Great to see that quite a few people are making the most of the late Indian Summer (or should it be Autumn!) and getting out to take some superb pictures of some great birds on site which I will be using in this blog to show just how good its been, patience and careful planning is the name of the game and if you put in a little effort you can get some top results.
This year we've been 'playing' a game of two halves too - that is one half of the lagoons wet and the other dry with shallow flooding. Always a risky strategy as we may end up with less water than we would have liked by new year but in terms of the birds at the moment its being pretty productive. So make the most of it folks as in November we will be looking to flood back up to winter water levels ready for the breeding season.
Still a good number of waders about at the moment with a year peak count of 80 black tailed godwits this morning, and then also roosting with them on Ousefleet 10 spotted redshank, 15 ruff and 25 dunlin. Other waders on site include lapwing, curlew snipe and then a few fly over parties of golden plover while a single ringed plover flew over this morning. With the tides rising hopefully there could be something different drop in in time for the end of the month. A lone jack snipe was recorded on Friday as I shepherded the ponies so remember to check out the snipe on Marshland
Birds of prey are represented by up to 8 marsh harriers, regular merlin, sparrowhawk, kestrel, buzzard and juv peregrine that this morning delighted in giving the black tailed godwits a chase around the reserve before giving up its rather futile and half hearted chase.
Peg by Pedro
The Kingfisher continues to delight and it now seems to have moved up in the world and taken a liking for fresh shrimp as shown by this excellent photo from Mike Johnson. Stonechats too this year are sublime and again giving some great views, photo also by Mike. (remember double click photo's to enlarge the photo's and see the detail)
Not to be outdone the usually shy Cettis warbler (we now have 5 singing males on site) put on a great show for Mike Flowers birdwatching group last week - take a look at this photo he took, Cettis and bearded tit all at once, Monsieur you are spoiling us! - its not very often you see this in a photo.
The bearded tits have been GR8 this month with quite a few people showing me some fantastic shots of this normally secretive species. Over the weekend I carried out my Autumn population estimate work and have the good news to report that despite quite a number of birds erupting of site there is a minimum of 400 still in the reedbed. If the weather is OK as forecast on Wednesday I think they will be erupting strongly again on site and could give visitors some good views - you need to be on site between 9 and 10 for best chance of seeing them!
Below - beardies on Saturday - Pedro
Quite a few pinkies flying over the site again but not huge numbers of duck on the lagoons, still a nice range of species coming into full plumage now particularly the wigeon, teal and shoveler. A count of 118 gadwall was also noteworthy on Singleton lagoon.
Another bird that has been really showy recently are the little egrets, usually gone by this time in the year there is little doubt that the mild weather is ensuring these top little herons are still in front of the hides (photo by Mike Johnson) - can you spot the wing moult?
And here's a lovely photo by Mike of a wood pigeon - a good reminder that you don't have to take pictures of scarce or unusual birds to get a good photo.
And to finish on here's a picture of one of our roe deer from the weekend, this doe and its calf were really curious as I took the photos again showing that with a bit of patience you can have some real close encounters.
And the female in better light
And remember - all our photo's (unless stated) are from the last week of sightings.