The play area (climbing frame area, not the woods or swamp) will be temporarily closed for a short period as we are installing a new Play Tower- we apologise for any inconvenience.
The milder weather has been a welcome change for birdwatching at Castle Espie in the last week, and these observations taken on a receding tide show that the numbers of Black-headed gulls are starting to increase as breeding season looms. They can be spotted on most water bodies around the reserve, from individuals to large flocks. Most of the birds now have their characteristic chocolate-brown head, but some are still sporting some white feathers around the face, giving them a mottled appearance. You can also keep an eye out for them on the Estuary from the Brent Hide, bobbing on the waves at high tide or feeding on the mud flats at low tide. The Common goldeneye was once again on the Main Lake, easily spotted from the collection area with its distinctive iridescent head and striking eyes.
The Green-winged teal was seen on the Wadermarsh amongst Common teal and a few Black-headed gulls which had drifted over from the large flock on the Shingle Bank. Despite them taking up most of the Shingle, a few Oystercatcher, Gadwall and even a Cormorant were able to find space between the gulls to share.
The woodland is starting to feel particularly ‘spring-like’, with sunlight streaming through the trees and a symphony of different birdsong to serenade you as you walk. The Siskin are still a familiar sight and the tiny Goldcrest can be spotted by the keen observer. This week, the aptly named Treecreeper (pictured) was seen – funnily enough – creeping up and down the trees! These intriguing little birds have a distinctly downward-curved beak, and are easy to spot by their characteristic way of slinking and spiraling up, down and round tree trunks looking for insects and spiders.
Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory
Oystercatcher 74, Redshank 128, Light-bellied brent goose 78, Black-headed gull 25, Curlew 1, Shelduck 23, Little egret 2, Black-tailed godwit 2, Dunlin 26
Pier – visible from the Limekiln Observatory and Peninsular Lookout
Dunlin 82, Oystercatcher 109, Redshank 27, Curlew 1, Lesser black-backed gull 2, Turnstone 8
Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre
Mallard 28, Tufted duck 4, Teal 18, Moorhen 4, Coot 1, Little egret 1, Black-headed gull 6, Little grebe 1, Common goldeneye 1, Grey wagtail 2
Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre
Mallard 3, Teal 16, Gadwall 4, Oystercatcher 5, Herring gull 1, Jackdaw 8, Cormorant 1, Black-headed gull 116
Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide
Black-headed gull 12, Redshank 5, Greenshank 1, Teal 16, Green-winged teal 1
Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg
Moorhen 2, Coot 1, Black-headed gull 104
Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory
Oystercatcher 1, Black-headed gull 20, Redshank 1, Greenshank 1, Jackdaw 2
Jackdaw 7, Wood pigeon 1
Moorhen 1, Little grebe 1, Black-headed gull 2, Mallard 7
Black-headed gull 3
Blackbird, Wren, Chaffinch, Great tit, Siskin, Robin, Blue tit, Wood pigeon, Goldcrest, Coal tit, Magpie, Longtail tit, Treecreeper, Mallard 3 (in swamp)