The Big Year for IMF is going strong as mid-late March saw us smash through the 100 species mark for the year. Thank You.
The usual suspects - avocet (11th), sand martin (13th), wheatear (13th), chiffchaff (25th), house martin (25th), swallow (25th) - were joined by an early fall of blackcaps (14th) and the latest figure stands at 106 species for 2011.
Other additions to the list include a short-eared owl (26th) hunting our rough grassland area no doubt forced onto higher ground by the recent high tides - ua couple more hae been showing well in the nearby Chapel Fields
A barn owl was also reported hunting the same field the previous evening (25th).
The appearance of a little grebe, aka dabchick, for a couple of days is also a first for the year and actually they are not that common on this part of the reserve.
Swifts will soon arrive but what will April hold?
Last April saw lots of arrivals: willow warbler (2nd), garganey (4th), spoonbill (7th), grasshopper warbler, sedge warbler and whitethroat (all 12th), little tern (19th), osprey (23rd), hobby (25th), tree pipit (26th), yellow wagtail and common tern (30th) - a repeat would see us push the 120 mark before May!
So remember to report any interesting sightings to RSPB staff/volunteers on site and make sure we get it on the year list!
If you look beyond the reedbed and over to the far side of "IMF2" you will notice a big change in the landscape as over 8 hectares of land is being prepared to be planted with a barley crop.
This area is too dry to be part of the wetland so we got our heads together and came up with a plan that will hopefull benefit both breeding and overwintering birds and thus will help us deliver the "Big 3" for many farmland birds; safe nesting, summer food and winter food - for more info on these ideas visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/farming/advice/conservation/big3.aspx
The preparation of the ground will all be completed by 30th March ensuring that lapwings have a chance of establishing themselves to breed. The growing crop will provide nesting opportunities for 3 red-listed birds; skylark, grey partridge and yellow wagtails.
In addition the winter stubble will provide food for overwintering birds such as pink-footed geese, skylarks and many finches.
For those even more interested and wishing to see some of the strategies used to help a local farm deliver the Big 3 then check our events listings for details of a guided farmland walk on 7th May (or phone 0151 3341906 for details and to book)
Recent Sightings - Avocet x2 ... Wheatear x2 ... Sand Martin ... Spotted Redshank x2 ... Green Woodpecker (Yaffling) ... Fieldfare ...Hen Harrier
For all you snappers out there if you have any photos that you wish to proudly display in our current reception then send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org where they may be then proudly displayed on our sightings board!