28th February 2010 - Cold north-westerly wind, occasional showers and occasional sunny intervals, but mostly cloudy.
The Ringed Plover appeared for most of the day and a Curlew on both pools in the afternoon was the first of the year. Lapwings were in display flight, also for the first time this year.
There was no sighting of the Barn Owl, but the Bittern showed well to the left hand side of the causeway screen.
In the late afternoon, 80 Fieldfares perched in the top of the river side trees before flying off to roost and at least 44 Lesser Black-back Gulls drifted east to west, probably from the Packington landfill site.
A Kestrel hunted the crop field, two Oystercatchers were in display flight over the Reserve and the day’s Tree Sparrow count was 13.
27th February 2010 - Showery and reasonably mild.
At dawn, two Barn Owls were seen hunting the Reserve with the bird of the last three days remaining on site and a second bird flying off to the north. The Bittern, elusive as ever, showed to both right and left of the causeway screen. To the right it favours an area close to the causeway on an area of flattened reeds and, to the left, in reeds either side of the cut ringing channel.
The erratic female Brambling was again in the crop field with approximately 20 each of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers. The Saturday water fowl, wild fowl and wader count included three Dabchicks (one on the Reedbed and two on Car Park Pool), a Heron, 24 Cormorants, nine Mute Swans, four Greylags, one Canada Goose, four Shelduck, 300 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 29 Mallard, six Gadwall, 32 Tufted Ducks, 20 Pochard, 30 Coot, five Moorhens, three Oystercatcher, 210 Lapwing, 39 Snipe, 225 Black-headed Gulls, 15 Common Gulls and 15 Lesser Black-backs.
Two Skylarks sang on the tip field, 12 Tree Sparrows came to the Oak Hide feeder, two Redpolls were in the Alders along the Concrete Road and two Meadow Pipits flew over.
The Barn Owl appeared again in the evening.
26th February 2010 - Showery. Brisk westerly wind.
The Bittern showed on and off this morning in the flattened reeds immediately to the right of the causeway and in the stretch running parallel with the central stream. The Barn Owl showed again particularly well around the Reserve generally.
The Tree Sparrow count today was 10.
25th February 2010 - Mostly overcast, mild, occasional light showers.
Another good day started with the Bittern being quite confiding to the left of the causeway screen, in the Reedbed, at about 10 am. A Peregrine went through at 12 mid-day and on the pools a single Oystercatcher, three Shelduck and 14 Common Gulls were of note. A female Brambling showed in the crop field, also during the morning, and from 3.45 p.m. onwards, yesterday’s Barn Owl gave an excellent display, feeding principally around the margins at Railway Pool.
Finally, today’s Tree Sparrow count was ten.
24th February 2010 - An initially overcast day, with a sunny afternoon and noticeably milder conditions on a south-westerly wind, with showers in the late afternoon and evening.
After a cold and drab winter, signs of spring are welcome, and the first Ringed Plover of the year initially flew over and then landed and showed in front of Oak Hide during the middle of the morning.
Sporadic Oystercatcher visits being the norm up until now, three in display flight today was another welcome spring sign. Three Meadow Pipits also flew over and then dropped down to feed on and around the car park feeder.
A Jack Snipe showed briefly in the Marsh. At 12.25 a male Merlin flashed through over the pools going north and, needless to say, disturbed all the birds on the pools.
There were still approximately 30 buntings in the crop field, split equally between Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings whilst on the central streamline, 20 Goldfinches and three Siskins showed well. Goldfinches appear to be paired up now and there was scattered song from birds both on the central streamline and on the Old Road.
At least 12 Tree Sparrows visited the Oak Hide feeder. A Barn Owl was a welcomed site in the late afternoon. Initially perched on fence posts by the railway viaduct, it then quartered Railway Pool and the crop field. In the late afternoon, the Bittern showed well at the far end of the causeway roosting about 5ft up in the reeds.
23rd February 2010 - Overcast morning, with constant sleet from lunchtime onwards. Cold north-easterly wind.
Birds of note today included a Raven over the Old Road, an erratic female Brambling in the crop field, at least 14 Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder and 43 Snipe scattered around the premises.
22nd February 2010 - Cloudy start, sunny intervals, cold north-easterly wind.
The Bittern showed quite well in the afternoon immediately to the right of the causeway screen on the west side of the Reedbed. Meantime a Jack Snipe was readily visible in the Marsh and the infrequent visiting female Brambling again appeared with about 30 to 35 Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings in the crop field.
21st February 2010 - Mostly sunny after more overnight snow.
Initially there were only a handful of buntings in the crop field but after filling the spinner, over 20 Yellowhammers were drawn in, though Reed Buntings seemed well down and barely staggered into double figures. Only 34 Snipe were visible around Car Park Pool. 21 Cormorants that roosted mid-morning were spread between the Car Park Pool islands and the dead tree on the river, but birds were coming and going throughout the morning. No gull counts were made, but a steady turnover occurred all day.
The Bittern showed in the Reedbed in the evening on the west side. Two Oystercatchers were seen in the afternoon, and the Tree Sparrow count reached 11.
20th February 2010 - Mostly sunny and slow snow melt. Overnight frost and some light icing over.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Bittern remained in its roost until 10.30 and showed reasonably well.
In the morning, 73 Snipe was another excellent count whilst in the afternoon two Jack Snipe showed in front of Oak Hide. 30 Siskins fed in the alders by the south-west pond and seven Tree Sparrows chattered away in the bushes near Oak Hide, and fed at the adjacent feeders.
The waterfowl / wildfowl counts included six Cormorants, two Herons, seven Mutes, four Canadas, 256 Wigeon, nine Shoveler, 22 Mallard, four Teal, 10 Gadwall, 44 Pochard, 35 Tufted Ducks, 50 Coot, one Moorhen, 26 Lapwing and an Oystercatcher.
Ten Skylarks flew over (? Cold weather movement).
19th February 2010 - Milder, light westerly wind, snow melting in sunny weather. About 4" of snow was lying on the ground this morning, but most subsequently melted in milder daytime temperatures.
A good selection of birds today. In the afternoon, a Jack Snipe (only the second record of the year) showed well at the far end of the channel in front of Oak Hide. At 6 p.m., in rapidly fading light, it flew onto the island shore in front of the hide to feed out in the open. There were at least 50 Common Snipe spread across the Reserve.
The snow drove birds back into the crop field where 40 Yellowhammers was the highest count since January 13; there were also 30 Reed Buntings and 20 Linnets, the latter the first record in the log this month.
The male Mandarin was preening on the shore in front of Oak Hide in the late afternoon, when a Water Rail called from the Marsh.
In the Reedbed, the Bittern showed well again for the first time since Monday. It roosted on the east side of the pool at 5.45 p.m., where it had formed a “wigwam” of reed stems in order that it could sit well up the reed stems overnight.
Today’s Tree Sparrow count was nine.
18th February 2010 - Snowy.
I am pleased to say that the construction of the two hides opposite Car Park Hide and under Siden Hill Wood is now well under way, and the steel work is visible from the car park. Whilst inspecting the work, a Willow Tit called in the woodland and Redpolls and Siskins were audible, but not visible. I understand that the male Mandarin was again present on the Reserve. 67 Snipe continued the good counts of this species.
17th February 2010 - Misty and wintery showers, light north-easterly wind.
The male Mandarin was very accommodating this morning, sitting out and preening on the shore line just in front of Oak Hide. Goldfinches seemed more obvious than for some time, suggesting some movement is on the go. There were flocks of at least ten on the central streamline, Old Road and concrete road, with at least ten Redpolls and six Siskins in the group on the concrete road and four more Siskins in the flock on the central streamline.
At least eightTree Sparrows were at the Oak Hide feeder and in the crop field, there were ten Reed Buntings, 12 Yellowhammers and at least ten Stock Doves.
12 Snipe were feeding around the Dragonfly Pond, and a number of other birds were hiding in the vegetation on Car Park Pool.
16th February 2010 - Foggy start, slowly clearing, to sunny intervals for most of the day, with cloud building towards the end of the day. The wind had swung around to the south-west and it was noticeably milder.
The first Dabchick since the 17th January was on the Reedbed and the first Oystercatcher of the year roosted briefly on the Railway Pool islands at mid-day.
The male Mandarin appeared again, as did the Peregrine, and Common Gulls reached a new high for the year - 27 birds.
Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder rose to no more than eight, where a Nuthatch also fed. In the crop field, there were 25 Reed Buntings, ten Yellowhammers and nine Stock Doves. There was no sign of the Bittern during the day, but nothing new there. A count of 50 Snipe was noteworthy, whilst six Shelduck on Car Park Pool was the highest of the year so far.
15th February 2010 - Mostly overcast, cool northerly wind.
The Bittern flew across the Reedbed at 5.45 pm., but was otherwise elusive all day. A Water Rail called from there as well, but that was the only news.
14th February 2010 - Sunny, cool north-easterly wind.
A drake Goldeneye was a new arrival and Gulls continued a build up / movement with 550 Black-headed Gulls, 13 Common Gulls and 12 Lesser Black-backs in the morning. A Little Egret spent most of the morning commuting between the pools and, in the afternoon, the female Brambling reappeared in the crop field with about 20 Reed Buntings and 20 Yellowhammers. The Tree Sparrow total today reached 11. The Bittern did not reappear until 5.45 when it flew across the Reedbed from west to east and disappeared into the reedmace on the east shore.
13th February 2010 - Sunny start, clouding over progressively and drizzly evening, light but fresh north-easterly wind.
Undoubtedly the bird of the day was a Bittern discovered by Graham Rowling at mid-day. Seen as a flash of movement in the thick reeds on the east side of the Reedbed, the bird showed again briefly before vanishing for most of the afternoon. It was not until 5 p.m. that it re-appeared, roosting half way up the reeds and showing well from the causeway. They are known to create a “platform” of bent over reed stems on which to roost, and judging by the number of these on the east shore, it appears as if the bird may have defied observation for some days - perhaps the bird from January? Please do not walk down either side of the Reedbed to avoid disturbance.
Whilst waiting for the reappearance of the Bittern, a few observers were entertained by a displaying pair of Ravens and an adult Peregrine. The elusive drake Mandarin reappeared briefly on the Reedbed in the evening, and three different Water Rails showed from the Reedbed screen.
The waterfowl / wader count included 16 Cormorant, two Herons, seven Mute Swans, five Shelduck, 15 Gadwall, nine Shoveler, 290 Wigeon, 97 Mallard, 10 Teal, 43 Pochard, 25 Tufted Ducks, 59 Coot, six Moorhen, only eight Lapwing and 11 Snipe. Some gull movement has been evident over the last few days and a count of 340 Black-headed Gulls was evidence of this today.
12th February 2010 - Ssunny intervals with showers on a cold northerly wind.
The only news 'phoned in to me today was of the male Mandarin again on the Reedbed, 15 Common Gulls on Car Park Pool, and nine Tree Sparrows.
11th February 2010 - Sunny all day, cold northerly winds.
The male Mandarin showed this afternoon on Reedbed Pool. One was seen earlier today at Brandon but, having thought it might have been “our” bird from yesterday, it looks more likely that there has been two about.
In the crop field this afternoon, a female Brambling joined at least 30 Reed Buntings, 20 Yellowhammers and a handful of Chaffinches. A Buzzard was using the Old Road hedge to drop down into the field on a regular basis for prey but the prey items could not be seen with clarity.
10th February 2010 - Cold northerly wind, occasional wintery showers but otherwise sunny.
A male Mandarin was somewhat of a surprise today. Found by John Oates on Car Park Pool in the middle of the morning, it was still present at 4 p.m. this afternoon. Aside from plenty of duck, there appeared to be nothing else out of the ordinary.
9th February 2010 - Winter showers interspersed with sunny intervals, cold north-easterly wind.
The Peregrine showed again hunting the Reserve and the flood meadows, and occasionally perching in Siden Hill Wood. Approximately 20 Redpolls fed in the alders behind Oak Hide, and five Tree Sparrows were at the feeder. In the crop field there were ten each of Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer, anda pair of Stock Doves were on the pole box and at least 225 Black-headed Gulls were on Car Park Pool alone.
Tree Sparrows again reached 12 during the day.
8th February 2010 - Cold north-easterly wind, and overcast all day.
A Peregrine put in an appearance during the morning, as did a pair of Shelduck. Nine Tree Sparrows frequented the Oak Hide feeder and there were at least 250 Wigeon spread between the Reserve and the flood meadows.
7th February 2010 - Grey start, wintery sun by mid afternoon. Still.
Little change from yesterday with Tree Sparrows at no more than five and Snipe 25. One Shelduck pair fed on Railway Pool.
Seven attended the work party and put in a good stint from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 150 Hollies were planted in some of the gaps in the eastern hedge on the Old Road and also in the gaps between the previously planted hedging plants either side of the back gate.
Thanks to all those who attended.
6th February 2010 - Cold and misty all day. Light cold northerly wind.
Graham Rowling’s Saturday waterfowl / wader count totalled as follows: Three Shelduck, 20 Cormorant, eight Mute Swans, two Greylags, 331 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 70 Mallard, nine Gadwall, nine Shoveler, 43 Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 21 Coot, seven Moorhen, 97 Lapwing, 35 Snipe, 140 Black-headed Gulls, two Herring and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
14 Tree Sparrows was the equalling best count at the Oak Hide feeder, where Coal Tit and Nuthatch were also visitors. Six each of Siskins and Redpoll fed in the alders along the concrete road.
5th February 2010 - Slowly clearing after overnight rain, light south-westerly wind.
This morning a mobile flock of at least 40 Siskins and ten Goldfinches were seen both around the Oak Hide and, subsequently, flying over the car park. Ten of the Siskins peeled off and thebirds flew towards the concrete road and landed in the oaks by the car park, where they preened and were in sub-song.
At least eight Tree Sparrows were at the Oak Hide feeder. 30 Fieldfares were on the Old Road, 44 Snipe were on Car Park Pool and a Skylark sang on the tip.
In the afternoon, Tree Sparrows totalled 12.
4th February 2010 - Relatively mild, grey and overcast morning. Periodic rain.
56 Snipe were hiding in the longer vegetation deliberately left on the Car Park pool islands. A minimum of 26 Reed Buntings and 10 Yellowhammers were in the crop field with 16 Pheasants and 11Tree Sparrows, at least, were at the Oak Hide feeder. The Wigeon count again reached at least 350.
3rd February 2010 - Sharp overnight frost, watery sun and still.
Despite yesterday’s heavy rain, parts of the pools were iced over this morning and the Reedbed was completely frozen.
At first light, there were only 17 Reed Buntings and a single Yellowhammer in the crop field but, by 9 a.m., Reed Buntings had increased to 46, Yellowhammers to at least 20 and, in addition, there were 12 Pheasants and 10 Stock Doves there. At least another six Reed Buntings were at the Oak Hide feeder.
On the central streamline there was a very mobile flock of at least 50 Siskins and a separate flock of at least 10 Goldfinches. A Nuthatch was calling by the lorry park, and seven Snipe were on Car Park Pool, of three Herring Gulls one was roosting on Car Park Pool and two flew over and in a post roost dispersal of Corvids that flew east over the Reserve, at least 15 Rooks were amongst them.
2nd February 2010 - Periodic rain most of the day, cold northerly wind.
Other than six Snipe on Car Park Pool, and a good selection of common birds, there was nothing of note.
1st February 2010 - Sharp overnight frost, partly iced over, but sunny and cold throughout the day.
Yesterday’s Redpoll flock again showed well. There was just a single Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and two Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on Car Park Pool.