Marsh Lane News - October 09
31st October 2009 - After overnight rain, mostly sunny, light westerly wind and incredibly mild. Walking around in a T-shirt was a pleasant experience and the warm weather was also welcomed by at least 13 Common Darters (Dragonfly Pond and causeway), a Migrant Hawker and a Red Admiral.
Whether as a result of the overnight rain dropping them in or the fact that the wet ground made feeding easier, 67 Common Snipe out in the open was a record count for the Reserve. 50 were on Car Park Pool alone, together with a single Jack Snipe which showed intermittently in front of Car Park hide. The final total of Common Snipe was no doubt well above the 67 actually counted.
The Lapwing flock was also the highest of the autumn, at 660, and the variable Golden Plover flock reached 86.
Waterfowl counts included 15 Mute Swans, 314 Greylags, 146 Wigeon, 15 Gadwall, 32 each of Shoveler and Teal, 97 Mallard, 30 Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 11 Moorhen, 35 Coot and at least three Water Rails.
Finches and buntings included at least 50 Greenfinches spread between the two game covers, 40 Goldfinches, mostly along the concrete road but only 15 Reed Buntings and five Yellowhammers in the crop field.
30th October 2009 - Occasional sunny intervals, continuing mild, variable south easterly
The birds were very flighty but the cause of the disturbance was never obvious. At least 65 Golden Plover joined approx 400 Lapwing on the Pools and between the two game covers finches included 60 Greenfinches, ten Chaffinches and five Yellowhammers. A Redpoll flew over and along the Old Road, in addition to a few Song Thrushes and Redwings, there were also five Mistle Thrushes
In the early afternoon, a female Pintail was found on Car Park Pool and four Redpoll and three Siskins flew over.
29 October 2009 - Occasional sunny intervals, south easterly wind
The first decent movement of Wood Pigeons occurred this morning with approx 350 south just after dawn but not much else was on the move at the same time. A Stonechat was visible opposite Oak Hide and a Redshank was a rather out of season record.
28th October 2009 - Overcast and still start quickly clearing light westerly
No sign of the Mandarin on Railway Pool this morning but some visible migration was evident. Two flocks of Fieldfares totalling 80 birds moved through around 8.30am along with 35 Wood Pigeons and a Stock Dove, eight Siskins, ten Redwings and two Skylarks. Limited time prevented a longer sky watch but counts of Fieldfare elsewhere in the Midlands suggests that this species was migrating on a broad front.
A single Tree Sparrow visited the Car Park feeder.
27th October 2009 - Mild overcast morning with slight drizzle
Yesterday’s female Mandarin was elusive this morning but eventually gave herself up from Oak Hide, where approx 130 Golden Plovers were also visible. A Raven flew over and a Little Owl was seen in the horse paddock for the first time in many months.
80 Fieldfares and 250 Redwings flew south west at midday.
26th October 2009 - Overcast
On an otherwise quiet Monday morning, a female Mandarin on Railway Pool (visible from Railway Hide) was a surprise. The female Stonechat reappeared and a Green Sandpiper dropped in briefly.
25th October 2009 - Breezy from the west but remaining mild and mostly sunny.
What was presumably the same Stonechat as that on the 22nd, was present around the car park in the morning. Approx 77 Golden Plovers were also on the pools or flying over, at least 30 Greenfinches were in the crop field with 40+ Reed Buntings and a handful of Yellowhammers. Other birds of note included 300 Black-headed, six Herring and 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 20 Snipe and 400 Lapwings.
24th October 2009 - Drizzle in the morning, fine but increasingly windy from the west in the afternoon. Mild
Again, plenty of birds though not a great deal of difference.
150 Greenfinches were in the game crop on the Old Road with a very small number of Chaffinches. 40 Siskins fed along the top stream and waders including 32 Snipe, 100 Golden Plover and 529 Lapwing.
At least 1500 Starlings left the roost at dawn.
The water fowl count was as follows: six Dabchicks, three Herons, 19 Cormorants, seven Mute Swans, 498 Greylags, 172 Wigeon, 38 Teal, 48 Shoveler, 100 Mallard, 27 Gadwall, 12 Tufted, 18 Pochard, 37 Coot, 15 Moorhen. 16 Skylark, 20 Redwings and two Fieldfares were the only obvious visible migration.
23rd October 2009 - Cool with sunny intervals
An impressive 43 Common Snipe was the best of the Autumn so far. A Green Sandpiper joined approx 120 Golden Plover and three Water Rails included one on the Causeway and two on Railway Pool.
22nd October 2009 - Overcast and showers
No sign of yesterday’s Stonechat on a quick glance first thing, but 51 Golden Plovers were around Railway Pool, mixing with the Lapwing Flock. At least 150 unidentified Finches flew south-west from the farm and over the wood in the early morning, though it is likely these were mostly the Greenfinches from the game cover along the Old Road.
21st October 2009 - South-easterly wind, sunny intervals and showers.
A female Stonechat was new in, frequenting the Marsh and the area in front of Oak Hide for most of the day. There were also at least 100 Golden Plovers about, some roosting and washing in the pools and others flying over.
The Starling roost again was estimated at 2000 birds.
20th October 2009 - Wind veering to the south-east, cool blustery with regular rain showers.
Aside from 30 Golden Plover and two Snipe, nothing else of note in the book. However, the Starling roost seems to be increasing. Many congregated on the wires opposite Patrick Farm in the late afternoon before flying south to the Reedbed. In the meantime, at least three separate flocks of approximately 200 birds came in from the west. Final totals were difficult to estimate, but it is likely that the total this evening was nearer 2000 than 1000.
19th October 2009 - Sunny intervals, cool south-westerly wind.
31 Golden Plover was split between the pools, as were 16 Snipe. The Old Road held a scattering of Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and Redwing, together with five Bullfinches, 30 Greenfinches and ten Goldfinches. 35 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Herring Gulls and four Common Gulls roosted on Car Park Pool, together with 300 Greylags.
18th October 2009 - Mostly fine and sunny, but a cold south-westerly wind got up from mid morning.
Four Egyptian Geese from about 9.30 to 10 a.m., were a most unexpected find. They appeared to come in with an influx of Greylags but left on their own. 53 Golden Plover circled the Reserve in the late morning, and a Jack Snipe showed well on the shore line between Oak and Railway Hide, the lower water level proving a benefit.
There were plenty of other birds about, including at least 40 Redwings feeding in the Old Road hedges, along with five Song Thrush and at least a similar number of Blackbirds. At least a further 100 Redwings went south over the wood and numbers may well have exceeded this total. The Greenfinch flock appears to have increased again over the weekend, with 50 commuting between the two game covers. 25 Goldfinches and a single Siskin fed along the concrete road in the Alders, and six Redpolls went over and appeared to drop in there late morning, with another single over the farm.
36 Pochard was the highest so far of the autumn, and a late Chiffchaff lingered on the Old Road.
15 Skylarks were around the tip field, but others were going over during the morning. Later in the afternoon a second Jack Snipe was found on the Dragonfly Pond. A Tree Sparrow and two Nuthatches visted the Oak Hide feeder and three Grey Wagtails flew over. Butterflies included singles of Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Comma.
17th October 2009 - Sunny, with a light cool north-easterly.
Waterfowl and other counts over the weekend totalled as follows: four Dabchicks, 19 Cormorants, four Heron, eight Mute Swans, 500 Greylags, a Canada, 69 Mallard, ten Teal, 42 Shoveler, 126 Wigeon, 24 Gadwall, 19 Pochard, 10 Tufted, 42 Coot, 16 Moorhen, 453 Lapwing, 43 Golden Plover and 13 Snipe.
Overhead movement was mostly confined to Skylark and Redwing, with 43 of the former and over 100 of the latter. 1000 Starlings left the roost at about 7.30 a.m., and a late Swallow went through.
16th October 2009 - Sunny, with a light cool north-easterly.
The sunny weather proved good for dragonflies and butterflies, with records of Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (four) and Small Copper, all logged in the record book.
40 Redwing fed around the south-west pond and other birds of note included a Green Sandpiper, 20 Snipe, 300 Black-headed Gulls, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Common Gull and an adult Herring Gull, a Nuthatch on the feeders and over 30 Reed Buntings and seven Yellowhammers in the crop field.
15th October 2009 - Overcast, light drizzle all day.
The damp weather has brought in some good wader counts with 175 Golden Plover, 34 Snipe and nine Dunlin. The Golden Plover were all roosting on Railway Pool with two Dunlin before they were spooked by something unknown. In the meantime, seven further Dunlin had arrived on Car Park Pool. The Snipe count is the biggest of the autumn so far.
Skylarks were also on the move, with 32 over during the morning in two groups.
14th October 2009 - High cloud, clearing to warm, sunny weather.
The Old Road hedge was lively between the car park and the cottages at dawn, particularly on the crop field side with at least 20 each of Greenfinch and Reed Bunting, a dozen Goldfinches, two Redpolls and a Siskin. 18 Redwing and a similar number of Wood Pigeons went through in the early morning.
Later in the day, other records of note included 45 Golden Plover, an increase in the Wigeon count to 90 and Water Rails on the causeway and at the south end of the Railway Pool.
13th October 2009 - Sunny with a light, cool northerly wind.
Thrushes were definitely on the move today, with 480 Redwings and a single Fieldfare through between 10.30 a.m. and mid-day. Somewhat unexpectedly they were all flying north-west.
Additional highlights were in the shape of an adult Little Egret, which was present on Railway Pool all morning and, at times, showed very well in front of Oak Hide. Most birds were disturbed by a Peregrine which flew over Railway Pool mid-morning, but was not seen again. A trickle of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were also flying over, with low double figure counts of both.
A late Chiffchaff was present along the Old Road, by the car park gates.
12th October 2009 - Sunny all day, light, cool northerly.
One, possibly two male Black Darters continued to linger around the Dragonfly Pond and were apparently visible there again yesterday, along with a Small Copper Butterfly. Four late Common Blue Damselflies were also around the pond today, along with a Kingfisher.
11th November 2009 - Drizzly morning, sunny intervals in afternoon, mild but increasing light westerly wind.
10th November 2009 - Misty start. Mostly sunny, light westerly wind.
I have combined the two days as wildfowl counts over the weekend show the fluctuations on a daily basis.
Details of a colour-ringed Cormorant on Saturday are awaited, but appears to be another one ringed on Puffin Island, Anglesey (the first seen at the Reserve was on 6th September 2008).
Water Rails showed or were heard in the Marsh and opposite Oak Hide. Lapwings varied from 440 on Saturday to 340 on Sunday, when 40 Golden Plovers also flew over. Grey Wagtails were seen on both days though it is difficult to separate migrants from those that have taken up residence around the farm.
Two Tree Sparrows put in an all to infrequent visit to the Oak Hide feeders on Sunday and, on Saturday, two Siskins fed in the Alders on the concrete road, one of the male Black Darters (Dragonfly Pond) and two Painted Ladies were seen and, at dusk, 13 Redwings flew, low, south down the Old Road.
Lastly, four late Swallows lingered briefly in Sunday morning’s drizzle.
Late News: An increase in Snipe to 18, a roost of 400 Starlings in the Reedbed and eight Redwings on the railway embankment were all recorded after the completion of today's log.
9th October 2009 - High cloud, light south-easterly, slowly clearing to sunny weather mid-morning.
There was no obvious visible migration during the morning. The Pintail was again showing well from Car Park Hide with good numbers of Wigeon and Shoveler. Seven Snipe were on the far shore of Car Park Pool.
8th October 2009 - Frosty start, cold and sunny.
Three Siskins went over prior to 8 a.m., but aside from a handful of Song Thrushes along the Old Road, one of which was in song, a Bullfinch and at least 15 Long-tailed Tits along the old road and a Kingfisher on the causeway, there was little else first thing.
Later in the morning, a little visible migration got underway, with 16 Skylark, four House Martins and ten Meadow Pipits passing through. Other Skylarks were certainly moving, but were only heard and not seen. The crop field held 25 Reed Buntings and a Yellowhammer, the Pintail was re-found, Common Gull joined the Black-headed Gulls on Car Park Pool, and a Golden Plover was also heard but not seen.
7th October 2009 - Mostly overcast but dry and still.
Aside from an estimated count of 500 Greylags, nothing of note.
6th October 2009 - Sun and showers with a warm south-westerly. (Rain overnight of 6th and 7th)
23 Golden Plovers flew over to the west at 9.30 a.m., and also two Ravens. A Pintail was present but remained elusive for much of the day. 16 Swallows and a House Martin went south and 320 Black-headed Gulls were a noteworthy count.
5th October 2009 - Mostly cloudy and light rain overnight between the 5th and 6th.
A few tardy hirundines are still passing through, with three Swallows and 15 House Martins, together with three Skylarks passing over. Four Golden Plovers were also seen, together with a lingering Chiffchaff on the Old Road in a roving Tit flock.
4th October 2009 - Mostly light westerly. Sunny all day.
Yesterday’s strong wind had largely abated but the Reserve remained stubbornly uneventful. Whilst there are plenty of birds, little change is evident with the noteworthy exception of the Autumn’s first Redwing.
The drake Pintail was again visible intermittently on Car Park Pool, a Green Sandpiper put in a brief appearance, at least two Water Rails called from the Marsh and two - three Chiffchaffs sang or called along the Old Road.
The numbers of Finches in the Game covers on the side of the road have fallen to about thirty (half and half Greenfinches and Chaffinches with three Bullfinches nearby) and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were on the move.
Only five attended the work party but much useful work was accomplished - most of the alder and willow regrowth surrounding the pools was controlled, the typhus in front of the north causeway screen was thinned and the marsh was opened up. Thanks to the attendees.
3rd October 2009 - Strong westerly wind all day. Mostly cloudy.
The strong wind did not blow in anything of note and made the passerines elusive all day.
The waterfowl counts included one Dabchick, three Great Crested Grebes, 21 Cormorant, six Grey Heron, six Mute Swans only five Greylags, 61 Wigeon, 20 Gadwall, 23 Teal, 99 Mallard, a drake Pintail, 56 Shoveler, 27 Pochard, 36 Tufted, ten Moorhen, 55 Coot and 300 Lapwings.
A Jack Snipe in the margins of the Dragonfly Pond seemed to coincide with singles elsewhere in the Region.
Only a trickle of visible migration was evident - 26 Meadow Pipits, six Swallows and a Grey Wagtail were the only birds to brave the conditions.
2nd October 2009 - Cool and increasing northerly wind, occasional sunny intervals but mostly cloudy.
What was presumably yesterday's Green Sandpiper put in another appearance, along with two Golden Plovers and some visible migration during the period up until 11 a.m., included eight Swallows, a House Martin, 18 Skylarks (including 16 in one group), 30 Meadow Pipits, three Mistle Thrushes and a handful of what were assumed to be Song Thrushes. The latter were flying south over Siden Hill Wood and were out of range for a positive identification.
1st October 2009 - An overnight cold front led to a fall in temperatures this morning.
The Starling roost of about 200 birds did not depart until 07.25, despite the fact that it was light by then. There was much chattering from the birds prior to departure.
There was no overhead passage at all first thing and, on the old road, a single Song Thrush, two Chiffchaffs and a handful of Finches and Buntings were the only birds on show. 45 Shoveler were ten down on the weekend.
Later in the morning, a Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper were present together with five Siskins and after no movement first thing, some passage started from mid morning, with ten Skylarks, five House Martins and over 100 Meadow Pipits south in two hours.
A White Wagtail joined three Pied Wagtails on the pools in the afternoon, when 20 Snipe were counted and a Common Gull appeared.