The last week has seen an steady increase in the number of winter thrushes passing through and feeding on the ripe red hawthorn berries hanging on the hedgerows. fieldfares and redwings have been joined by Scandinavian blackbirds and song thrushes, with different weather patterns seemingly giving more or less of individual species. Light rain seems to be good for song thrushes while clearer weather brings more blackbirds, and low cloud and wind can be good for Fieldfare and redwing.
Redwing and tree spadgers in the car park
Also interesting to note that there were 300 wigeon roosting along the river this morning, the largest count this autumn, duck numbers though are generally low on the reserve, in part due to low water levels and late flooding that has not made food available to the waterfowl. There are a few teal, shoveler and mallard using the lagoons and still good numbers of pink footed geese flying over site. A nice water rail out in the open at Ousefleet screen was a bonus this morning as were two little egrets on Xerox.
There seems to be a couple of wintering parties of Whooper swans, one with two adults and then the adults with young, they can roost on the reserve but feed out towards Adlingfleet and Garthorpe.
Whoopers from the weekend - still no news of the injured youngster
Best of the waders have been up to 80 ruff still roosting on site, and then during the day three spotted redshank, a few dunlin, redshank and snipe, up to 300 lapwings and a few fly over golden plover. Good to see up to 30 curlew back feeding in the stubble next to the reserve at Ousefleet, they've been really nice to photograph over the last couple of months.
Show a wing!
Still reasonable numbers of marsh harriers about along with buzzard, sparrowhawk, kestrel and at dusk a chance of merlin and barn owl. This morning the barnie flew out of the roosting hole in the gents toilet block, first time I've seen one use this since the big freeze in December 2010.
Still plenty of singing cettis warblers but they have been very elusive this autumn compared to last, also a few lovely stonechats around the lagoon edges, tree sparrows at the feeders, the odd water pipit frequenting Ousefleet, the odd redpoll feeding on the willowherb but the passage of these and siskins has quietened down somewhat. A few yellowhammers over today was notable as was a great spotted woodpecker and there has been regular bullfinch around the scrub that have led me a merry dance as I have tried to take photo's
These two more obliging birds were outside the office yesterday, such a lovely finch
And the male - a real little bobby dazzler
As I've alluded to earlier in the month it's been a particularly poor year for fungi on the reserve so it was nice to find these yesterday
I'll finish with a bit of a summary of the hardworking management team who are busy out in the reedbed and meadows at the moment cutting reed and grazing the vegetation.
The Wardening team busy burning reed after cutting to create bittern habitat within the lagoons
And then some of our woolly Wardens who are busy aftermath grazing horseshoe meadow (this could get confusing!), The idea is for them to remove all the excess vegetation and then spread the wildflower and grass seed within their dung, we'll remove them well before spring and then hopefully we'll get a stunning show of colour!
And then the ponies grazing the lagoon banks after the frost earlier in the week