The increasingly cold weather has brought many more wildfowl to the reserve over the past week. Burrowes pit has been heaving with wigeon, shovelers, pochards. teal, gadwall and pintail, whilst the ARC pit has hosted at least five goldeneyes and yesterday 11 Bewick's swans paid a brief visit. Three black-necked grebes on Denge Marsh and a merlin and barn owl near the access track have been the pick of the bunch elsewhere around the site.
PS If you're thinking of buying a new pair of binoculars or a 'scope this winter why not pay us a visit this weekend for our optics demo event?
On a grey and cold day things were brightened no end by a male brambling that hung around the feeding station from early morning until dusk. Another splash of colour was provided by a kingfisher at Denge Marsh, where a bittern was also seen. Small flocks of siskins have been seen flying over throughout the week and larger flocks of goldfinches were present across the reserve.
I wonder how many of todays birders were members of the YOC? The Young Ornithologists Club (YOC) has become the Wildlife Explorers Club (WEx) and although the name may have changed, the enthusiasm of the young people who come along, for nature and the environment certainly shows no sign of diminishing.
Come rain or shine, our merry band of children arrive at the reserve each month ready to explore the nature trail, finding new and exciting wildlife as they go followed by fun and games with their friends inspired by the great outdoors.
Last weekend we headed out to the wildlife hides with the promise of a glimpse of the great white egret. Skipping along the trail ,pointing out several species of wildfowl on the dipping pond, we were treated to amazing views of a female marsh harrier flying low over the islands sending hundreds of wigeon and shovelor skyward in an explosion of noise and colour. "Wow! That was like watching fireworks!" came a small voice.
Our WEx group meets on the middle Saturday of each month from 10.00 am till 12 noon. If you have a young person aged between 7 and 12 who would like to come along please give me a call at the reserve (01797 320588) to find out more.
Two bitterns and three Bewick's swans at the ARC site, another bittern at Denge Marsh, a merlin at Hooker's pits and 20 siskins flying over were today's highlights. Also of note this week: up to five goldeneyes, great white egret, little gull and firecrest.