A cool start to the week, with high pressure building, ready for milder air at the weekend.
This week has continued to see typical autumnal scenes, the cool conditions have led to the first dropping of leaves and has increased the size of the roaming tit flocks throughout the reserve.
The bearded tits have finally started to gather in their traditional autumn feeding flock between the river and Fen Hide, best viewed from Sandy Wall. The bearded tits gather here to take advantage of the abundant reed seed heads, thanks to our rotational reed cutting. The flock is still small and relatively unreliable, but through the next couple of weeks it should increase in size and they get bolder, hopefully offering good views. The flock is best observed on sunny still days, but should still be present in other conditions, just more difficult to observe.
Kingfishers have been delighting visitors all week, it is hard to say exactly how many are on site at present, it could be just one family exploring all over the reserve, but they are being seen regularly from all hides.
Bittern sightings have also increased throughout the week, with two being seen together from Tower Hide on Tuesday, at least seven flights were also seen on Tuesday from Reception Hide. It is not clear whether these are resident birds getting flighty, juveniles fledged from the reserve or even continental migrants arriving, it seems too early and mild for the latter, but there is a lot of migration of other species at present.
A hobby was seen chasing bats on Friday evening and again on Monday during the daytime. Water rail has been seen fairly regularly in front of Fen Hide in the newly cut areas. The tit flocks now contain a decent number of goldcrests and given the weather conditions predicted next week, we could even see the return of a yellow-browed warbler soon?
Marsh harriers have become scarcer in recent weeks as they have largely disappeared to hunt the arable land further afield, however there are certainly five to ten birds being seen with some regularity. A large number of birds have been tagged this year so ensure that any tags that have been read are reported to reception and added to the tag list in our folder.
Buckenham Marshes are still producing passage waders, on Wednesday (20th) there were two little stints, two dunlin, seven ringed plover and the first thirty-five pink footed geese returned. A Harris hawk was also observed flying over the land to the South, so don’t get caught out by large dark brown raptors in the valley.
Non avian highlights include the water voles at the pond dipping platform, plenty of lizards still basking on the sandy wall wooden beams, an otter was seen at Reception Hide on Wednesday and a Chinese water deer with fawn is still being seen from Tower Hide on the spit.
Migrant hawkers are the most frequently observed medium sized dragonfly, with common darters and willow emeralds still on the wing along with the last few brown hawkers patrolling the ditches.
The reserve is fully open (apart from Meadow Trail which is closed for the year) and in good condition, so come and see what you can find, good views of bearded tits should be the target for the next few weeks.