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.

Friday, 13 April 2018

April 10th to 12th

April 10th  Heronry Lakes: Kingfisher, 2 swallows, common tern, blackcap,
                   chiffchaff, 2 Otters (David Wilson)

                   VC: Coal tit, blue tit, magpie, great tit, blackbird, lt tit, brambling (!!)
                    (Chloe, Jake and James)

April 11th   c 60 sand martins on sailing lake plus c 12 swallows. 2 common terns
                   on Heronry lakes plyus sandwich tern briefly. More blackcaps than
                   last week.

April 12th  Many swallows and sand martins on Heronry South, four common terns and
                   many bh gulls, plus imm Mediterranean gull (JAS)


Sunday, 8 April 2018

April 8th Migration Watch

After a couple of warm and sunny days, we expected a few more migrants to have arrived; and so it turned out. The number of chiffchaffs and blackcaps singing had doubled since Friday and they were joined by singing willow warblers. Three swallows flew over the Hayden Hide and settled on one of our skeleton trees. then a pair of common terns patrolled the Heronry Lakes. The grey, damp overcast and the lack of a breeze left us with no raptors to view at all, and we missed out on a few common birds like starlings and sparrows, but it was pleasing to see marsh tit, goldcrest and treecreeper as they can be quite elusive.
Great crested grebe.

The "Tick and Twitch" walk produced 44 species in total but I reckon our target of fifty would have been reached by tea-time. Here is the list as it stood at 12:30 today.

8th:  Great crested grebe, cormorant, grey heron, Canada goose, greylag goose,
        mute swan, mallard, teal, wigeon, gadwall, tufted duck, coot, moorhen,
        wood pigeon, stock dove, feral pigeon, collared dove, common tern,
        black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, kingfisher, green woodpecker,
        great spotted woodpecker, wren, dunnock, robin, willow warbler, chiffchaff,
        blackcap, goldcrest, tree-creeper, great tit, blue tit, marsh tit, long-tailed tit,
        blackbird, song thrush, reed bunting, greenfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, jay,
        magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, swallow. (47 by lunchtime)

        P.M from window: Magpie, great tit, blue tit, marsh tit, dunnock, robin, chaffinch,
        collared dove, GS Woodpecker, squirrel, wood pigeon, Canada goose,
        mallard, blackbird. (David Bale)

Friday, 6 April 2018

April 5th to 7th

Great crested grebe.
April 5th  Butterflies: peacock x 2, small tortoiseshell, comma x 2, brimstone (7 m and 2 fm)

April 6th. It warmed up considerably this afternoon and started to feel quite springlike. Chiffchaffs and black-caps were singing and a common tern showed up at lunchtime and stayed all afternoon. Bee-flies hovered over the violet flowers, brimstones butterflies explored the ivy leaves and tortoiseshells were mating.

The most exciting observations were the arrival of the first confirmed (by me) nightingale at Ray House, and two swallows flying over the Kingfisher Hide.
Bee fly.

Meanwhile, there was a marsh tit on the feeders at the Visitor Centre and a coal tit at the Hayden Hide.

April 6th:  Mining bees and digger wasps at the Heronry overview, bee flies on the Haul Road,
                  Nightingale singing sporadically at Ray House where there were also
                  two black-caps, chiffchaff, chaffinch, blackbird, blue tit, great tit, wren,
                  dunnock, robin and song thrush in song. Two swallows flew overhead.
                  Common tern hawking for insects over Heronry South.  Toads and frogs
                  (frogspawn) at the Cobham Hide. Violets (white and purple), coltsfoot, primrose,
                  ash and blackthorn in flower. (JAS)
Frogspawn at the Cobham Hide.
April 7th: 14 chiffchaff, 8 blackcap, 2 willow warbler, 1 sand martin, 2 kingfisher,
                 water rail, Cetti's warbler, goldcrest, redwing, jay, 3 goldeneye, 8 wigeon, 
                 75 tufted duck, 2 gadwall, yellowhammer, 4 green woodpecker, 6 song thrush.
                 (Terry Brown)
                 Lots of blue tits, squirrels, 2 goldfinches, 1 robin, sparrows, 3 blackbirds,
                 great tit, 3 pigeons, 1 song thrush, (EH). Robin, coal tit (BC)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

April 1st to 4th

April 1st: Marsh tit on peanuts at the Visitor Centre. Blackcap at Ray House Garden.
                (GT and AT) Brimstone Butterflies x 2

Reed bunting male.

April 4th: Nuthatch at Ray House Garden, marsh tit and coal tits on feeders at VC,
                 buzzard over meadow, red kite, greenfinch. Probable common tern at
                 Kingfisher Hide, kestrel at the VC, heron, reed bunting in meadow.
                 Muntjac. (JAS)
Kestrel male.

March 22nd to 31st

Spring got off to a start and then stopped. Easter weekend was cold and wet and the river came out in flood. Migrants were held back with just a handful of singing chiffchaffs by the end of the month and sandmartin (not recorded in the book). Although a cuckoo and a nightingale were reported, the dates are too early and neither bird was picked up again. On the plus side, the report of a nuthatch has been verified by further sightings and marsh tit(s) have reappeared at the visitor centre daily. The fallow deer was also an exciting find.

Scarlet elf cup. 

23rd  Fallow deer, seen by several people on the Ouse Valley Way.
         Bank vole in village at St James Road. (VG)
         Scarlet elf cup fungus in Dodder Fen, kingfisher ar river view,
         mating g-s woodpeckers, redwings x 2, siskins x 2, goldeneye drakes x 2
         singing chiff-chaffs x 4 (Mark Ward)

24th  Blue tit x 2 on feeders. (Lesley Bradbury)

25th  Egyptian geese from the Kingfisher Hide. (RC)
         Yellowhammer (Haul Road), kingfisher (river view), red kite (Diddington),
          goldfinches, g-s woodpecker, greenfinches + siskin (OVW) BRD.
          Little gull at Diddington. (APW)
          Goldcrest and nuthatch on river walk.

Goldcrest at Ray House Garden.
26th  G-s woodpecker and reed bunting at the Hayden Hide. (NW)

27th  Red-crested pochard, red-legged partridge, redwing, song thrush at Diddington.

28th  Nightingale?? Heard by Jacqueline Hill at Post 8. This is a week earlier than our
         earliest record and was not heard again so I'm afraid we have to discount it.
         So what could it have been?

30th  Cuckoo?? Seen flying across Heronry South. Black-cap male at
         Kingfisher Hide. (J Underwood)
         Chiff chaff x 3, g-s woodpecker, cormorant, l-t tit, bumble bee, greenfinch,
         song thrush. (Annette?). Blackcap, cormorant, blackbird. Marsh tit and coal tit
         in wildlife garden. (HGJ, OMG, BCS).

31st  Pumphouse Pit in the quarry. (No Public Access) 
         Rock pipit, jack snipe, common snipe x 12, oystercatcher x 4, redshank x 3,
         green sandpiper, dunlin x 2, lapwing x 3, little egret x 4, little gull x 2
         (adult winter plumage), red crested pochard x 7, chiff-chaff x 4,
         goosander, red kite x 2, woodcock, treecreeper, reed bunting, kingfisher. (MD)
Red crested pochard fm.