A quiet morning on the reserve this bank holiday Monday, with lots of birds settling into pairs. The Mute swans, Greylag geese and Shelduck can often be seen on the Main Lake, Shingle Bank, Wadermarsh and reserve pathways coupled up and calling to one another. Eggs are visible in the Black-headed gull nests and the woodland trees have burst into life. Castle Espie has officially welcomed Springtime!
Reed buntings and Sedge warblers can be heard and seen by the keen observer in the reeds surrounding the Roundhouse and on the Crannóg. They can be tricky to spot, but are beautiful little birds if you can catch a glimpse. Sedge warblers are summer visitors, and arrive around April time to breed in wetland habitats.
Two Whimbrel were seen flying over the Peninsular field heading into the reserve, straight over the Saltmarsh which contained three busy little Dunlin (pictured). Dunlin are very small wading birds, and can be seen at the moment sporting their summer plumage – a jet black patch on the belly, starkly contrasting with their light chest and chestnut brown backs.
Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory
Black-headed gull 15, Lesser black-backed gull 7, Oystercatcher 77, Black-tailed godwit 15, Dunlin 8, Eider 16, Redshank 2, Herring gull 8, Curlew 1, Hooded crow 1, Brent goose 14
Pier – visible from Limelkiln Observatory and Peninsular Lookout
Lesser black-backed gull 1, Oystercatcher 35, Herring gull 2, Great crested grebe 4, Red-breasted merganser 3, Eider 10
Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre
Mute Swan 2, Shelduck 2, Black-headed gull 130, Mallard 11, Moorhen 2, Hooded crow 1, Teal 2, Greater black-backed gull (flying over) 1
Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre
Black-headed gull 55, Black-tailed godwit 206, Jackdaw 1, Mallard 2, Lesser black-backed gull 1
Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide
Greylag goose 2, Black-headed gull 5
Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg
Sedge warbler 1, Reed bunting 1, Gadwall 7, Black-headed gull 270, Moorhen 2, Coot 1, Lesser black-backed gull 1
Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory
Gadwall 1, Black-headed gull 84
Swallow 1, Mallard 1, Jackdaw 8
Moorhen 1, Black-headed gull 26
Shelduck 2, Black-headed gull 5, Dunlin 3, Little egret 1, Whimbrel (flying over) 2
Dunnock, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Meadow pipit
Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blackbird, Robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Wood pigeon, Wren, Goldcrest