Wow where do I start, so much splendiferous wildlife to report and so little time to blog! First though I will just start with the important bit if you are going to visit, you need to bring wellington boots if you want to access all the hides as last nights tide surged enough to put a bit of water on the paths down to Marshland hide. Nothing too major at the moment so don't be afraid to visit as long as you have the right footware. The last high tide is tonight so after that the water should drain down pretty quickly for Thursday/Friday and the Weekend.
Nice gentle flooding on the site is really good in terms of setting the reserve's habitats up for the breeding season, at this time of the year too it can bring in lots of sticklebacks and eels which are excellent food for many of our fish eating birds.
Now down to the recent sightings! The last few days have seen our brilliant bird of prey roost on top form with at least three hen harriers, ten marsh harriers, regular buzzards, four barn owls, merlin, peregrine, sparrowhawk and kestrel. if you want the best of the roost action I do recommend that you try and stay right to the last if possible as many birds now come in quite late.
Waterfowl not to be outdone have also put on a show with up to 500 pinkfeet still feeding near the reserve, a nice herd of 30 whoopers over yesterday, the full summer plumage male pintail on site, plus plenty of wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck and the two goldeneye. Little grebe and coot numbers are growing by the day and the bittern was seen again on Friday and the little egret on the weekend. Water rails have been very vocal early morning and last thing in the evening really giving out some mega squeals right next to the paths - seeing them though is another thing!
At least three Cetti's warblers along the path sides recently with at least two of them singing, also Kingfisher seen daily and then a nice mix of migrant song thrushes, fieldfares and the odd redwing. Keep an eye out for bearded tits as six were seen flying accross the channel at First lagoon and with all this nice weather a few may start coming. The grey partridge were also seen next to the reserve so keep a look out for thenm in the arable.
Not to be outdone the wildlife too is bursting into life with recent sightings of fox, hare and roe deer plus two rabbits in the car park. Rabbits in the local area have declined massively over the last few years so it is pleasing to see a bit of a recovery of this once abundant little critter.
And last but not least I spotted one of my favourite early signs of spring the coltsfoot (very apt on the day before we trimmed the Koniks hooves) while the willow is just starting to burst into flower.
Here's a few recent picture just to give you a taste of how nice it is.
Pinks this morning - the car makes a great hide and what a sight as I'm on my way in to work!
Beautiful ice patterns this morning in the flooded reedbed as I checked the depth marker.
Coltsfoot just turning its head up towards the sun.
A recent shot of a male beardie feeding on the reed debris in the reedbed - its not often you can get pictures of beardies feeding on the ground, often they know you're there and tend not to feed.
And finally - who would have thought that willow could make such a nice photo, close ups can sometimes give a whole new perspective