This will be first in a regular monthly roundup of all the amazing wildlife seen on our lovely reserve.
Needless to say the juvenile Baillon’s Crake that showed from the 7th-23rd stole the show and raised speculation as to whether or not the species had bred on site. With nearly 3000 visits logged it was pleasing to note that birder behaviour was exemplary.
Marsh Harriers were a daily fixture with several juveniles seen including one with wings tags from the Norfolk Broads. Hobbies entertained Crakers throughout the month and a new record count of 78 Little Egrets was made on the 9th. Also a record was the 145 Yellow-legged Gulls along the foreshore and on the landfill site on the 6th along with at least five Caspian Gulls. Nine Knot on the river on the same date was also noteworthy.
Three Tree Pipits were seen on the 13th and yellow Wagtails were seen into October. Whinchats and Wheatears were scarce and returning Stonechats arrived in the last week. A Dartford Warbler was seen on the 9th-10th and 21st and a Yellow-browed Warbler the following day made one volunteer very happy! The same day saw a Great White Egret briefly touchdown.
The 24th was a good day to be river watching with three Arctic Skuas and a superb juvenile Sabine’s Gull that lingered for most of the day. Fourteen Scoter and eight Arctic Terns added interest. The following day a Turtle Dove was a year first along with another Arctic Skua and five ruff and two brief Pectoral Sandpipers one of which was seen until the 27th. Hirundines were a big feature of the last ten days of September with daily passages of all three species reaching into the hundreds.
Both Common and Grey Seals were seen in the river and Harbour Porpoises were seen over the bigger tides. There were still Wasp Spiders to be found in eth first two weeks before Garden Orbs and the even bigger Four Spot Orbs took over! Still many butterflies around with Small Copper being the tiniest seen! Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters were abundant and no less than 12 species were seen in the second week alone during the late hot spell. Following on from August's wondrous Puss Moth caterpillar we went even bigger with two Privet Hawk Moth Cats in September!
Foxes have become problematic once again and Stoats, Weasels and unfortunately a Mink were sited. Water Voles on the other hand have been prolific!
A very showy Hobby... (Basil Thornton)