Wednesday, 4 July 2018

July 1st 2018

1st   Grass snake between river and kingfisher hide. (AH)
        Kingfisher, blackcap x 11, stock dove x 4, hobby, chiffchaff x 6, godlcrest,
        sedge warbler,  reed bunting x 5, reed warbler x 4, yellowhammer, buzzards,
        willow warbler, Cetti's warbler, common tern x 64. (Terry Brown)

Grass snake

Thursday, 28 June 2018

June 21st to 24th 2018

June 21st:  Third Thursday Walk on Meadow Trail:
                  Blackbird, blackcap, b-h gull, blue tit, buzzard, crow, chiffchaff,
                  common tern, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, g-c grebe, garden warbler,
                  goldfinch, great tit, green woodpecker, greenfinch, heron, house sparrow,
                  jackdaw, lesser b-b gull, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, reed bunting,
                  reed warbler, robin, song thrush, stock dove, swallow, tufted duck, whitethroat,
                  willow warbler, wood pigeon, wren, hobby, collared dove, Cetti's warbler,
                  Norfolk hawker, southern hawker, four spotted chaser. (D. Wilson)
Scarce chaser, male.

June 22nd:  Heron on the meadow trail. (PP/IG)
                   Kingfisher, g-c grebe, mute swan, heron, common tern, cormorant, magpie,
                   swallow, tufted duck, wood pigeon, mallard, moorhen, grey squirrel, muntjac,
                   blackbird. (G McV)

June 24th:  Little ringed plover (Island Pit), blackcap x 12, chiffchaff x 5,
                   Cetti's warbler x 2, kingfisher x 2, garden warbler, willow warbler x 4,
                   common tern x 58, goldcrest x 2, reed bunting x 5, song thrush x 4,
                   sparrow hawk, reed warbler x 3, yellowhammer x 3, whitethroat x 2,
                   lesser whitethroat, sedge warbler. (Terry Brown.)

Grass snakes were seen by many visitors. This one was seen swimming across Heronry North lake.

In this period the variety of dragonflies and damselflies on the wing was spectacular, but no-one sent us their records. Norfolk and southern hawkers were on the wing, brown hawkers emerged, four spotted and scarce chasers were joined by black tailed skimmers and the first common darters. Emperors were the most dramatic fresh dragonflies followed by the first brown hawkers. Damsels included red-eyed, variable, common blue, blue tailed, small red and the spectacular, metallic banded demoiselles.

Female common blue.
Butterflies were also plentiful with commas, ringlets, meadow browns, speckled woods, green veined and large whites, and common blues sighted.  Large skippers were plentiful and the first small skippers were seen.

Plant-wise, the first great dodder was found at the river viewpoint and there was a spectacular show of bee and pyramidal orchids for those with the interest to seek them out.

Jocelyn Gale found a new record for the Reserve at the beach on Cloudy Pit in the form of hound's tongue. (It is still there but has gone to seed now.)

Anyone looking for spiders will not be disappointed, though no wasp spiders have been found yet.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

June 1st to June 13th 2018

June: time for dragonflies!

3rd  Turtle dove heard in the car park.

4th  Cuckoo at river viewpoint yellow hammer at quarry, nightingale at moorings (M&P Smith)

6th  Scare chaser and four-spotted chaser, speckled wood. variable, red-eyed, blue-tailed
       damsels on the meadow trail, black tailed skimmer on the heron trail.
       Whitethroat (LC Smith from Kent)
       Nightingale at moorings (GR)

7th  Banded demoiselle ay moorings (JMcD)
       Norfolk hawker on the Hayling Pit and more emerging. Variable, blue-tailed, red-eyed,
       common blue damsels, 4 spotted chaser, black-tailed skimmers and emperor dragonfly.

10th Hobby (Carol Baker)


13th Orchids: Bee orchid, pyramidal and spotted orchids along roadside and Sailing Lake. (JS)
        Barn owl, kingfisher, cuckoo, blackcap, whitethroat, sedge warbler, g-c grebe,
        buzzard, chiffchaff. on the meadow trail. (AH)
        Speckled wood, meadow brown, common blue butterflies. Cinnabar and silver y moths
        plus catterpillars of the mullein moth. (JS)

Horseflies are pretty fierce on the Meadow Trail this month.

May 22nd to 29th 2018

22nd  Cuckoo male at the beach. (SM) Cetti's warbler x 4 (Meadow Trail). Nightingales
          singing x 2 at moorings. (TG)

24th  Nightingale at moorings, many blackcaps and garden warblers, reed warblers at
         Washout. Willow warbler. chiff chaff, whitethroat. (RSB)
         Norfolk Hawker near allotments ovipositing. (Guy Taplin)

28th  Whitethroat x 4, lesser whitethroat x 2, cuckoo x 2, chigffchaff x11, blackcap x 12,
          reed warbler x 8, willow warbler x 2, garden warbler x 2, sedge warbkler x 1,
          reed bunting x 5, yellowhammer x 2, goldcrest, common tern x 29. (Terry Brown)
          Nightingale by education centre. (GB)

29th  Blue tit, robin, baby sparrow, blackbird, squirrel, great tit, in garden. (Lucy Thomson)
         House sparrow, woodpigeon. (Kathryn and Amie)

Norfolk Hawker by Peter Wood.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

May 17th to 21st 2018

17th: Red kite, cuckoo (River viewpoint) (CM)

Third Thursday Walk (17th):

Female banded demoiselle

Dust-bathing dunnock
Blackbird, black-cap, b-h gull, blue tit, bullfinch, buzzard, crow, chaffinch, chiffchaff, common tern, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, garden warlber, goldcrest, goldfinch, g-c grebe, g-s woodpecker, great tit, green woodpecker, greenfinch, heron, greylag, house martin, jackdaw, lesser white throat, l-t tit, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, ted kite, reed bunting, reed warbler, robin, rook, song thrush, starling, stock dove, swallow, swift, tufted duck, willow warbler, wood pigeon, wren, hobby, cuckoo, nightingale at moorings, sparrowhawk, kestrel. (51 spp)
Green-veined white.

Scarce chaser
Sarratt U3A (21st)

Meadow Trail: much the same bird list as on Thursday including excellent views of hobby and cuckoo on the Hayling Lake. Also two singing Cetti's warblers (meadow and the Hayling). This was a great day for dragonflies including Norfolk hawker, scarce chaser, four spotted chaser, hairy dragonfly, blue and blue tailed damsel and banded demoiselle. Butterflies included red admiral, green veined white, orange tip, holly blue and common blue. Another glimpse of a green hairstreak on willow by Rudd Pit. 
Four spotted chaser

Thursday, 17 May 2018

May 14th to 16th 2018

Swallow at the Visitor Centre.
May 14th:  Pair of swallows hanging around the visitor centre, possibly nesting
                   (definitely roosting) over roller shutter. Hobby x 3 (Heronry Lakes),
                   roughly six tern pairs per raft plus two pairs of b-h gulls. Green hairstreak 
                   butterfly at farmyard (possibly a first) with brimstone and large white.
                   Orange tips still plentiful, plus comma and holly blue. Cuckoo at river
                   viewpoint and nightingale at moorings. (JAS)

May 16th: Swallows still present at visitor centre plus large numbers of swifts and
                  martins over the lakes. Single hobby, cuckoo, and nightingale at town dump.
                  First mallard ducklings on Heronry North.

Heron going fishing.

Friday, 11 May 2018

May 5th to 11th 2018

Nightingales: Your best chance of seeing a nightingale are:
1.      The Sailing Lake at the West end.
2.      The Boundary Hedge just beyond the Dragonfly Pond.
3.      The Moorings at the river.
4.      We have eight to ten birds on the wider site as a whole.

May 5th            Turtle Dove at the Hayling Lake. (NP)

May 7th            Cuckoo x 2. Nightingales x 2, garden warblers x 10, whitethroat x 3,
                         Cetti’s warbler x 1, Reed warbler x 5, sedge warbler. (MSHA)
                         Grey squirrel, GS woodpecker, blue tit, jay,
                         hobby x 2 (Johan. Zack and Katie)
                         Red Kite and Norfolk Hawker Dragonfly (Meadow Trail)
                         Swift (Sue Pople)

May 8th           Red crested pochard (Sailing Lake ) (Tim Goose)
                        Nightingale opposite Hayden Hide. (Colin B)

May 9th           Swallows attempting to nest above door in Visitor Centre
                        Otter from Bill’s Bench. Nightingales at moorings, hobby over Heronry South.

May 10th.       
Lots of goslings, but not many ducklings yet.
                        Nightingale at moorings, cuckoo, garden warbler (10), Whitethroat,
                        Reed bunting, reed warbler x 2, blackcap x12, turtle dove, swift, hobby,
                        willow warbler x 3, common tern x 6, bullfinch (John Wyatt)

May 11th        17 terns on rafts and more in the air. Only one pair of bh gulls.
                        Swallows still present at Visitor Centre, house martins and swifts over.
                        Two pairs of oystercatcher on Sailing Lake. Goldfinches on niger seed.
                        Reed warbler singing on the mound by fisherman's car park.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

May 7th 2018

Canada goose brood.

Two nightingales heard: o
ne near Peter's Field at post 8,
the other just to left of the pond with the gate on (Dragonfly Pond)
Other species :
10 Garden Warblers
18 Blackcaps
12 Chiffchaffs 
4 Songthrushes
2 Treecreepers 
Sedge warbler

2 Green Woodpeckers 
1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker 
1  bullfinch
1 Jay
17 Common Terns
5 Tufted Duck
2 Male and 1 female Cuckoos 
2 Linnets
3 Whitethroats 
5 Reed Warblers

Long-tailed tit.
1 Sedge Warbler 
1 Cettis Warbler 
1 Goldcrest in song

Michael and Diane Hunt from Buckingham
(Photos by Jim Stevenson)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

May 1st to 6th 2018

1st   Hobby over car park, house martin x 3,bullfinch, blackcap, garden warbler,
        chiff-chaff, willow warbler, cuckoo. (GHL) 
        Swift x 2 at En Ed Centre, (DM)

3rd   Raven soaring over VC (Cliff Tack) (2 seen earlier.)
        Nightingale singing west end of sailing lake. Bullfinch x 2 (Dave H.)
        Nightingale singing at moorings. Lots of garden warblers + chiff chaff,
        willow warbler, black cap whitethroat on Ouse Valley Way at moorings.(A Day)
        Cuckoo (JD) Lesser whitethroat on river bank, stock dove x 4, whitethroat x 3
        treecreeper x 3, garden warbler x 5, willow warbler x 3, blackcap x 6.  (HSU)

4th  Yellowhammer near quarry yard on wires.  (VS)
       Cranes (x 3) flying over VC. (seen by many. JS) Lesser whitethroat
       singing on mound near VC. Nightingale heard from Ed Centre. (In old town dump)

6th  Breeding Bird Survey: Results not in yet but nightingale still singing in dump,
       lesser whitethroat still on mound. Green woodpeckers on Lafarge meadow.
       Many garden warblers and black caps, cuckoo heard from VC, 
       Cetti's warbler in the meadow, sedge and reed warblers around Cloudy Pit,
       linnet x 2 in old Lafarge plant. Two broods of Canada geese on Cloudy Pit.
       Butterflies include holly blue, brimstone and orange tip.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

April 22nd to 26th 2018

22nd: Cuckoo (SF) Otter x 4 at Kingfisher Hide (female + 3 kits at 6:55 am) (GR)
          Swallow x 4 over river, cuckoo x 2, kingfisher x 2 (ES)
          Blue tit in bat box. Orange tip, peacock, speckled wood, brimstone.

24th: Blackcap, garden warbler, chiffchaff, willow warbler, lesser whitethroat,
         cuckoos, common tern, yellow hammer.  (RSS)

25th: Swift x 2, Cetti's warbler, hobby, nightingale at moorings,
         common tern x 2, swallow, house martin x2.

26th: Diddington. Pair of mistle thrushes, blackbird, common terns, b-h gulls,
         l-b gulls, herring gulls, swallows and sand martins.
         Bullfinch x 2, linnet x 3, corn bunting (?) (JC)
         Yellowhammer near river, buzzard x 2, swallow and stock dove x 2 at
         Kingfisher Hide, blackcap x 4, chiffchaff x 2. (MB)
         Garden warbler x 4, nightingale singing at moorings. (D Payne)
         Great spotted woodpecker on feeders at the Hayden Hide.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

April 21st 2018

Common Buzzard.
21st.  Nightingale in full song by the moorings, 2 lesser whitethroats, 1 whitethroat,
          cuckoo calling near the river, egyptian goose and 2 little egrets over river trail,
          treecreeper by kingfisher hide, a few common blue butterflies along
          Ouse Valley Way towards Washout Pit. (Alan Horsley)
          Male hen harrier high over Little Paxton on 21st. (Ian Dawson)

Male hen harrier high over Little Paxton on 21st. (Ian Dawson)

22nd  Keep an eye out for black terns and little gulls today. Lots of sightings nearby.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

April 15th to 20th 2018

This has been an exciting week. Spring finally arrived and, although bird numbers are still low, the species list is growing rapidly.
Reed bunting at the Hayden Hide

15th  Mediterranean gull (2nd summer) Washout Pit.

16th  Ring ouzel and 2 Arctic terns.

17th  Dog otter (in Quarry)

18th  Grass snake. Grasshopper warbler Egyptian geese x2
         2 male bramblings at the Hayden Hide and a cock redstart at the river view.
Brambling at the Hayden Hide.

19th  Pumphouse Pit (no public access) Martin is a registered counter and holds a permit.
         This area will become part of the reserve in a year or two.
         Spotted redshank, little gull x 3, Cetti's warbler x 4, little ringed plover,
         redshank x 2, green sandpiper, dunlin, greenshank x 2, oystercatcher x 4,
         lapwing x 2, reed warbler x 2, garden warbler x 2, lesser whitethroat x 3,
         nightingale x2, cuckoo x 2, shelduck x 9, yellow wagtail x 1. (MD)

         Heronry Lakes osprey over in evening. Treecreeper, cuckoo and single brambling.

Grey heron.

20th  Grasshopper warbler in East Scrub and Cettis warbler x 2. (Colin Burgh)
         2 ospreys and 2 ravens reported from quarry in morning. Little gull at sailing lake.
         Single male brambling at Hayden Hide all day. Three tern rafts occupied.
         Wren, goldfinch, l-t tit, dunnock, reed, bunting, robin, blackbird, blue tit,
         great tit, whitethroat, garden warbler, lesser whitethroat, buzzard and red kite
         all near the Visitor Centre. Marsh harrier over.
         Grass snake swimming at Kingfisher Hide and a weasel at Peter's Field. (JAS)

         Pumphouse Pit: Black tern, Arctic tern, avocet x 2, dunlin x 3, redshank x 3,
         oystercatcher x 4, wheatear, marsh harrier, yellow wagtail x 2, Cetti's warbler x 2,
         nightingale x 4, yellow-legged gull. (MRD)

         Sailing Lake: Little gull and raven (S Kitching)
         Kingfisher Hide: Goldcrest, treecreeper x 3
         Raven over Island Pit, Grass-snake swimming at Cobham Hide.
         (PP, EKP, SW, MW)

         Red Kite, nightingale (moorings) blackcap, Cetti's warbler, whitethroat and
         garden warbler on Heron Trail. (JP)

Peacock butterfly on old steel gate.
        Each day the list has been the same: comma, peacock, small tortoiseshell,
        green-veined white, brimstone and orange tip.

Nightingale update:
         We seem to have 4 males near Offord Pumping station along footpath and
         four more dotted around the Reserve. Please report all locations accurately
         to us as we are concerned about falling numbers of this flagship species.

Friday, 20 April 2018

April 18th: Bramblings

Nick Truby sent us these photos of two male bramblings that he took at the Hayden Hide on Wednesday April 18th.

You can see the way the brambling's head changes colour from  grey to black in the run up to the breeding season. The feathers have pale tips that wear away during the winter to reveal the black beneath.

Bramblings breed among redwings and fieldfares in Scandinavian woodland, so I guess they will be gone soon. They were still around on the 19th.

Thanks for the great pictures Nick. 

Bramblings by Nick Truby at Paxton Pits.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

April 16th to 19th 2018

This week has seen a great transformation at the Pits with flowers, insects and butterflies emerging. The birds have not really done so well in terms of numbers, but we now have three singing nightingales, at least one cuckoo and two bramblings have been at the Hayden Hide for several days.
On the 18th a male redstart was photographed at the river viewpoint by Roger Millard.

Cock redstart.

On the 17th the tern rafts were spring cleaned and towed into place because several pairs of common terns were sitting on the mooring buoys and looking homeless.  

My butterfly count on the 18th included brimstone, small tortoiseshell, peacock, comma, orange tip and red admiral. (Green veined white appeared at home in Brampton too.) 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

April 15th 2018

Breeding Bird Survey:

Today's Breeding Bird Survey team hadn't all reported back when I left, but the highlights we heard about included cuckoo, nightingale, Cetti's warbler, sand martin, swallow, willow warbler, black-cap, chiffchaff, treecreeper and a possible garden warbler. We also heard toads croaking in several places. A barn owl pellet retrieved on the previous count from the meadow, contained wood mice and field voles.

Thanks to all who took part this morning.

The sun almost broke through, then changed it's mind.
08:00 hrs today.