Mersehead Recent Sightings 3rd - 10th November

Perfect autumn weather with an amazing sunny bright day, clear sky and a chilly atmosphere can better describe the beginning of this week. However, the weather has been very variable but mostly dry for the rest of the week, consisting of heavy rain, plenty of sunny spells and a mist that covered the reserve most of Wednesday.

Mist approaching in the reserve. Photo credit: Adaica Rodriguez

The reserve count was done this week, obtaining 26 species, the majority of them were concentrated near the Bruaich hide, east side of the reserve and on the coast when the hide tide was approaching. The survey results highlights were 2,755 Oystercatcher, 1,340 Dunlin, 631 Lapwings, 172 Curlew, 31 Shelduck, 79 Pintail, 337 Teal, 1 first- winter Whopper Swan, 34 Ring plover, 89 Grey plover, 95 Shoveler and almost 5,000 Barnacle geese.

Another survey executed this week was the winter passerines, counting 192 birds in total.  More than 50% were Linnets, 20% Skylarks, 7% Greenfinches, and 3% of Goldfinches, Yellowhammers and Reed buntings respectively.

A higher number of garden birds can be appreciated in the visitor centre feeders such as Robin, Blue tits, Great tits, Coal tits, Dunnock, House sparrows, Wren, Yellowhammer, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Goldfinches, plus the recent arrival Tree sparrows. The Tree sparrows can differentiated from the more common family species, house sparrows, from the distinctive black spot on their white cheeks, shyer personality and their smaller size. Other birds spotted around the visitor centre were a Great Woodpecker, a Sparrowhawk and, some Redwings and Blackbirds in the hedges.

Tree Sparrow in the feeders. Photo credit Ray Kennedy

Additionally, there have been many other bird sightings around the reserve including 2 Barn owls that have been spotted regularly around the Sulwath garden, a Kestrel and a Merlin have been flying in front the visitor centre fields, a Little Egret landed in our wetlands at the beginning of the week, 3 pairs of Bullfinches were sighted in rainbow lane, a Black-tailed godwit in the coast and 41 fieldfare counted in the saltmarshes. Kingfishers has been seen all around the reserve, flying in the saltmarshes, wetland, and woodland trails whilst 2 birds seemed to be enjoying the Starlings’ murmuration in front of the Meida hide on Sunday.

Kingfisher. Photo credit Mike Richards

Meida hide has become the best scenario to appreciate more than 15,000 starling murmuration. What a truly amazing and joyful spectacle! The surrounding wildlife has been making this murmuration more special, when a regular female Marsh harrier comes around to challenge the starlings aerial acrobatics and philosophy of safety in numbers; or when the beautiful sunshine transform the cheerful atmosphere to celebrate this nature performance; as well as getting delighted seeing a huge flock of barnacle geese moving towards the starlings in their way to their roosting grounds.

Adaica Rodriguez

Residential Volunteer