British Steel Hide
The past few days have seen huge numbers of waders pushed up onto the saline lagoons by tidal waters. A record count of 1145 Black-tailed Godwits was recorded on the 7th. Other wader species were also found in good numbers on the saline lagoons. They included up to 300 Redshank, 116 Dunlin, 70 Knot, 385 Curlew, 64 Greenshank, 32 Lapwing, two Whimbrel, two Snipe, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, a Turnstone and a Spotted Redshank. Two Spoonbills are still present and have been showing right in front of the hide at times. The high tides have brought a selection of different birds up the estuary including two Manx Shearwaters, up to 22 Sandwich Terns, 9 Common Terns and a single Black Tern.
Wildfowl numbers remained fairly low, as most of the ducks have been elsewhere on the reserve, but 13 Teal, 8 Wigeon, 9 Gadwall, 5 Mute Swans, a Great Crested Grebe, a Tufted Duck and three Shelduck were still noted. Other birds of note included two Stonechats, a Peregrine (which caught a Dunlin), 120 Linnets, three Kingfishers and a colour-ringed Curlew which was ringed and satellite-tagged on the Severn estuary near Cardiff in January 2016 as part of the tidal lagoon power project.
Deep water lake is now set to attract the wintering waders and wildfowl with the island vegetation being cut. Despite the disturbance from work teams, 20 Lapwing and a few Black-tailed Godwits have been seen around the lake. Also, 13 Coot, 8 Wigeon, a Pochard, four Little Grebes, five Teal, three Tufted Ducks and a Shoveler have been on the lake as well as the family of ten Mute Swans. 2 Grey Wagtails have also been seen flying over the Heron’s Wing hide on a few occasions. Kingfishers have also been seen frequently, and have even been seen fishing from the perches right outside of the Peter Scott hide. Warblers have been trickier to see due to some spells of bad weather, but Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps can still be heard and seen in the trees and scrub around the reserve. Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and a Peregrine have been seen hunting in the area also.
There have been good numbers of ducks using the freshwater lagoon, including 2 Pochard, 8 Shoveler, 13 Pintail, 20+ Teal and 10 Tufted Ducks. On the 7th a late Swift was seen by the observatory hide.
A large Grass Snake was seen near the Observatory and two Common Lizards were seen sunning themselves in a spell of good weather near the Heron’s Wing hide. There are still lots of Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies on the wing around the reserve including lots of Migrant Hawkers.
Birds to (possibly) look out for in the coming days
The high tides over the weekend should produce more wader spectacles, especially on Sunday as the tide will be at its highest at 9:30am. Look out for more Curlew Sandpipers and possibly Little Stints in amongst the waders. Tidal waters may push some coastal waders like Whimbrel, Turnstones and Bar-tailed Godwits onto the saline lagoons. Also be on the look out for Terns feeding out on the estuary from the British Steel hide. Common Snipe are becoming more regularly and may start to show up on the islands on deep water lake.