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Wildlife sightings for 29th January 2013

1 Bittern – reservoir lagoon

62 Wigeon – grazing marsh

2 Pintail – wader scrape

66 Lapwing – main lake

1 Peregrine – mobbed on reserve then flew over to hospital

Recent bird highlights: Red-breasted Merganser, Smew, Bittern, Peregrine, Ruff, Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Waxwing, Skylark, Bearded Tit.

Since the start of January there have been varying numbers of Bitterns on the reserve, from a regular 2 birds up to a fantastic 6 recorded mid-month. Best spots to check are all the reed fringes of the main lake, the north reed fringe of the resr lagoon and the shores of the sheltered lagoon.

Small Wigeon flocks can be found grazing through the marsh fields or along the wader scrape bank where the grass sward has been kept nice and short by the cattle grazing in the autumn.

Waxwing have so far put in some very welcome appearances during November and December as they did across the whole country. With colder conditions returning in January we should expect a few more sightings of these exciting birds. Colder weather should also see an increase in duck numbers, as well more chances to find the scarcer Scaup, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser or Goosander.

This late autumn and winter there’s been more sightings of Bearded Tit than in any other year, suggesting that the same two birds have been in refuge all the time amongst the dense vegetation of the main reedbed and grazing marsh. Keep listening out for the distinctive ‘pinging’ calls.

Small numbers of Redpoll and Siskin can be found daily, feeding on the Birch and Alder trees. Look out for other Finch species mixed in with these flocks, as well as Goldcrest or possible Firecrest.

Very good numbers of Fieldfare are coming through mid-January with some birds roosting on the reserve and searching out the few berries left over from a poor fruiting year generally.