Hen harriers in the late afternoon roost

We had visitors tell us they had seen hen harriers from the Scrape hide during the afternoon roost on the weekend. Our Reserve team knows there are three female hen harriers in the Arun Valley this winter but had no staff confirmed sightings of the birds roosting in our reedbeds … until this week!

On Mon 8 Jan we confirmed one hen harrier coming into roost and on Tues 10 Jan two were officially recorded along with 11 marsh harriers.

How to tell the harriers apart? Hen harriers are smaller than marsh harriers with a smaller wingspan, still having finger-like feathers at the tips. The male are slate grey in colour while the females are browner, with a white rump. Hen harriers are more acrobatic flyers than the hen harriers.

Highlight: we had 41 cattle egret on Sunday morning between the Sand Martin hide and Ramsar hide.

It’s been cold on the reserve this week. We had snow showers on Monday but it all melted. Ice began forming Tuesday and most of the lagoons and ponds were partially frozen by Wednesday.

If you're coming in this week to spot wintering birds please wear appropriate footwear as some paths remain slippery and icy with conditions changing throughout the day.

Wed Jan 10

Ramsar hide: 7 Canada geese, 23 shoveler, 2 coots, 7 teal

Wildlife Garden: 1 water rail

Pelican cove: 1 little grebe

Woodloop: 1 great spotted woodpecker, 1 grey wagtail

Willow screen: 1 mandarin

Scrape hide: Egyptian geese 3, 1 coots, 1 Canada geesem 2 moorhen, 1 wren, 1 teal, 1 robin, 4 long-tailed tit, 1 cormorant, 6 teal, 9 mallard,

Sand martin hide: 1 herring gull, 1 grey heron, 1 lapwing, 10 cattle egrets, 4 Egyptian geese , 4 greylag geese

Tues 9 Jan

Arun Riverlife: 1 little grebe, 3 pochard

Pelican cove: 1 little grebe

Ramsar and Sand martin hide: 5 snipe, 3 grey heron, 5 cormoramt, 18 mallards, 87 Canada geese, 24 greylag geese, 24 cattle egerets, 25 shoveler, 1 wigeon, 5 black-headed gulls, 3 mute swans. 8 she;ducks, 2 lapwing, 1 coot, 16 teal, 2 gadwa;ll. 1 brent goose.

Scrape hide: 2 female hen harriers roosting in lost reedbed and 11 marsh harriers.

Mon 8 Jan

Lost reedbed from Scrape hide: 1 hen harrier

Arun Riverlife lagoon: 1 kingfisher, 5 pochards

Ramsar and Sand martin: 82 Canada geese, 2 Egyptian geese, 10 Cattle egrets, 17 lapwing, 2 mallards.

Sun 7 Jan

Robin gate: 1 coal tit

Lapwing hide: 1 stonechat

Wetland Discovery: 6 mallards, 1 water rail,, 3 coots, 6 Canada geese, 2 pochard, 2 blackbird, 1 robin, 14 tufted ducks

Ramsar hide: 41 cattle egrets, 9 snipe, 29 lapwing, 4 Egyptian geese

Scrape hide: 3 snipe, 24 shoveler, 2 kingfishers

Pelican Cove: little grebe

Arun Riverlife lagoon: 7 pochard

Waterside walk: 1 water rail.

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