Spring is on it’s way !
The first waders are already starting to make their way slowly back towards their breeding grounds and numbers of Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, and Snipe are increasing on an almost daily basis at the moment. For photographers, the Ruff and Godwits (some of which are well on the way to acquiring their red breeding plumage) are performing very well at close range in front of the new Discovery hide.
A single Golden Plover was with Lapwings in front of the United Utilities hide this afternoon. At least 2,500 Lapwings are in the immediate area, all of which take to the air together every time a Peregrine or Sparrowhawk is nearby.
Numbers of Pink-footed Geese also seem to be increasing, though the fact that they are spread out in smaller flocks makes this more difficult to judge. At least 3,000 birds were on the reserve at the same time yesterday.
Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel are seen daily, as are the Tawny Owls roosting in the usual spot just past the entrance to the Kingfisher hide.
Kingfisher, Water Rail, and 3 or more Little Egrets are also constant features, although a little luck may be required to get good views of any of them !
Our resident small passerines are becoming more obvious as the time for them to stake out their own breeding territories approaches, with a few even starting to sing. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Wren and Mistle Thrush are particularly easy to find at the moment, and the sound of singing Skylarks has been almost constant over the past couple of days.
The full range of our usual wintering wildfowl are all still present in good numbers.