With spring now officially upon us we can already see the changes in the wildlife and in particular the birds. The skylarks have been out in force all week, singing at full volume and making their presence clearly known, whilst the great-crested grebes are starting to acquire their stunning orange/brown summer plumage. The onset of spring has also triggered the re-emergence of the bees, with the presence of queen bumble bees all be it still rather drowsy from there underground hibernation, a welcome sight around the reserve. We certainly hope to see more good weather to aid this vital species with successful productivity and nesting.
Bumblebee - Steve Austin (rspb-images.com)
Therefore with the onset of spring and hopefully the promise of warmer weather, we could be saying goodbye to our wintering birds here at Old Hall at any moment That includes the three species of divers that have kept us company these past months as the birds return to there respective breeding grounds. It is therefore very exciting that in these final moments of the winter season that a very rare sighting of a wintering curlew sandpiper was made in Bale field on the 3rd of March.
Other recent sightings this week include:
Slavonian grebe – 3 spotted at falling tide, drifting out past the Eastern Quarters Spit (EQS).
Great-crested grebe – 56 counted in total around the reserve, including 43 off the EQS.
Great-northern diver – 1 sighted in the mouth of the North Channel on the 3rd.
Black throated diver – 2 sighted off the Eastern Quarters Spit on the 3rd.
Red throated diver – A single bird recorded mid-estuary on the 3rd.
Brent geese – A recorded total of 1730 birds around the reserve on the 3rd.
Smew – An individual drake spotted at Pennyhole Bottom on the 3rd.
Black-tailed godwit – 570 recorded in Tollesbury Fleet at rising tide on the 3rd.
Spotted redshank – 2 recorded at Joyce’s Fleet on March the 3rd.
Sanderling – 51 counted around the reserve, including 40 seen flying past the EQS.
Ruff – 34 seen in total, including 33 at the seawall via the Eastern Quarters Spit.
Twite – 3 sighted on the 3rd, at the entrance of Field 6 from Joyce’s Head.
Bearded tit – 5 recorded in the reedbed off the eastern counterwall.
Peregrine – An adult male flying over Field 5 on March the 3rd.
Sparrowhawk – A single male spotted in Irongate on the 3rd.
Merlin – A female recorded flying over Field 4/5 on the 3rd.
Marsh harrier – 7 seen in total about the reserve on March the 3rd.
Alan Kell, Residential Volunteer