Skip navigation
Print page

Recent sightings

  • 12 September 2014

    Eastern influence brings sweeping changes

    Amazing isn't it, you go away for a few days to a meeting and the high pressure and tides coupled with a bit of an easterly wind brings in a whole host of new migrants from all over the globe.

    Mid week there was a red necked phalarope at Ousefleet for a short while, amazing really as it was the same day I'd been listening to a talk on them in Scotland and how the data tags had revealed that they wintered near Peru! This bird however may have been of Scandinavian origin and they winter in the Arabian sea!

    The wader passage too seems to have picked up recently with 4 curlew sandpipers on Townend today accompanied by 11 dunlin. Other wader peaks over the last week include 10+ spotted redshank, 10+ ruff, 40+ snipe, 40 golden plover, 9 black tailed godwits, 3 little ringed plover, 2 ringed plover, 40+ redshank, 100+ lapwing, 2 green sandpipers, 46 curlew, a single greenshank, then flyover turnstone and knot

    Duck have suddenly appeared flying west as they come in from the continent with a total of over 300 wigeon through last night and this morning accompanied by a single red breasted merganser. Teal topped 430 this morning with a very strange semi albino which has a white head in tow!  The pintail continue to show well while a nice mix of shoveller, little grebes, little egret and squeeling water rails all add to the mix of water birds on show. 

    Not to be outdone the smaller passerines have been pretty impressive with the beaded tits showing really well at Townend hide, a magnificent fresh plumage stonechat was new in yesterday while there were at least 55 yellow wagtails, 60 meadow pipits and 20 pied wagtails across the reserve.

    With the weather pattern set to continue it could be interesting...............................


    Posted by Pete Short

  • 5 September 2014

    Mellow misty mornings, autumn fruitfulness and eruptions!

    Yes it's that time of year again when the mellow mornings start to get the bearded tits erupting. It's been pretty good this last few days especially after the mist has lifted with birds showing from most lagoons and with a party of fifteen at Ousefleet showing signs of wanting to leave the site things seem to be looking good for seeing this usually elusive species.

    Another star of the show on Wednesday was the Kingfisher that sat in front of the reception hide catching its dinner, it stayed for over 2hrs! Maybe it was a little podged from scoffing all those sticklebacks!

    Recent waders on site include ruff, spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, greenshank, lapwing, snipe, golden plover, oystercatcher, curlew, lapwing, grey plover, and common sandpiper.

    Recent notable sightings include: Tree pipit, little egret, peregrine, merlin, water rail, pintail, and goldcrest.

    I've been sent some lovely photo's too - shame the computer still can't publish them!

    Posted by Pete Short

  • 2 September 2014

    The marshland is alive with the sound of ping!

    It seems that the bearded tits are now emerging from their moult and making up for all the last month when they have been skulking in the reedbed, This morning there were parties if birds in adult plumage showing well at most lagoons with some flocks totaling twenty.

    As always my advice is if you want to try and see them - pick a calm morning and arrive for 9.00am. When in the hide listen out for their distinctive pinging and then look in the area of reedbed where the noise is coming from. Birds are most active between 9am and 10am after that its pot luck.

    Bit busy at the moment so here's a quick summary of the sightings over the last couple of days

    Little stint - one flew through with a dunlin today

    Grey plover - 7 west

    Ruff - up to 17

    Spotted redshank - peak of 5 (24 at the weekend)

    Black tailed godwit - 6

    Ringed plover - 1

    Snipe - 20+

    Lapwing - 405

    Merlin - one yesterday

    Marsh harrier - up to 6

    Yellow wagtail - 87 in to roost and up to 40 in with the cows

    Pintail - up to 7 on Singleton and parties of up to 28 west

    Common sandpiper - 1 today on Ousefleet

    Bearded tit - many active birds around lagoons max 50

    Golden plover - a few individuals but scarce for time of year

    Goldcrest - one this morning


    Posted by Pete Short

  • 29 August 2014

    Spotted fly-snatcher

    The last few days have seen a mix of birds calling in at the reserve with yesterday seeing the elusive Temminck's stint suddenly reappearing on Townend briefly as well as in the morning an obvious inland 'fall' of willow warblers, a spotted flycatcher and a garden warbler brought about by the morning drizzle. I was at the time over the other side of the river at Alkborough poaching a pectoral sandpiper - on my day off I may hasten to add! Hopefully it will find its way over to the lagoons here on the Sands for the weekend.

    Other notable sightings recently include merlin, hobby, 21 spotted redshank (including the first juveniles), curlew sandpiper on Wednesday, 6 ringed plover, 2 pintail, then a mix of other waders and duck including 16 ruff, 31 black tailed godwits, 2 greenshank, curlew, oystercatcher, snipe, a single avocet, lapwing, golden plover, dunlin, then a few water rails and bearded tits around the edges of the lagoons.

    Still plenty of marsh harriers around and a few yellow wagtails, little and great crested grebes on Singleton and the odd little egret flying through.

    Posted by Pete Short

  • 26 August 2014

    Every days different in August

    Yes August migration is really making every day feel a little different at the moment with the birds moving through at a blistering pace with the help of the continuous Northerlies. Mind you today its an easterly and the tides are rising so you never know what may turn up.............

    The Bank holiday started well on the Friday with both Temminck's stint and two curlew sandpipers on site - however these all seemed to depart during the night which was clear and calm. A totally different day on Saturday with a very active Bittern and a very showy juvenile merlin while the male Montagu's harrier came into roost late evening.

    Wader numbers can vary throughout the day but recent peaks include 31 Black tailed godwits, 16 ruff, 6 spotted redshank, 77 redshank, 2 green sandpipers, greenshank, 3 ringed plover, 3 dunlin, 40 golden plover, curlew, plenty of snipe and lapwing then grey plover, whimbrel and bar tailed godwit west.   

    Other birds/counts of note include regular peregrine and hobby, little egret, 630 teal and 340 mallard, 20 yellow wagtails, water rails, and quite a few bearded tits showing around the edges of the lagoons.

    Good views of willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, whitethroatreed and sedge warbler can be had around the trails at the moment as they feed among the reeds and willows.

    And a final word of wisdom - have a good look at the ducks, last Tuesday I took a photo of an Aythya type duck on Ousefleet lagoon that I wanted to have a check on some of its features, then forgot to check on my camera until Saturday evening - as I suspected it was a female scaup!

    And sorry still no photo's!

    Posted by Pete Short

  • 21 August 2014

    Temminck's returns

    Yes the Temminck's stint has bravely returned to the muddy expanse of Townend lagoon where it was happily feeding along with a multitude of other waders including ruff, redshank, snipe, lapwing and at one point right next to a curlew. To see one of the smallest waders right next to one of the largest was quite amazing and I did get a few pictures that I would have shown you if only I could publish anything photo's on the blog. Unfortunately window seven doesn't seem to want to let me so I'm afraid you'll have to come and see it for real!

    After a quiet day yesterday a few more waders have been returning to site with green sandpiper, and 14 spotted redshanks also seen on top of the above.

    Other notable recent sightings include Kingfisher, 2 hobbies, peregrine, little egret, whinchat and short eared owl. Unsure if the Montagu's harrier is still coming in to roost, not had time to check

    Also plenty of duck around with 462 teal and 10 wigeon today. The teal included the colour tagged bird which someone kindly confirmed the number on it for me yesterday and put them in the log, this now almost certainly indicated that the bird was ringed in the Carmargue in France. Hopefully more details to follow. 

    Posted by Pete Short

  • 18 August 2014

    Temminks and Montagu's top the BBQ

    Since the high tides put water onto the site last week the birding has been pretty good with the day of the Big Biochar BBQ being particularly good with the arrival of an adult Temminks stint that stayed for most of the day on Townend lagoon and gave some excellent views. Add to this both male and female Montagu's harrier on the same day and also still around at the weekend and its been some top birding.

    Temminks stint (photo by Mike Johnson)

    Male monts from earlier in the month


    Plenty of other goodies too with up to 26 ruff, 20 black tailed godwits, 21 spotted redshank, 5 greenshank, 4 green sandpiper, dunlin, redshank and lapwing while on Thursday there was a passage of 11 grey and 6 ringed plover west. The Temminks reappeared briefly on Saturday while there was also bittern and of course the marsh harriers.

    Plenty of duck and geese around too particularly on Ousefleet with recent noteworthy peaks of 450 mallard and 300 teal being joined by gadwall shoveler and a couple of tufted ducks plus up to 500 greylag geese.

    Interestingly one of the teal has been noted as having a yellow bill saddle marker attached with a letter J on, these are not used in the UK so the bird was marked on the continent possibly from initial enquiries in the Carmargue in Southern France. However there should be a number with the letter so if anyone has a photo of the bird or has seen both the letter and number then please contact me so we can get a final fix on where the bird was ringed. 

    Yellow wagtails have been very showy this year with a good number in front of Ousefeet hide feeding in with the wildfowl while there has been a distinct passage of willow warblers through the site.

    Posted by Pete Short

  • 12 August 2014

    In a knot about waders?

    Still a reasonable mix of waders about at the moment despite the heavy rain raising our water levels. Ruff numbers have been up to 11 and spotted redshank 23, other counts include 47 redshank, and 250 lapwing, 4 black tailed godwits, 7 green sandpipers, 3 greenshank, common sandpiper, dunlin and a few snipe.

    A peak of four Knot have has been nice, two of which were still in their brick red summer plumage but it seems the wood sandpiper has moved on after its extended stay. A bit of water has gone onto Ousefleet too with the high tides so this may add to the mix in the next few days.............

    Below - snipe and redshank

    Juvenile and adult ruff

    Spotted redshank and lapwing

    Wall to wall lapwings


    Other recent notable sightings have included 2 garganey, pintail, 5 little egrets, spoonbill (over), hobby, bittern and then the two Montagu's harriers that roosted in the reedbed on Friday night with the marsh harriers.


    A couple of garganey were on first - a moulting adult and juv (not great light!)


    Also keep a look out for yellow wagtails, water rails and a few bearded tits around the edges of the lagoons while there are still young gadwall, great crested grebes and little grebes mixing in with the moulting duck.


    Posted by Pete Short

  • 9 August 2014

    Waders continue at Blacktoft

    We are now into August and we are right in the middle of the main wader time at Blacktoft.  Today there were 22 spotted redshank, 30 snipe, 40 redshank, 7 green sandpiper, common sandpiper, ruff, wood sandpiper, little ringed plover, lapwing, dunlin and curlew.  Here are a few photos taken by volunteers John Whittle and Mike Johnson of waders at Blacktoft.

    Our wader walks continue next Saturday (16th)  and then on Saturday (30th) - both start at 10am and offer a great chance to learn about these amazing birds that visit Blacktoft to fuel up before continue migration to other continents.  To book on one of these events please email us at

    Elsewhere today - little egrets, water rails, plenty of duck, grey herons, little grebes, pied wagtails and few yellow wagtails.  These wagtails have started to add a bit of white to the back of our Konik ponies! 

    Posted by Michael Andrews

How you can help

Coast on a stormy day with heavy rain falling on coastal headland

We're setting up an emergency fund that we can use to get our reserves back into shape and repair the damage caused. Please help us rebuild from the worst storm in 60 years.

Donate now

Your sightings

Grid reference: SE8423 (+2km)

Pectoral Sandpiper (1)
26 Aug 2014
Marsh Harrier ()
14 Sep 2014
Black-tailed Godwit ()
14 Sep 2014
Ruff ()
14 Sep 2014
Greenshank ()
14 Sep 2014
Bearded Tit ()
14 Sep 2014
Grey Wagtail (1)
14 Sep 2014
Water Rail ()
14 Sep 2014
Tree Sparrow ()
14 Sep 2014
Spotted Redshank (4)
12 Sep 2014

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 53.69844,-0.72462
  • Grid reference: SE843232
  • Nearest town: Goole, East Yorkshire
  • County: East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Country: England

Get directions

Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.