Saturday, 30 April 2016

The setee for cetti's

Undoubtedly the birds of the moment are cetti's warblers.  As per the last post they appear to be all over the reserve this year; the north marsh ones are undoubtedly the most showy.  We can be a bit blasé when shown all these images - but prior to 2013 the only cetti's shot from the reserve was a grainy image by Martin Hodges from 2007.  A few more passable record shots here - Alan Walkington:
Maurice Dowson:
Brian Colley:
Tony Simpson:
And to finish off a nice video from Bruce Pillinger - we've had a few folk asking about what the call is like so hopefully this will help.  Once you've hear it once you can't fail to miss it.     
In fact now the call is everywhere - and so officially derided as a 'common bird.'  The unfortunate problem of being a successful species.  We had a visitor the other day saying how splendid the black headed gulls were - and indeed they are - despite their numbers.  We're not sure on what caused this -
Perhaps thrombosis caused by the neighbours:
It would seem our lesser black backed gulls have returned for attempt number 2.  Last year was the first time ever this species nested on the site, but unfortunately failed not long after the single chick hatched.  Presumably they were a young inexperienced pair - but hopefully will fare better this year - and with luck not consume the neighbours in the process.  It'd appear though that they have already started off as they mean to go on.  This eel wasn't even safe under water...
But some have got off already.  The first mallard brood today, and numerous greylag goslings through the week:

 Otherwise to be fair the last 5 days have been a write off.  The appalling cold saw a complete stall it appears in any movements (or observers wanting to brave it!).  Up until Sunday things has been moving well.  Cuckoo, hobby, swift all in last weekend along with the first common tern:
And yellow wagtail:
A good find was a communal roost on the North Lagoon at dusk; 11 yellows with a possible blue headed continental amongst their number on the 20th with 34 pied.

Perhaps a far more exciting warbler to have on site last weekend than cetti's was a grasshopper warbler reeling on South Marsh West - the first time in many years we've had a genuine 'Spring' bird as opposed to summer refugee from grass cutting elsewhere.  Alas no further sound since with the cold weather.  Dunlin was a nice drop in today as last Friday:
A more notable bird and nice one to boost the ever burgeoning year list was this long-tailed duck which dropped in on the 16th - the first since 2010 just before 'the big freeze'
Not dropping in - perhaps more emerging from the silt of South Lagoon:
The Tophill Terrapin has survived another winter.  This was rumoured to be present for many years and was finally vindicated with views and photos two years back.  Presumably discarded through the shutters of south lagoon inlet hide after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze.  They are omnivorous so are potentially a hazard to our smaller wildlife - but perhaps in the same way as grass snakes.  Conditions are not warm enough for long enough for them to breed in the UK; so this one is destined to spend its days basking in the sun of the lagoon.    

Otherwise we finally got an osprey tonight courtesy of Lee Johnson, alas too late to make use of our platform this year.  And a 'bus like' male redstart spent the day today on East Scrub - many years without one and now two the same spring! Brambling & Egyptian goose on the 20th.  The first common sandpiper on the 22nd. 

So - spotted flycatcher, turtle dove would be great but vain hopes.  Garden warbler should be imminent.  And then whatever spring passage waders may drop by; last year was respectable enough with wood sands etc; but this year the lagoons and marshes are ready and waiting...

Reserve walk next Saturday at 10am.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Gone too spoon

An excellent couple of weeks on the reserve; Continuing in from the first migrants arriving in the last post we have had a great array of birds - generally in various 'gluts' as the wind swings southerly.  Anything up to four ruff have been present on the southern marshes:
But perhaps the best bird was this immature spoonbill present on the 14th albeit too briefly: Great video here from Roy Vincent:
Found by Martin Hodges it showed excellently for those fortunate enough to be on site at the time - coming very close to the 1st hide:
Some more great pictures by Maurice Dowson - note the black wing tips denoting that it is an immature bird:
Roy Vincent captured a last few images too...
...before it was last seen disappearing high south east and 40 minutes later was over Sunk Island and the Humber.  Spoonbill isn't a first for the reserve, but it is the first for several years and nice to see.  Much similar was the redstart that was found last Sunday by Ian and Lukas at South Marsh West.  Again several years since the last, this male showed well all day albeit distantly. Another great video by Roy Vincent:
Further photo's on Erich's blog here.
Otherwise a mass arrival of migrant warblers; the first willow warbler joined the first blackcap on the 3rd found by Steve Routledge (great write up on his blog here).  Blackcap male by Maurice Dowson:
This perching post at North Marsh is not only favoured by this but also one of the buoyant numbers of cetti's warblers on site - some exceptional pictures by Maurice:
And Tony Simpson:
Following on in the last three days have been common and lesser whitethroat, along with sedge warbler.  And it goes without saying that where there are warblers cuckoos aren't far behind - and indeed the first was calling on the 13th.  Again the other shadow also put in appearance the same day; the first hobby of the year. 

Otherwise wagtails are gradually building in numbers as they move through.  15 pied's roosted on the lagoons on the 10th, and a white was present on the 6th.  A smattering of yellow's have been present and a couple of grey's on the north lagoon:
Always worth looking that bit harder - only just spotted the ringed greylag behind just now!  Hopefully we should have some barn owl's to ring of our own this summer as the lonely owl seems to have found a mate.  Still a presence of marsh harriers too so here's hoping.  Red kite sightings also.  A small party of four Egyptian geese have dropped by and the red crested pochards continue to linger - Tony Simpson:
A bit more dubious progeny with the reeve's pheasant; a new addition to the tophill low 'plastic' list in the form of this reeve's pheasant currently wandering around the car park from Bruce Pillinger:
Love is certainly in the air around the reserve's water ways - Oystercatchers - Roy Vincent:

Coot - Stuart Allen
And little grebe Roy Vincent: 
Even the volunteers are getting in the spirit:
Whilst the islands are prepped by those doing real work...
Ready for these characters - Maurice Dowson:
It's not only on the water but beneath it.  Hundreds of great crested newts on the training walks held with the Freshwater Habitats Trust last week:
Nice to see a few other uncommon residents showing as well; both bullfinch - Bruce Pillinger:
and reed bunting - Tony Simpson - are threatened species these days:
But perhaps most welcome are two now very uncommon species - grey partridge showing well on the approach road and a cracking 17 corn buntings at Wilfholme.
Lots of shelduck activity still - Roy Vincent:
For better or worse lesser black backed gulls also back on the marsh.  Roe deer gradually disappearing back into the growing foliage - Stuart Allen:
So still plenty to look forward to; common terns, reed warblers to come back yet as we amass quite a year list.  Perhaps not as many as this guy we were graced by on the 5th of April - well worth a read and donate here