. Here he is having a rest:
Another one of our regulars is Litenheat. He has captured a series of photos of this male (I think) mating. These are not featured here but if you would like to have a look just click here. Meanwhile here is one of his photos of a male carrying a bit of nesting material. They have spent they last few weeks doing a lot of this:
And lastly, in my highlights section here is this wonderful shot of a marsh harrier being chased by avocets taken by Goodnitegirl.
Thanks to all of you who have shown your wonderful photos on the gallery or emailed us with your great shots.
The challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to get that top marsh harrier shot - the aerial food pass. This month is one of the best times to see this at the reserve.
To view many more marsh harrier photos, take a look at our gallery.