As spring is just around the corner the wardening team have been out and about on the reserve checking all of our bird boxes. We have 90 on site and they all need to be emptied and repaired ready for their new occupants. Staff and volunteers have also been busy making new boxes to replace any that have seen better days. The location of each box is mapped so that we can monitor them in the spring and summer as part of the breeding bird survey on the reserve.
We had lots of fun at the beginning of the week when we held a nest box building day as part of national nest box week. The thought of 30 children with hammers and nails was a bit frightening, but we got through the day injury free and everyone produced some great bird houses!
In the visitor centre we have set up our nest box cam again and it is already being used by a tree sparrow. We have had success in the last couple of years with the box being used first by a family of blue tits and then last year by tree sparrows. So come and visit us to get great live footage of one of our special breeding birds.
Tree Sparrow (Andy Hay rspb-images.com)
Spring is definitely in the air here on the reserve! It has been a fantastic day today and I have even seen people out and about in shirt sleeves. The birds are singing more and more and we have seen great tits and blue tits checking out our newly refurbished bird boxes around the boardwalk. Vistors had a supprise on a guided walk today when we got buzzed by a bat as it searched for insects over the water. The warm weather will bring these creatures out to feed after their long winter hibernation. Bats are difficult to identify but its size suggested that it was probably a noctule bat. Other signs of spring was the peacock and brimstone butterflies seen flitting about the trails, ladybirds brought into the centre by inquisitive children and the drumming of the great spotted woodpecker as is marks out it territory.
A highlight of the week was the flock of up to 1000 lapwings seen on the flashes and and its great to such large numbers of this impressive wader on the reserve. Other waders included curlews and a woodcock also on the flashes and a pair of oystercatchers on a small mudbank in front of Bob Dickens hides.
Ducks included several impressive drake goldeneyes, shovelers, shelducks and goosanders on main bay. Also on Main bay a pair of great crested grebes are starting to develop their breeding plumage. Buzzards are a common sight over the centre and a peregrine falcon has been seen on several occasions at Lin Dyke and the white fronted geese are still in the same area. Waxwings are still in the area and up to 30 were seen at Lin Dyke at about midday today.
The week started well with a flock of over 100 siskins along village bay and a flock of 50 waxwings stopped briefly along the boardwalk. It has been a great winter for waxwings but there probably wont be too many more oppurtunities to see these fantastic birds before they begin to return to their northern european breeding grounds.
It has been a good week for waders with 32 curlews seen on the reserve and a black tailed godwit and ruff on the flashes at the end of the week. A little egret was also a common sight at the flashes.
The white fronted geese are still at Lin Dyke and other water fowl of note included four goosanders on main bay, a female smew in the middle of main bay, nine pintails on village bay and to great crested grebes at the cut.
Willow tits and treecreepers are being frequently seen around the boardwalk with bullfinches being seen at the feeders. Six redwings were seen at pickup. the sightings of both redwings and fieldfares has fallen of late.
The long eared owls are still using their usual roost but arent being seen every day.