So here it is merry Christmas everybody's having fun, well that was certainly the case this weekend for those who decided to visit and watch our delectable delightful raptor roost from Singleton hide. But the reserve had so much more too with a great range of species for everyone to see during the day providing a wealth of excellent photo's for the blog and a few smiles around the site.
How's about this for starters from Mike Johnson - a couple of marsh harriers on the top of a bush - nice!
On Saturday the wizard bird of the day was of course the 3 merlin's that came in to roost, putting on a great show for everyone who had come to see the harriers, and yes there were harriers but for once they were not the stars of the afternoon. Sunday's roost spectacle just like the weather saw a total change with no merlin's but three superb hen harriers, two grey males and a ringtail all being buffeted by the winds and bombing the twenty or so marsh harriers! Here's some top snaps of the harriers taken over the last few days.
Hen harrier photo's (from Mike Johnson and Pedro)
Waders have been good too with 7 spotted redshanks on Sunday and up to 14 black tailed godwits, add in a few dunlin, lapwing, curlew, snipe, redshank and golden plover then it almost feels like late summer passage!
Below - spot shanks in with the ducks
Not so many duck around but at least 1000 pink footed geese over early am on Sunday. Then a few wigeon, 35 shoveler, 2 gadwall, teal, mallard and a single goldeneye about. A lone Barnacle goose flew through, probably part of the 1000 strong feral flock that resides further down the estuary. Hundreds of gulls going too and coming out of roost at the moment particularly lots of herring gulls but also plenty of common, great black backed and black headed gulls, keep an eye out for a possible white winger or two, you never know.
Below wigeon grazing in front od Xerox
And a few pinks fronted by a Marsh harrier early in the morning.
Plenty of squealing and grunting in the reedbed from the water rails at the moment especially at roost time.
The kingfisher was totally Halcyon this weekend showing superbly at Townend and providing this great photo taken by Dr Kia Ng (yes that's his full name if you were wondering if I'd spelt it wrong), as you can see its passing a bone pellet. Kingfishers use their pellets to line the nest and lay their eggs on, an amazing bit of behavior captured on 'film'.
This was a nice image too from Friday sent By Mike J - Obviously old kingy likes this perch!
Other notable passerine included cettis warbler (singing and calling), bearded tits showing really well from both Townend and Marshland (unheard of in December!), up to 3 goldcrests, then just a few redwing and fieldfare left now that they've gobbled up the berry crop.
Watch out for the winter thrushes - Redwing by Mike J
And there was a nice little charm of goldfinch at Ousefleet on Saturday eating the Alder seed - but no redpolls!
Question is what's Santa bringing me! I hope its a flock of Bean geese or a few waxwings...................
I'll finish on though a nice bit of festive fungi - old year decay. This was near first hide - I do know what it is but have forgotten the name, I'll post in a bit