30th April 2013 - Cool, north-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
Warblers were in good song this morning along the Old Road and a further arrival of Whitethroats means that there are at least six between the car park gates and the horse paddock and including along the top stream.
The Bardsey Bird Observatory website indicates that Whitethroats have so far arrived in small numbers, but my impression is that there are actually the opposite of this and maybe they have arrived direct rather than stopping off.
The singing Lesser Whitethroat was also in good voice on the top hedge to Car Park Pool and there were two Sedge singing against each other in the Blackthorn clump near the top gate.
In the afternoon and evening Two Yellow Wagtails and a male Wheatear arrived and were feeding on the river side bank opposite Car Park Hide. Two Common Sandpipers appeared (but they do come and go between the River), up to three Little Ringed Plovers were present, a Garden Warbler sang briefly on the railway embankment (the first of the year), a Peregrine put in a brief appearance and the three Wigeon are also still lingering.
29th April 2013 - Cool, north-westerly wind, sunny intervals and occasional showers.
28th April 2013 - Cool, overcast start, slowly clearing, sunny intervals until late afternoon, when more cloud and then drizzle. South-westerly wind.
A Raven put in an appearance over Siden Hill Wood at 11.45 and the drake Mandarin again frequented the path between Oak Hide and the south-west pond. It is attempting to adopt a female Mallard and ducklings. A pair of Shelduck were a relatively unusual sighting, having been generally absent during the month. Three Wigeon were again present, as was the Lesser Whitethroat briefly along the Old Road by the entrance gate cottages.
In the evening, a congregation of hirundines included 47 Sand Martins, 30 Swallows and two House Martins.
27th April 2013 - Cold, north-easterly wind. Sunny start. Periods of cloud and heavy showers with sunny intervals thereafter.
A female Wheatear in the fields east of the A452 drew a few birders over to look at it during the morning and although it quickly disappeared it led to the finding of three superb male Whinchats. They kept low in the cold wind as they fed on the ground. With patience, they provided fantastic views.
On the main part of the Reserve a Yellow Wagtail went over, a Peregrine initially cleared out the pools although birds subsequently returned and these included three Common Sandpipers and the summer plumaged Dunlin. A pair of Tree Sparrows were surprise visitors by the entrance gate, but they also moved on quickly.
Warblers continued to arrive and at least 12 singing Whitethroats were counted this morning (with three Reed Warblers two singing in the Reedbed and one in the Car Park Pool) and five Sedge Warblers. The Lesser Whitethroat again sang along the Old Road near the cottages.
Three Bank Voles were found under the mats along the concrete road and bird counts today, courtesy of Graham Rowling, were nine Cormorants, four Herons, six Great Crested Grebes, nine Little Grebes, six Mute Swans, the Black Swan, eight Greylags, seven Canadas, a drake Mandarin, one male and two female Wigeon, nine Mallard, 14 Gadwall, 33 Tufted, 25 Coot, five Moorhen, 365 Black-headed Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 20 Lapwing, seven Oystercatchers, one Ringed Plover, three Common Sandpipers, six Redshank and at least six Common Terns.
26th April 2013 - Cool northerly wind, mostly sunny.
Today’s “star turn” was a flock of 31 Black-tailed Godwits which were found at 8.30 and was still present by 6 p.m. At least five of the birds were colour ringed and are presumably part of the ongoing Icelandic colour ringing scheme. Initially the birds were roosting on the spit opposite Oak Hide but as the morning wore on the birds spread out to feed. There was also a summer plumage Dunlin, five Common Sandpipers and singing warblers included Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler behind Oak Hide.
The drake Mandarin was also present this morning and, at lunchtime, was walking along the track near Oak Hide before moving on to Railway Pool to roost.
The year’s first Swift moved north at 11.45, a pair of Teal and three Wigeon remain and a flock of ten House Martins also moved through.
Despite the cool wind, a single Green-veined White and Peacock were also seen.
25th April 2013 - Warm, sunny, light south-westerly wind.
One of five Common Sandpipers today was colour ringed, with details to be sought. A Whimbrel lingered briefly on Railway Pool in the morning before flying off north at 12.30 but there were two Yellow Wagtails, four Little Ringed Plovers and a single Dunlin. There were also five Wigeon today. The drake Mandarin again appeared.
24th April 2013 - Sunny, south-westerly wind.
A reasonable selection of birds today included two Arctic Terns on Railway Pool for most of the morning, together with a drake Mandarin and a Grasshopper Warbler reeled from the brambles to the left of Railway Hide. There were at least two Common Sandpipers during the day and three Water Rails were seen or heard, two along the footpath between Oak and Railway Hide, with another calling from the Reedbed.
In the evening, 35 Lesser Black-backed Gulls went over between 19.40 and 20.30 and two large bat species were seen hunting over the Reedbed and car park.
23rd April 2013 - Sunny, light south-westerly wind.
A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling along the causeway early this morning and the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year sang on the Old Road.
Other birds of note today included at least three Yellow Wagtail, three lingering Wigeon, the first Brimstone Butterfly of the year, six Little Ringed Plovers, 12 Common Terns, Green Sandpiper, a second year Yellow-legged Gull and three Water Rail in the Reedbed.
22nd April 2013 - Sunny intervals, cool westerly wind.
Max Silverman found today’s star bird, a Grey Plover beginning to moult from winter into summer plumage. It was actually rather a drab, grey/brown individual and was regularly harassed by both Lapwings and Gulls, but was still present into the early afternoon before it departed and was later found at Ladywalk. A Reed Warbler sang from the causeway, there were at least ten Common Terns together with 30 Linnets in the crop field.
An unsinging Grasshopper Warbler was seen and photographed at the south-west pond in the morning, also by Max Silverman.
Groups of four and two Arctic Terns flew through in the afternoon and there was a Lesser Whitethroat singing from the Old Road by the car park gate.
21st April 2013 - Mostly sunny, light south-westerly wind.
Common Tern numbers had increased to 15 today, with the female Wigeon continuing to linger. A pair of Little Ringed Plovers again appeared briefly on Car Park Pool, Oystercatchers were up to six and there were three Lesser Redpolls feeding at the top end of the Old Road.
Between 3.10 p.m. and 5.10 p.m. at least, the first-winter Mediterranean Gull showed well on Railway Pool, along with a first-summer Common Gull and as the weather became more overcast, with a little rain in the air, some hirundines were brought down and numbers were in the region of 100 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows and a House Martin.
20th April 2013 - Sunny, warm, light south-westerly wind.
At last a really spring-like day with warm, sunshine and a light south-westerly wind but the downside of this was that the good conditions meant visible migration was limited. Two Yellow Wagtails went over, calling, during the morning and a third, a male, lingered briefly in the muddy ground just north of Car Park Pool on the flood plain. A Barnacle Goose of unknown origin was feeding on the far bank of Railway Pool or in Lower Siden during the morning with a couple of Canadas and a few Greylags.
Up to three Common Sandpipers were on the pools, first thing, with either one of these or a fourth bird around Packhorse Bridge, together with a Kingfisher.
Somewhat unexpected, two Cockatiels flew over Car Park Pool first thing.
Warblers are beginning to come in, in decent numbers, with six Sedge Warblers, mostly around the Reedbed, at least six different Whitethroats and plenty of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs now in.
At least five Peacock Butterflies were seen in different places around the Reserve and, in the afternoon, a second calender year Greater Black-backed Gull lingered briefly on Railway Pool.
A single female Wigeon was lingering and a few Teal were also still present. In the sunny conditions hirundines were almost completely absent and aside from a single Swallow by the farm, and briefly eight House Martins there, there were no others recorded.
Full counts today were as follows, six Great Crested Grebes, eight Little Grebes, three Herons, 11 Cormorants, three Mute Swans, seven Greylags, six Canadas, one female Wigeon, four Teal, 19 Gadwall, 10 Mallard, 49 Tufteds, 24 Coots, three Moorhens, four Lesser Black-backs, 285 Black-headed Gulls, nine Common Terns, eight Redshanks, 26 Lapwing, seven Snipe, two Ringed Plover, three Common Sandpipers, three Oystercatchers, one Meadow Pipit, 12 Chiffchaffs, nine Willow Warblers, seven Blackcaps, six Whitethroats, three Sedge Warbler, 11 House Martins, two Swallows, three Sand Martins and a Kestrel.
In the afternoon and evening, in addition to the Greater Black-backed Gull, the first Reed Warbler of the year sang from the Reedbed, there were three Little Ringed Plovers and a good connection of Bumblebees were noted throughout the day (all Queens), including Buff, Red-tailed, Tree and Common Carder.
19th April 2013 - Cool, northerly wind, sunny intervals.
Today’s star bird was a male Common Redstart, which was found by John Oates as he left the Reserve at 9.30 a.m., feeding on the Old Road near the cottages. It lingered, briefly, and was seen by at least one observer but then vanished and was not definitely seen thereafter.
Sedge Warbler again showed well on the causeway, with Blackcaps along the Old Road and the back gate copse, a singing Whitethroat just north of the car park gate along with a pair of Willow Warblers and at least two Chiffchaffs.
Six Common Terns were flying over the pools, seven Common Sandpipers were on the margins and Lesser Black-back numbers reached 63. There were also at least three Herring Gulls. 25 Linnets were feeding in the crop field and, at lunchtime, a significant number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls dropped into Railway Pool with the total eventually reaching 61 as the roosting flock grew. There was also at least one Herring Gull.
Three male Yellow Wagtails were also feeding around the margins of Railway Pool during the morning and, in the late afternoon, a male Wheatear was in the field by the Dragonfly Pond.
18th April 2013 - Showery with occasional sunny intervals, still, brisk south-westerly wind.
200 Wood Pigeons moved north at 8 a.m. this morning and a flock of 12 Yellow Wagtails dropped in briefly in one of the showers. Also in the showery conditions at least 50 Swallows, 40 Sand Martins and ten House Martins were feeding over the pools. The Dunlin and Common Sandpiper remained from yesterday and there were at least 15 Snipe.
Two Sedge Warblers along the causeway were new in and by the late afternoon a White Wagtail had appeared, Common Sandpiper numbers were up to six, Yellow Wagtails up to six and a Little Egret put in a brief appearance.
Other counts included five Teal, 28 Gadwall, at least four Wigeon, 40 Tufted, a minimum of 32 Lapwing, 205 Black-headed Gulls, ten Swallows, five House Martins and 120 plus Sand Martins.
17th April 2013 - Overcast start, sunny intervals, south-westerly wind, becoming particularly windy in the evening.
Two Common Sandpipers were present early on, along with a summer plumaged Dunlin, two Common Terns, a Yellow Wagtail and a pair of Bullfinches on the causeway. By mid-morning there were two Little Ringed Plovers and Common Tern numbers had increased to three.
There were still two pairs of Wigeon on site and at least two Blackcaps singing in the back gate copse. 30 Linnets dropped in to feed on the crop field and at least eight Redshanks were counted on site.
16th April 2013 - Mostly sunny, strong west south-westerly wind.
A Yellow Wagtail early on was followed by two Curlew and, mid-morning, an Arctic Tern arrived and spent most of the day on Car Park Pool. By the late afternoon 11 Terns were feeding over the pool and opinion varied as to the relative numbers of Common and Arctic although the composition may have changed as the day progressed. All departed at dusk.
The nine who attended the work party were rewarded with two Jack Snipes by the Marsh, a Common Sandpiper and the first Whitethroat of the year, singing by the car park.
The work party ferried gravel out to the three islands on Railway Pool to provide more scrapes now that the Terns are beginning to return.
15th April 2013 - Sunny and mild.
A Peregrine took a Black-headed Gull off Car Park Pool at 8 a.m. this morning and other birds of note, during the day, included Dunlin, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers briefly, five lingering Wigeon, ten Snipe in the Marsh and a Peacock Butterfly.
Around lunchtime, two male Wheatears appeared on the bare ground where the cattle feeders used to be opposite the horse paddock and just north of Car Park Pool. These boldly marked birds looked more like the Greenland rather than the Icelandic race.
There was also a Common Sandpiper and a Common Tern in the evening.
14th April 2013 - Sunny a.m., showery p.m., blustery south-westerly winds.
Hirundines were coming and going and all day with three species moving through in ones and twos. Some showers around mid-day brought down about 40 mixed hirundines, including at least four House Martins.
Three Common Sandpipers were feeding on Car Park Pool in the morning, though only two could be found later. A superb male Yellow Wagtail showed very well outside Oak Hide at about 10.30 and it or another joined a second male on the car park islands at mid-day. A single Common Tern was present, this bird still having a totally black bill.
Joining a Dunlin on Railway Pool were two Ringed Plovers today which mated: it is to be hoped that they proceed to lay.
Ten Redwings were feeding in the north hedge to the horse paddock and pairs of Linnets were by the back gate and in the crop field, with at least five other birds. At least four Meadow Pipits went over during the morning but numbers were almost certainly higher than this as birds went over high, unseen.
As the weather deteriorated in the afternoon, the concentration of hirundines with at least 40 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows and three House Martins. There was also a Jack Snipe visible in the Marsh.
13th April 2013 - Sunny in the morning with cloud and rain in the afternoon, westerly wind.
Singing Blackcaps were new in this morning with one by the south-west pond and one on the causeway and, early on, there were ten Sand Martins, two Swallows, nine Redshanks, a Dunlin, five Meadow Pipits and seven Skylarks east of the A452. A Willow Warbler was new in on the south-west copse and a Water Rail showed well in the ditch between Oak Hide and the pond.
Other birds of note during the day included seven House Martins, 20 Redwings along the central stream, a Fieldfare east of the A452, a Jack Snipe on the Dragonfly Pond, at least 15 Swallows, 25 Sand Martins and six House Martins in the afternoon and 15 Common Gulls were the best count of the month so far.
12th April 2013 - Sunshine and showers, south-westerly wind.
The milder conditions with periodic rain proved ideal today for passage now that “the dam has burst”. Early on there were two Common Sandpipers and two House Martins and a stead procession of Sand Martins went through all day. In rain showers during the early afternoon, 20 Swallows dropped in but soon moved on and three White Wagtails and two Pied Wagtails were feeding on the islands on Car Park Pool.
A male Wheatear appeared in the middle of the day on the tip field, a Greenshank put in a brief appearance along with a Common Tern, both in the early afternoon and at 4.10 pm a Red Kite went over.
Over wintering birds are still lingering, with two Jack Snipe in the Marsh, 75 to 80 Wigeon spread across the pools and six Redwings in the back gate copse.
In the evening, 12 Sand Martins dropped in and quickly moved off north, with 16 slightly later flying around the Reedbed at 8.15 with a view to roosting. Also four Swallows went through and a Willow Warbler was singing along the causeway, the first of the year.
11th April 2013 - Light overnight rain, overcast.
Between 9 and 10.30 a.m., three Swallows and 14 Sand Martins went through and between 11.45 and 12 noon, a Common Tern put in a brief appearance. As the day wore on there was a steady turnover in hirundines, and Sand Martin numbers increased to at least 30. The Tree Sparrow was back at the Oak Hide feeder, a Little Ringed Plover put in a brief appearance on Railway Pool, there were two Jack Snipe and 15 Common Snipe in the Marsh.
10th April 2013 - Hazy sunshine, light south-easterly wind.
Two Dunlin were feeding on the spit in front of Oak Hide this morning, where there was also a Ringed Plover. At least three Chiffchaffs were in song and a Green Woodpecker was calling repeatedly by the south-west pond.
A Jack Snipe showed in the Marsh in the early afternoon. The Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and various useful counts included 39 Lapwing, 109 Wigeon, 20 Teal and 16 Gadwall. Five Meadow Pipits went over. 35 Linnets and six Stock Doves fed in the crop field and there were a pair of Little Ringed Plovers on Car Park Pool.
In the evening, two Sand Martins put in a brief appearance and fed on a recent insect hatch along the embankment by Oak Hide before disappearing. The two Dunlin were still present.
9th April 2013 - Overcast, north-easterly.
The wind eased slightly and the first Common Sandpiper of the year showed in front of Oak Hide in the morning. There was a Jack Snipe in the Marsh and eight Redshank were counted along with four Oystercatchers. Seven Redpolls were in the Alders along the concrete road and, in the afternoon and the evening, the Dunlin from the weekend was rediscovered, a Tree Sparrow fed at the Oak Hide feeder and there were a pair of Little Ringed Plovers in the crop field. In the late evening, seven Sandmartins appeared over the pools and may well have gone to roost in the Reedbed. A Water Rail showed in the Marsh.
8th April 2013 - Cloudy, brisk north-easterly wind.
Back to the cold easterlies today. Despite that, a Sand Martin showed briefly from Oak Hide at mid-day and there was singles each of Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and Jack Snipe. A Kingfisher flew down river, three Herring Gulls also roosted and there were two Goldcrests along the Old Road. A Weasel was seen briefly along the causeway.
7th April 2013 - South south westerly, relatively mild, hazy sunshine
Much more movement and interest today. A Curlew was present at first light until about 7.30am when it flew off and a Dunlin was present for most of the day. An early Greenshank was heard but not seen and the first Sand Martins of the year occurred in the late morning with three first of all and then a single bird, though none lingered.
A distant male Wheatear was on the crop east of the A452 for most of the morning but could not be found later.
Oystercatchers and Redshank were up to seven and six respectively and the single Ringed Plover was also present. Three Kingfishers chased each other across Railway Pool in the early morning. 25 Snipe were counted coming off the bank behind the Dragonfly Pond in the morning and they were seen flighting back again during the day.
At least 400 Black-headed Gulls were counted on Railway Pool and a further 100 on Car Park Pool. A Peregrine was present in the morning.
In the late afternoon, two Jack Snipes and a Water Rail showed in the Marsh, a Little Ringed Plover on Railway Pool, two Herring Gulls and a Common Gull put in an appearance and last, but not least, the Barn Owl showed well around Railway Pool at 7.40.
6th April 2013 - Sunny and still
An altogether better day but perhaps slightly less about than might have been hoped for. Nevertheless, four Chiffchaffs were in song with birds by the back gate, south-west pond, central streamline and the Old Road. A probable Goshawk was seen briefly as it flew east over the central streamline which would be a new bird for the Reserve. Other possible ones have been seen but never clinched.
Four Jack Snipe were seen in the Marsh and the weather was good enough for a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly to be on the wing in the Orchid field.
A Little Ringed Plover flew through and there were still 220 Wigeon today, an amazingly high count for early April. Eight Meadow Pipits were on the Tip field and a handful of Redwings and Fieldfares were scattered around the Reserve though mostly on the Old Road. There were ten Linnets in the crop field and other counts today included; five Great Crested Grebes, one Little Grebe, 26 Cormorant, three Heron, eight Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 19 Greylags, four Canadas, a Shelduck, 41 Teal, 14 Gadwall, 12 Mallard, five Shoveler, six Pochard, 33 Tufted, 47 Coot, five Moorhen, 14 Lapwing, seven Redshank, 16 Snipe, a Ringed Plover, four Oystercatchers, two Redwings, five Fieldfares, two Herring Gulls, two Common Gulls and a Sparrowhawk.
The two Muntjac deer were again seen this evening, this time on the Railway Embankment and a Fox was also present.
5th April 2013 - Cold, north-easterly wind, sunny intervals.
A Jack Snipe was again in front of Oak Hide in the morning (with two in the afternoon) and a Kestrel was a relatively rare visitor with a male hovering over the causeway. In the newly cultivated field, there were at least 13 Stock Doves.
4th April 2013 - Cold, north-easterly wind, sunny intervals.
Very little change; a pair of Goosander, a Jack Snipe, a Ringed Plover, five Oystercatchers and a Herring Gull were the main birds of note.
3rd April 2013 - Mostly sunny, strong cold north easterly
Sadly no sign of the Ruff this morning but there were at least eight Yellowhammers, five Reed Buntings and a Linnet in the crop field. At least five Meadow Pipits went over and the Chiffchaff was again singing in the back gate copse.
Later in the day the Little Egret was again present as was at least one Jack Snipe in front of Oak Hide and the pair of Goosander again. A Kingfisher was noted and Wigeon are still at a very impressive 197 in total.
2nd April 2013 - Sunny intervals, cold easterly
Two Ruff appeared this evening and showed well on the gravel bar from about 7.30 pm and provided something slightly different, with other migrants clearly being held up by the persistent easterly winds. The pair of Goosander, the Little Egret (Oak Hide), two Jack Snipe (in the Marsh) were the other more notable birds and in the evening the Barn Owl again appeared and two Little Ringed Plovers showed well on Railway Pool.
1st April 2013 - Sunny start, soon clouding over, cold easterly.
Today’s counts, helpfully provided by Graham Rowling, were as follows: four Herons, one Little Egret, two Great Crested Grebes, five Little Grebes, 15 Cormorants, 26 Canadas, 15 Greylags, two male and a female Shoveler, a pair of Goosanders, one Ringed Plover, five Oystercatchers, three Redshanks, a Shelduck, six Buzzards, a female Sparrowhawk, one Redwing over, two Yellowhammers in the crop field, a Chiffchaff along the causeway and then by the car park, 19 Snipe (ten in the Marsh and nine around the Dragonfly Pond) and a Jack Snipe also around the Dragonfly Pond.
As the day progressed, two Little Ringed Plovers put in a brief appearance but again did not linger.