Latest sightings

Black-headed Gull breeding season beginning and ending

Black-headed Gull breeding season beginning and ending

The South Lake Black-headed Gull breeding season is largely coming to an end but some pairs are still building new nests

Bluethroat a little more helpful today

Bluethroat a little more helpful today

The Bluethroat showed a number of times this morning between 0815-0930am.

Sunday 26 June sightings

Sunday 26 June sightings

South LakeIt's a really good spot for waders at the moment, we were forced to use part of the deep lake level to save the wader scrape from drying up last week, judging by the wader species present they've been appreciative. Two very smart breeding plumage Spotted Redshanks (pictured MJM), three breeding plumage male Ruff (one of which also fed on the Dumbles scrape this morning), 25 Redshank, (numbers building up post breeding and arriving to moult), 3 each of Oystercatcher and Lapwing, 63 Black-tailed Godwit and two of Spoonbills spent the high tide period roosting here (later seen on the estuary). Eight Teal, 9 Shelduck and a Shoveler joined the Gadwall. 260 Black-headed Gulls had 24 fledged juveniles among them.Top New PieceA large gathering of 85 Avocet, 15 Teal, 15 Redshank (two fledged juveniles), 13 Lapwing, two Cranes, singing Reed Buntings and Reed Warblers and the House Martins and Swallows had 20+ Swift and 10+ Sand Martin among their ranks as they fed over the marsh.Rushy HideSingle Avocet, 2 Redshank, Lapwing, moulting flock of Gadwall, a few Teal and Shelduck.Estuary TowerA breeding plumage male Ruff (third individual on site today, moved to South Lake) and Lapwing on the scrape. Long Ground PoolThree Little Egret and Grey Heron. Pill Box PoolLittle Egret and Green Sandpiper. Tack Piece- 5 pairs Avocet, 2 Green Sandpiper and 4 Lapwing

Bluethroat showing well

Bluethroat showing well

The Bluethroat at Middle Point has been seen regularly this morning, staying up on the perches to sing

End of week catch-up

End of week catch-up

It has been a busy week with lots of great birding too, so here is your update for the weekend.

Return of the Bluethroat

Return of the Bluethroat

A male White-spotted Bluethroat held territory and sang on and off during the midsummer period last year, we hoped it would return this year so prepared the Middle Point area with some extra feeding places away from the path and added a number of taller perching (hazel) sticks. The perches were placed to offer the Bluethroat a song perch in the hope that it would be easier for people to see this elusive bird. This morning what has to be the same bird began singing and showed briefly on one of the perches. It was seen and heard at approx 0900am, heard again at 11.15am and seen briefly at 1pm.This bird is shy, it can disappear for long periods. It will drop into the reeds if it hears voices so best to be quiet.It is best viewed from the seawall/Shepherds Hut hide as this offer the advantage of height however it is important to stay low, use the hide or use the hide or bank as a backdrop, a silhouette of the human form moving (sky-lining) often cause it to drop into cover. Patience or luck is needed, you might see or hear it straight away, it can sometimes take hours before it decides to show itself and then it could be a brief view, bird is approx 90m away. We may have to close part of the path to give it a little more room.*Please bear in mind that farm access is needed adjacent the hide, quad bikes, tractors and 4x4s may need to pass within the roped area.*Members can access via the Members gate free from 08.15am, the Estuary Walkway and gate at Martin Smith hide closes at 5pm, please have your card ready for inspection. The walk from the car park to Shepherds Hut hide is approx 1km.Non-members can access via admissions (up the ramp to visitor centre) from 09.30am. Other sightings today include the following sightings.Rushy HideLittle-ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper, 6 Avocet, Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, flock of moulting Gadwall and assorted wildfowl. Tack PieceFour Green Sandpiper, 4 Lapwing, 5 drake Teal, 12 Avocet and a Oystercatcher.South LakeA breeding plumage Spotted Redshank, Redshank, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, pair of nesting Little-ringed Plover, 4 Lapwing, 2cy and 3cy Mediterranean Gull, Great Crested and Little Grebes.Middle PointImmature Spoonbill, 3 Little Egret, 2 Whimbrel, 25 Curlew, 6 Oystercatcher, Flocks of Shelduck in 9 ducklings, pair of Peregrine on estuary driftwood and Barn Owl hunting grassland and reedbed. Estuary TowerThree Cranes on Dumbles. Seven Grey Heron in flight early afternoon.Top New PieceEarly morning sightings of a roosting Spoonbill, 56 Avocet included the nesting birds + one chick, 4 Teal, 2 pairs of Shoveler, Gadwall with 4 ducklings, 19 Lapwing, 29 Redshank, a pair of Cranes (one apparently in wing moult) + Shelducks.Kingfisher HideCuckoo singing persistently during the morning from treetop by hide, it found female and they flew off together. Adult and immature Grey Herons, Barn Owl visiting the nest box this morning and Kingfisher present. Out on the field and distant flood- Redshank and Lapwing defending young. Great Egret on Top New Piece floods. Multiple Reed warblers and Reed buntings and a pair of Blackcap.

Where has the summer gone?

Where has the summer gone?

We've seen temperatures drop by over 10oC compared to yesterday, bringing an end to the heatwave

Mini wader fest

Mini wader fest

The Top New Piece is the best birding spot today, with a host of waders on offer

Avocets keep trying

Avocets keep trying

Despite a high level of predation the nesting Avocets are persistent, new nests appearing where they haven't nested so far this year.

Here comes the summer

Here comes the summer

June can sometimes be seen as the birding doldrums, but the reserve is still filled with life and birdsong.

Orchids at their best

Orchids at their best

Spikes and pink and purple are now popping up all over the reserve, and through the grounds - but how many species can you find?

Osprey

Osprey

A mid year Osprey passed over the reserve at 12.30-12.35pm, most likely to be wandering young bird with no particular rush to get North or South. It was very successful in creating a commotion on South Lake with Oystercatchers pursuing it for a time.Kingfisher HideThe Barn Owl was again hunting over Top and Bottom New Piece and visiting the nest box. a Kingfisher also seen with Reed and Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting singing.Middle Point/Severn at low tideThree Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper, 126 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Grey Plover, 49 Sanderling, 15 Avocet, 27 Curlew, 95+ Dunlin, male Yellow Wagtail with a beak full of flies and 2 females on the Dumbles side of point, Little Egret and 2 Kestrel hunting the foreshore/seawall.South LakeTwo Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin early morning, 2-3 Little-ringed Plover, 105 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Tern, a drake Goldeneye (perhaps our latest Spring record ever), 3 Redshank,two drake and female Teal, 25 Gadwall, 23 Avocet (4 juvs) and Great Crested and Little Grebes.Duck DecoyFeeding party of 120 Swift over the site, a Cormorant 'drying' on the log. Rushy Hide2cy Mediterranean Gull, pair of Little-ringed Plover, brood of Tufted Duck, brood of Shelduck, Redshank, 44 Gadwall, 11 Shelduck and a pair of Crane with a chick.Top New PieceA Cattle Egret flew off towards the road field (looks like it ended up with the Longhorn herd), 4 Oystercatcher, 3 male and 1 female Teal, 5 Lapwing, 3 Redshank, 28 Avocet, a few Sand Martins, pair of Cranes. Bottom New PieceRedshank and Lapwing defending young. Estuary TowerA Little-ringed Plover over to Tack Piece, a pair of Redshank were alarm calling appear to have chicks near the shore.Tin Shed GroundTwo Cattle Egret in the field with the Longhorn Cattle, look E from the Van de Bovenkamp Hide

Sunday 5 June

Sunday 5 June

The tail end of Spring passage continues, an increase in Black-tailed Godwit (pictured) numbers to 105 and another great flurry of Arctic bound waders on the Severn today.Kingfisher HideThe Barn Owl pair which took up residence in the nest box have been actively hunting mice and voles during the daytime today, one of the adults was seen entering the nest box with prey on two occasions and have ranged to the Top New Piece and Dumbles to hunt. It's still a great place to see and hear wtland passerines such as Reed and Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting.Top New PieceTwo breeding plumage Cattle Egret were roosting on the most southern of the four islands to 09:30am, a Hobby buzzed 4 Sand Martin and dozen Swallow before heading off NE, 3 drake and one female Shoveler, 35 Avocet of which many were nest building, a pair of Redshank, 4 Lapwing, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, a pair of Crane (chicks hidden in the tall grass) + loafing Shelducks and Gadwall, a brood of the former.Middle Point/SevernIn the tidal creeks and pools and muddy spots this morning were a smart breeding plumage Curlew Sandpiper, 97 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 34 Curlew, 64 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, broods of 2, 7 and 9 Shelduck, 3 immature Spoonbill, 2 Oystercatcher, a Redshank defending young along the shore, 2 Avocet + 40 small waders distant to North. As the tide dropped a count of 48 Sanderling was made from the Estuary Tower.South LakeA second calendar year Mediterranean Gull, pair of Cranes (couldn't see the young), 99 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Lapwing, Avocets, Gadwall, a pair of Great Crested and Little Grebes and a pair of Little-ringed Plover being highlights.Duck DecoyA Spotted Flycatcher was mobile about the pond, favouring the lee of the tallest trees.

Friday birding

Friday birding

The extra long Bank Holiday weekend continues today, with the reserve bathed in glorious sunshine

A busy pair of Cuckoo

A busy pair of Cuckoo

A male Cuckoo was busy singing and patrolling the South Finger Reedbed this morning, whilst a female was around the settling pond on the look out for nests and giving her own bubbling call