In the last week, there has been an amazing westerly movement of waxwings through the reserve. In the last 7 days, we have recorded over 200 birds passing through.
Waxwing is a species that breeds in woodlands throughout Scandinavia east through Siberia towards the Pacific but leaves these areas in winter in search of its favoured food, rowan berries.
All of the birds have been seen flying over with the starling flocks. With a bit of practice, they can be located by their high-pitched trilling call and stand out within a flock as they are much paler.
With the hedgerows and orchards full of fruit at the moment and a large numbers of thrushes, starlings and finches, the old wives tale of an impending cold winter, may be true.
The sight of a thirty ton crane is pretty impressive but thankfully it is not of the avian (Grus grus) kind. A thirty ton bird would be pretty devastating to the foodchain of the reserve. So why do we have a large crane on site? Well its the next exciting phase of the coastal change project which will see the construction of the new Parrinder hide.
The hide is made from timber with a steel frame and is being delivered to site like a large piece of flat pack furniture. The sections are then being unloaded by the crane at the hide location before being put together like a jigsaw.
Thankfully it has already been put together in a workshop offsite so we know we have all the corner bits and there are no pieces missing. If all goes well construction should we be completed byend of October with the hide being open to visitors by early december.
It's a true pleasure to be able to mix work and pleasure. Our office is only a two minute dash from the freshwater marsh, and we all know how lucky we are to work in such a fabulous location. We manage to see most of the scarce or spectacular birds that drop in on the reserve be that during the course of our everyday jobs or during lunch breaks etc.
However, today all of the reserve staff and volunteers missed one of the most spectcular birds to have visited us for a long while. No it wasn't some waif or stray from Siberia, neither was it even particularly rare....but boy oh boy.... are these guys usually hard to see well!
A typical view of one, or should I say part of one, is through a great thicket of bushes and vegetation. If you are lucky you might, at most see a square inch or two of the bird because of all the intervening branches.
So when Ian McGregor came in to the visitor centre with these stunning shots of a long eared owl, taken as it flew in off the sea on migration, we were all very envious! Long eared owls are very scarce on the reserve, not even annual...we are very grateful to Ian for allowing us to use his images.