British Steel Hide
Recent wader counts have been slightly down, as there haven’t been any high tides over 6 metres to push the waders up onto the Saline lagoons, but nonetheless Black-tailed Godwit numbers have peaked at 614, Greenshank numbers reached 81, Lapwing were up to 37, a winter plumage adult Spotted Redshank continues to join the flock of Common Redshank which peaked at 237. The small wader numbers have been down due to the lower tides, but 8 Knot and 6 Dunlin were still to be found on the lagoons. The three long-staying Eurasian Spoonbills remained until the 30th until disappearing for the day on the 31st, hopefully they will return soon!
Wildfowl on the NRA scrapes from the British Steel include 18 Gadwall, 12 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 62 Greylag Geese and 2 Mute Swans. We should see an increase in wildfowl in the coming weeks as we head into Autumn.
Other birds around the hide included a juvenile White Wagtail, a Kingfisher, a Wheatear, good numbers of passing Swallows and a fantastic Peregrine that took out one of the waders on the saline lagoon and then proceeded to sit and eat the bird on the mud in front of the hide!
With the good weather for the past few days warbler species have been very active and therefore much easier to spot. Chiffchaffs have been the most common Warbler species, but there are still good numbers of Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Cetti’s Warblers around as well as a Lesser Whitethroat, seen around the Heron’s Wing hide and a Reed Warbler seen skulking around a ditch on the west scrape. At least 2 Spotted Flycatchers have regularly been seen around the the tops of Willow trees to the left of Heron’s Wing hide.
A Green Woodpecker can often be heard yaffling around the Heron’s Wing hide and there are plenty of common finches and tits in the area. Wildfowl numbers on the Millennium Wetlands have held fairly steady with peak counts of 41 Gadwall, 42 Mallard, 12 Tufted Ducks, 5 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 3 Little Grebes, 10 Mute Swans and 9 Coot. A Grey Wagtail has been heard several times as it flies over west scrape, a flock 18 Little Egrets and c.20 Lapwing have also started to use the deep water lake as a roosting site. Also a Raven flew over the eastern scrapes calling.
At least 4 Water Rails can be heard from the reedbed’s around the Welsh Water Hide, a great deal of patience is required to catch a glimpse of these elusive reedbed dwellers.
Birds to (possibly) look out for in the coming weeks!
With breeding now generally over, it’s passage season and anything can turn up in the coming weeks! Keep a look out on the saline lagoons in the next couple of weeks for returning Curlew Sandpipers mixed in with the wader flocks which will be increasing in number as the birds returning from their breeding grounds. It’s almost the time of year that we see the return of the Great White Egret(s) and it is likely that we will see Marsh Harriers starting to use to reserve as they disperse from their breeding grounds on the east coast towards the coasts of Wales.
Reptiles – 1 Slow Worm, 3 Common Lizard, 1 Grass Snake
Mammals – 1 Water Vole
Butterflies – Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper.