Migrants appeared today! Wheatear on south brooks, several swallows and sand martins low over the north brooks (accompanied by the background of a singing chiffchaff at the hanger viewpoint) made it all seem very springlike. Well, if it wasn't grey, murky and a tad chilly. When the sun has burst through over the last few days (afternoons have been very warm and sunny), the heath has been a great place to be - crossbills, siskins, redpolls, goldfinches and great spotted woodpeckers have all been noisy and easy to find (pic of the black pond below). Comma, brimstone and red admiral butterflies have all been on the wing. A water vole has been showing well right in front of Winpenny hide - look in the ditch directly below the window and watch for ripples in the water or listen for munching sounds! Red kite(s) have been seen virtually daily over the reserve for the last week or so.
Interestingly, the show-off water rail that has been feeding in front of the visitor centre window every day for the last few months was seen today having what can only be described as a good old flap. Behaviour we've not seen at all before this winter, and possibly a sign of an urge to migrate/move. We've assumed he or she is a winter migrant, and will head off to who-knows-where soon. Other soon to depart birds, the fieldfares and redwings are still present in decent numbers around the high fields and all of the common waterfowl (wigeon, teal, shoverler, pintail etc) are still present.