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15 Apr 2018

Wildlife sightings for 15th April 2018

1 Wheatear – grazing marsh (p.m)

2 Yellow Wagtail – flew over N (p.m), marsh

1 Pheasant – grazing marsh (p.m). Flew across from a reservoir lagoon island

7 Redshank – wader scrape

1 Jack Snipe – wader scrape

2 Pintail – grazing marsh

1 Shelduck – wader scrape

8 Snipe – wader scrape, grazing marsh

4 Sedge Warbler – reedbed, main lake, sheltered lagoon

2 Reed Warbler – wildside, South route

8 Blackcap – sheltered lagoon, South route

3 Willow Warbler – sheltered lagoon

5 Chiffchaff – South route, wildside, sheltered lagoon


April bird highlights: Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Jack Snipe, Curlew, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Bittern, Caspian Gull, Glaucous Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Peregrine, Red Kite, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Redstart, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat.

Winter bird report: The flooded marsh over the winter attracted Caspian Gull, Iceland Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Water Pipit, Stonechat (4-6), Dunlin, Wigeon (120+), Shoveler (80+), Teal and Gadwall. The marsh was lowered a little at the start of March to expose some muddy areas for waders and dabbling ducks. Snipe responded quickly and could be seen feeding across the field (>20 birds on some days). Other exciting early spring visitors included Spoonbill, Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank.

A nationally important count of 5 Jack Snipe was recorded regularly on the wader scrape, coming out to feed on the mats of cut Purple Loosestrife most days. By mid-March Lapwings were displaying across the scrape and marsh, setting up territories and starting to scrape out nest sites.

After the first wintering Bittern was found mid-October, numbers peaked at 4 birds December/January. Birds were feeding all along the main lake reed and sedge-fringed shores.

Other winter birds (November-Feb) included Firecrest, Short-eared Owl, Hawfinch, Great White Egret, Bearded Tit, Ring Ouzel and Green Sandpiper.

Flowering plants: (March-April) Snowdrop, Marsh Marigold, Blackthorn, Lesser Celandine, Wood Anemone, Bulbous Buttercup, Thale Cress, Hairy Bittercress, Common Whitlowgrass, Parsley-piert, Wild Cherry, Cowslip, Primrose, Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill, Petty Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Common Field Speedwell, Ivy-leaved Speedwell, Sweet Violet, White and Red Dead-nettle, Dandelion, Groundsel, Colt’s-foot, Butterbur, Garden Grape Hyacinth, Fritillary, Summer Snowflake, Wild Daffodil, Grey Willow, Goat Willow, Purple Willow, White Willow, Crack-willow, Osier, Black Poplar, Aspen, Silver Birch, Field Wood-rush, Annual Meadow-grass.

Amphibians: first Marsh Frogs calling (April 6th) on the entrance lake.

Butterflies: Red Admiral (early Feb), Small Tortoishell and Peacock (March 23rd), Brimstone, Comma and Small White (April 5th).

Other insects: Bee-fly, European Orchard Bee (Seen mating April 5th. First record for UK), Early Mining Bee, Clark’s Mining Bee.

Reptiles: Juvenile Common Lizards by WWF and Dulverton hides, and 20+ Slow worms across all refugia on the reserve (April 7th). Male Grass Snake found in wildside (April 14th).