Very little reported today but there was an increase in Pink footed Geese with upto 40 now present. Good numbers of Snipe are to be seen around the reserve with upto 25 on the Mere this morning. At least 1 Marsh harrier, a juvenile was seen along with a couple of Kestrels and Sparrowhawk.
Out on the reserve today
Buzzard – 1
Hobby – 1
Common sandpiper – 2
Yellow wagtail on Bank farm pool near visitor centre
Today’s wildlife highlights (including a dragonfly site first)
Wader Lake (AM, low tide)
2 common sandpiper
2 common snipe
7 tufted duck (plus 3 ducklings)
Plus, at the amphibian ponds, an emerald damselfy and a black darter dragonfly – the latter we believe to be a site first!
Wildlife sightings for 31st August 2012
72 Shoveler – main lake, wader scrape, reservoir lagoon
1 Green Sandpiper – wader scrape
1 Common Sandpiper – main lake
2 Snipe – main lake
1 Kingfisher – wader scrape
Recent bird highlights: Garganey, Peregrine, Hobby, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Crossbill, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat.
Autumn migration has started with a build-up of post-breeding migrants appearing on the reserve.
Waders like Sandpipers and Godwits have been dropping in with a few roosting on the main lake. Look out for regular Green Sandpiper over the next few weeks out on the marsh or the scrape. The wader scrape has been cut back to open up feeding areas for these kinds of birds.
Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff have increased since the start of the month as migrants start to move south through the country. Expect to see Swallows feeding and passing through now. The Common Tern chicks have all fledged with a few adults and juveniles still drifting back to the main lake occasionally to feed. Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Gadwall and Little Grebe broods can all be found throughout the reserve.
Look out for possible Black Terns over the main lake, August is always a good month for these birds.
Flowering plants: Mallow, Betony, Marsh Woundwort, Hemlock Water-dropwort, Field Scabious, Devil’s Bit Scabious, Red Dead-nettle, Hop Trefoil, Kidney Vetch, Tufted Vetch, Common Vetch, Grass Vetchling, Meadow Vetchling, Great Burnet, Herb Robert, Yellow Flag, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Water Mint, Pyramidal Orchid, St.John’s-wort, Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Loosestrife, Self Heal, Common Hawkweed, Common Knapweed, Yellow Bartsia, Wild Parsnip, Bastard Cabbage, Monkey-flower, Water Plantain, Meadowsweet, Red Clover, White Clover, Lady’s Bedstraw, White Campion, Ribbed Melilot, Black Meddick. The tall herb fen meadows in wildside are looking at their best right now, as are all the wildflower fields across the reserve.
Butterflies and insects: Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Small White, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, Emperor Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter.
Reptiles: Common Lizards very active along the South Route, often scurrying across the paths.
Youngsters catch the volunteering bug
Bayley, aged 8, and Finley, 6, are having fun finding out what it’s like to be wardens at WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes. They gave up an hour of their time this week to help rebuild log piles for insects and also making notes of the bugs and animals they find crawling among the logs. The Centre will be running “Be a Wetland Warden”, and many other family activities including crafts, pond dipping and otter feeds, throughout the summer holidays. All the activities are free with admission to the Centre.
Find out more: Be a Wetland Warden
The Holden Tower
MARSH HARRIER 1
Little Stint 1
Ringed Plover 80
Red Knot 3
Little Egret 10
The South Lake
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 1
Black-tailed Godwit 186
Common Sandpiper 1
The Tack Piece
Common Sandpiper 2
Green Sandpiper 2
The Zeiss Hide
Common Sandpiper 1
Green Sandpiper 1
459 black tailed godwits
1 spotted redshank
Today’s wild bird sightings
459 black tailed godwits
1 spotted redshank
Castle Espie Reserve
Hatching of Black headed gulls slowed into June with 30 nests still to hatch from original 750. Gull chick survival was similar to 2011 in spite of the wet summer with one third of flocks made up of fledged young. Most had left the reserve by July 25. Terns, for another year, looked as if they might decide to nest only to move on elsewhere in the Lough.
Resident wildfowl had a reasonably successful breeding season with broods of shelduck, gadwall and tufted all being reared under the protective canopy of the gull colony. A record three pairs of little grebe nested and hatched young on both the Crannog lake and the Limestone Lake with at least two juveniles surviving to fledge.
The last week of June saw the first small flocks of migrant wildfowl return namely shoveler, pintail and pochard with wigeon and teal not returning until late July.
In late June, an entire family of Kingfishers arrived. Although largely dispersed this species have again become a regular daily sighting.
Wader migration was first recorded from July 23rd when the first of this season’s common sandpiper arrived followed by black-tailed godwit and redshank in early August and a greenshank by Aug 16th.
An otter was seen in our Saline Lagoon on three occasions during the summer, June 21st, 29th and July 17th, all at high water and all for a period of about a half hour when it fed on crabs and ignored the gull colony on the nearby island.
Up to 250 oystercatcher over summered on the estuary along with a number of eider duck with young. Now as autumn approaches other species are returning such as a fall of 165 curlew on July 19th and passage grey plover still in summer plumage, seen roosting by the Peninsular salt marsh at high water. A large flock of red-breasted merganser were recorded beyond Castle Espie pier on Aug 8th a sight that can only be seen for a short time and at this time of year.
The Brent started to arrive earlier in the season, with 13 on 27th August. Just a few days later, on August 30th, 1,000 Brent Geese were spotted. They can be seen from both the Brent Hide and the LimeKiln Observatory. We will have to wait another month or so to hopefully spot the ringed pair that have used the estuary in Autumn 10yrs in a row.
Returning pink feet – is it Autumn already?
We have had our fist flock of 11 pink-footed geese arrive this morning. This was followed by another 6 after 12.30pm so the count should be higher by the end of the day with perfect weather conditions with this northerly wind.
We normally expect the really big numbers of geese to visit us towards the end of September so these ones are a little earlier than usual although we have seen some earlier in the past. This usually means that autumn is on the way!