A more typical April week has seen plenty of rain, bouts of hail and a colder wind but still plenty of migrants turning up for the breeding season or passing through. Better numbers of Martins and Swallows throughout the week, although they must be wondering what they're doing here, with it being so cold and wet.
The first Swift was seen on Saturday 14th passing over the reserve and cuckoos were also seen and heard on the reserve last weekend. There's also been an influx of Reed Warblers this week and their numbers will begin to grow steadily over the next couple of weeks. Whitethroats too are now more obvious - the best sightings, like most years, is in the brambles opposite the 1st platform. The railway line trees also continues to be a great spot for song birds, with Song Thrush, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and all our more common birds singing their hearts out. 2 Hobbys were also seen this week: one on the northern edge of the reserve and one just of the reserve at the eastern end.
Last weekend also saw Peregrine passing over the reserve and another was seen on a few occasions on Weds this week disturbing groups of Shoveler and other ducks. Around the same time a female Marsh Harrier was also seen hunting over the reserve - both these would have been visible from the 2nd platform. Male and female Marsh Harriers have been seen throughout the week.
A drake Garganey also showed well from the 1st platform last weekend and the early part of this week with a possible 2nd (or maybe the same bird) seen in Waltons also. The Blue-winged Teal was also spotted last weekend and early in this week and volunteer John Crispin managed to get this shot, but not sure of its current whereabouts:
The 1st platform still seems to be the best spot for Bittern sightings at the moment. Bitterns have been seen walking between the cut gaps in the reed on several occasions and last weekend a Water Rail did this aswell. There's still plenty of booming and a few flights from birds at various locations around the reserve.
Kingfishers have been spotted at at least 3 different locations this week, with the railway bridge still bringing success but also around Waltons and to the right of the 1st platform on the canal path. Bearded Tits have also been seen at several locations this week in the non-public areas. Had some great sightings myself of 2 males with at least 3 other birds as well as other small groups and individuals. Unfortunately there have been no sightings reported from the public areas this week, but rest assured there seem to be plenty of birds out there doing very well.
Great White Egrets are still seen most days often feeding either in front of the 1st platform or more distantly from the 2nd.
Also this week: a Barn Owl during the guided walk last Sunday at the first wood along the canal path, Kestrel, Bullfinch in trees by Street Heath (the area next to Loxtons to the east), Linnets in the tree by the 1st platform, Weasel also by 1st platform, nesting Great Crested Grebe from Loxtons screen, Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Coots with young in Waltons.
Marsh Frogs can also be heard croaking away, with Waltons in particular always a good spot. Another of John Crispin's photos to show you what to look out for:
It's makes an unusual noise, so if you hear a sound you're not quite sure of a Marsh Frog could be the answer. Have a great weekend!