Monday started off with a great selection of feathered friends. From Pickup you could see Brambling, Redpoll, and a Sparrowhawk. Around the Visitor Centre there were Willow Tits and a Song Thrush. Over the reserve were 5 Buzzards and a Kestrel.
Tuesday saw Mistle Thrushes, Willow, Blue and Great Tits, a Little Owl in the paddock and again 3 more Buzzards circling over the reserve.
Wednesday began with a Brambling at Pickup, along with Linnet, Bullfinches and a Marsh Harrier. From around the boardwalk were reports of Jay, Kingfisher, Willow and Long-tailed Tits and over the reserve were 5 Buzzards, a Peregrine Falcon and a Red Kite.
Thursday was good for Linnets, with sightings of 10-12 near the Visitor Centre. A Sparrowhawk was seen swooping at the bird feeders in the wildlife garden and a Little Owl was in the field behind the Visitor Centre.
Today (Friday) has been great for Waterfowl. From Lin Dike hide over Spoonbill Flash there were 20+ Wigeon and 15+ Shovelers. There were also 7 Grey Herons, 10+ Lapwing, a hand full of Teal and along Arrow Lane (Lin Dike path) a keen birder identified the call of a Water Rail, which sounds similar to a piglet squeal. All in all a pretty fantastic week.
A Grey Phalarope was seen on the reserve on Saturday which is very exciting news, this is the 7th recording of this species to the reserve since 1956. It was reported to be on the pool down below Red Shale road. They are not usually seen inland, strong winds will probably have been responsible for blowing this little wader off course.
The second sighting this Autumn of the Long Eared Owl came in on Sunday from Lin Dike part of the reserve, and there has also been a Little Owl around this week, with three separate reports throughout the week. The observations of the Little Owl were all in the field behind the visitor centre.
The following was seen from Pickup hide on Monday: Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Black-headed and backed Gull, Green Sandpiper, Wigeon, Cormorant, Moorhen, Blue Tit, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Willow Tit, Tree Creeper, Kestrel and Sarrowhawk. It's amazing what you can see if you sit down for 20 minutes!
Other sightings this week include Mistle Thrush and Redwing around the boardwalk and Golden Plover, Little Egret, Pintail and Marsh Harrier down on the flashes or from Lin Dike.
Even with some less than desirable weather this week there has still been good reports of bird activity around the reserve. The sounds of Chiffchaff have been great to hear, but also seem slightly out of place as they have not been heard since the breeding season. Redpolls are showing up around the reserve and this week; a few have been seen around the visitor centre. They are generally a winter visitor to Britain and a sure sign that autumn is under way.
The first of our winter migrants are beginning to appear now, with Redwing and Pintail being the first. They were seen at Lin Dike and over the flashes on Sunday. Two Siskin were viewed around the boardwalk on Tuesday which is also excellent news.
Other exciting news this week is that there have been two separate sightings of a Hen Harrier seen flying over the reserve. The first report came on Saturday and the raptor was said to be flying East over the visitor centre. The second report came on Tuesday and was heading in a westerly direction. Seeing as the Hen Harrier is one of the most persecuted birds of prey in the UK and any sightings or reports of these stunning raptors are always very encouraging.