Over the last few days we’ve seen the last few grasps of Winter start to loosen their grip on the reserve. It looks as though all the Pintail have now departed, as have the last six Bewick’s Swans. Other winter flocks are also dropping as we’re down to less than 100 Wigeon and around 70 Curlew. A small flock of Redwing were working their way along the hedgerow around the car park this morning, another winter visitor heading back north to breed.
As for Spring, more and more signs are popping up across the reserve. A few Wheatear have passed through and yesterday a small flock of Sand Martin were feeding over the Tack Piece. A Little-ringed Plover was seen out on the river and then yesterday on the South Lake. A few Mediterranean Gulls have passed through here too. Lots of Chiffchaff can be heard across the reserve as we await the arrival of Blackcaps and our other breeding warblers.
South Lake Hides
The wader scrape and duck marsh are the main focus of bird activity at present. This morning saw 211 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Dunlin, 43 Avocet, 6 Oystercatcher, a single Redshank and several displaying Lapwing present. There are a good number of Shelduck here and around 50 Shoveler. A Kingfisher has been active here over the last few days too.
Holden Walkway Hides
Best viewed from the Martin Smith Hide, or look back from the Holden Tower, the Tack Piece is where our White-fronted Goose flock is currently residing. We’ve had 158 birds present, but this morning this was down to 120, possibly some families have left of they may be feeding elsewhere on the reserve. Four Cranes were feeding here too, with another pair in the Rushy just over the fence.
Out on the Dumbles, several Skylark were busy singing and chasing each other around. A Peregrine was sat out on the river bank along with a Buzzard on its usual fence post, and a second sitting on the perimeter fence around the Long Ground Pool.
Rather quiet up here, apart from several displaying Lapwing. A pair of Oystercatcher were on the island and around 40 Wigeon are still present, grazing towards the Van de Bovenkamp Hide. Six Snipe could be seen feeding around the edge of the pool.
Lots of Kingfisher activity here recently as the male gets the site ready for breeding. A pair of Little Grebe were busy in the reedbed and a pair of Shoveler were present.