31st May 2012 - Mostly overcast.
The only record today was an unseasonal male Pochard on Car Park Pool.
30th May 2012 - Hot and humid until rain late afternoon and overnight.
Records today were limited to dragonflies and butterflies with a single Four-spotted Chaser, several Blue-tailed and many Common Blue damselflies and a note to the effect that an inspection of Alder Buckthorn bushes revealed virtually no Brimstone eggs, thereby confirming the evidence of a poor spring for this species.
29th May 2012 - Overcast with sunny spells, light south-westerly wind.
A Cuckoo called in the crop field oaks and was heard later, distantly, to the south. It was heard briefly on Sunday as well and was good to hear.
The seeding of the other half of the crop field was completed on Sunday and the Lapwings there appeared to have suffered no ill effect with at least 11 present this evening and the older ones must be close to fledging. There were also two young Lapwings on the islands in front of Car Park Hide and at least two young, together with two Redshank young, in the vegetation in front of Railway Hide.
A Muntjac showed in the south-west copse before rushing away.
Other records of note were two Shelduck, a flock of 75 Starlings in the crop field and, by the back gate, a pair of Beautiful Demoiselles, a male Broad-bodied Chaser and a Comma butterfly.
28th May 2012 - Hot and sunny, light easterly wind.
No birds of note, but please do not approach too close to the bee-hives for obvious reasons. Unfortunately one member got stung and if there is an issue then we will have to look at moving them. However, we are trying to do our bit for both bees, honey and wild flowers.
27th May 2012 - Another hot day, easterly wind.
As the cumulus clouds got going with their associated thermals, it is not surprising that some raptors were seen with the first being a Red Kite, north over Siden Hill Wood at 9.45 a.m., and then another Kite species north at about 3 p.m., before coming back again at about 3.30. The bird was generally very dark and seemed to show contrasting features between Red and Black Kite.
At least one Hobby was hawking over the pools during the early afternoon.
26th May 2012 - Sunny and hot.
A Roe deer ran across the Old Road at 7 a.m., and continues a run of occasional sightings of this species. An “explosion” of Gulls and Terns is usually a sign of a raptor going over and so it proved when an Osprey came in from the south, over Railway Pool and continued on to Car Park Pool, circled and was then lost to sight. It was “mobbed” all the way by the Gulls.
The hot weather proved to be good for Odonata, with the Dragonfly Pond, in particular, the focus of attention with at least six Broad-bodied Chasers, two Four-spotted Chasers and the following damselflies:- Large Red, Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed. Butterflies of note included a female Common Blue by Railway Hide, a number of Small Whites, Peacock, Orange-tip and Green-veined White.
On the bird front, a pair of Redshanks have three young which are occasionally visible in the undergrowth in front of Railway Hide. Other counts during the day included two Dabchicks, two Great Crested Grebes, three Herons, four Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 15 adult Greylags and 19 goslings, 15 adult Canadas and nine goslings, 13 Gadwall, 16 Mallard and four ducklings, 42 Tufted Ducks, 27 Coot, three Moorhen, four Oystercatcher plus two young on Car Park Pool, three Little Ringed Plovers, two Ringed Plovers, 24 Lapwings with 11 young in the crop field and one on Car Park Pool, at least three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 170 Black-headed Gulls plus seven young and 34 Common Terns.
25th May 2012 - Hot and sunny, strong easterly
A slight change in wind direction was good enough to bring in two Greenshanks this morning which showed well from Oak Hide and fed either in front of the Hide or on the shingle bar to the right. They were still present at 1.30pm and seemed settled.
A pair of Hobbies were hawking insects high over the Pools at 1pm and the warm weather has clearly helped the odonata as at least two Four Spotted Chasers were on the wing, one on the causeway and one to the rear of Oak Hide. A lot of recently emerged Demoiselles were also present particularly in the shelter of the hedge to River Hide.
At least 17 Common Terns now appear to be sitting and 12 Lapwing chicks remain in the crop field. A first-summer Herring Gull lingered around Railway Pool and, as usual, adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were backwards and forwards on the lookout for pickings.
24th May 2012 - Overcast start, hot and sunny from lunch-time, north easterly
The pair of Oystercatchers on Car Park Pool have now hatched two chicks and the parents were as dutiful as normal. A Polecat ran across the crop field but despite this the young Lapwing count appears to be unaltered.
In the evening, the Common Tern count reached 37 and sitting birds have now gone well into double figures. On the west side, a Beautiful Demoiselle flew along the track between the Railway Car Park and the wood before perching up in the roadside hedge. There were also plenty of Speckled Wood butterflies along the rides.
23rd May 2012 - Hot and sunny, north easterly
22nd May 2012 - Warm and sunny, north-westerly wind.
There were at least two, possibly three Garden Warblers in song along the Old Road this morning, with one by the car park and one by the top gate which may have wandered up towards the horse paddock. In the crop field there is a new brood of four young Lapwings with at least six and probably eight of the more advanced young still remaining. A Little Ringed Plover in the crop field was being regularly harried by the Lapwings.
Still plenty of song this morning, although there have been no records of Lesser Whitethroat for a few days so whether they have paired up quickly or moved on is not clear. There was a family part of Great Tits by the cottages this morning and a few Swifts drifted over.
In the afternoon and evening other records of note included a count of at least 24 Common Terns, a first-summer Common Gull, two Ringed and four Little Ringed Plovers, four Oystercatchers, seven Redshanks, three Black-headed Gull chicks and male Yellowhammer at the Car Park table.
21st May 2012 - Cool and overcast, slowly clearing to become warm and sunny.
20th May 2012 - Overcast, light north-easterly wind.
After yesterday’s movement there was very little of note today, although the high number of Swifts continue with at least 150 present in the afternoon. The only obvious other migrant was a single Common Sandpiper. Irritatingly a Coot predated a Redshank nest in front of Oak Hide.
19th May 2012 - Overnight rain extending into the morning, cool north easterly and overcast
Today's conditions suggested that there would be some wader passage and fortunately the Reserve scored in the shape of a Sanderling which arrived at the predictable time of 11am but unfortunately had gone by about 1.30pm. A single Dunlin was present at first light and three more flew through during the morning. There was also a male White Wagtail briefly on Railway Pool. I say predictable because mid-morning is a regular time for migrant waders to appear at the Reserve if they have not already arrived and roosted overnight.
A "tundrae" Ringed Plover showed well on the island in front of Railway Hide in the afternoon. It was an informative bird, in contrast to the resident pair with a predominantly black bill and darker brown back, aside from being smaller and slimmer.
A pair of Yellow Wagtails were present again and Garden Warblers were in song on the causeway and by the car park gates with another pair showing well by Railway Hide. At least 150 Swifts and 20 Swallows were over the pools in the cool conditions in the afternoon.
Graham Rowling’s Saturday counts were as follows: four Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 34 Greylags with four broods totalling 21 goslings, 10 Canadas and one brood of three on Railway Pool, 13 Gadwall, 15 Mallard and three broods totalling 14 ducklings, 46 Tufteds, 32 Coot, two Moorhen, four Oystercatchers, five Little Ringed Plovers, three Ringed Plovers (the pair plus the migrant), 25 Lapwings and 14 chicks, six Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper, 260 Black-headed Gulls, five Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Herring Gulls, 21 Common Terns with at least 12 sitting and a Raven over.
18th May 2012 - Overcast, drizzly, cool north-easterly wind, followed by overnight rain.
Despite the continuing cool conditions, the first dragonfly of the year, a female Broad-bodied Chaser, was on the wing along the Old Road but that was the sole record in the log.
17th May 2012 - Mostly cloudy, cool, easterly wind.
Not a great deal to report with a Raven over Siden Hill Wood, which drifted south at 11 a.m., and three Little Ringed Plovers, two Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper and 100 plus Swifts, the only records in the book.
16th May 2012- Mostly sunny, light northerly wind.
Regrettably there was no sign of the Spotted Flycatchers along the Old Road this evening, and there was no song from Lesser Whitethroats either. Two Garden Warblers sang briefly, one from by the cottages and one in the back gate copse. There have been up to four Willow Warblers singing, with two around the back gate and one on the railway embankment plus a fourth on the causeway, but only one of those around the back gate could be heard this evening.
There was still at least six Lapwing chicks in the crop field but no sign of the three on Railway Pool which disappeared so quickly, I wonder if they swam across to the shoreline.
Swifts and hirundines were in and out this evening, with one group of 60 Swifts over the Old Road briefly before dispersing and other smaller groups coming and disappearing during the course of the evening. An active family party of Long-tailed Tits fed along the Old Road by the horse paddock and there are now at least six Common Terns sitting.
15th May 2012 - Heavy periodic showers, cold north-westerly wind.
The adverse weather produced nothing out of the ordinary although, today, there were a pair of Spotted Flycatchers in the same location as yesterday. Let us hope they remain.
Other birds of note included Hobby, the regular pair of Yellow Wagtails, five Little Ringed Plovers, two Ringed Plovers and, in the evening, an estimated 110 Swifts, 80 Swallows, 20 House Martins and ten Sand Martins. A Garden Warbler sang on the Old Road but only six of nine Lapwing chicks could be seen in the crop field, and none were visible on Railway Pool.
14th May 2012 - Sunny intervals, occasional showers, westerly wind.
A Spotted Flycatcher along the Old Road nearer the Aeromodellers was by far and away the best bird of the day, although three Lesser Whitethroats (one on the causeway and two along the Old Road), a distant Cuckoo and at least 30 Common Terns were a reasonable supporting cast.
The Flycatcher was in the trees between the steps up to the Aeromodellers and the locked gate to the north near the farm on the Old Road.
13th May 2012 - Sunny, but with more cloud.
The first-summer Mediterranean Gull was re-found at 2 p.m., with the Black-headed Gulls on Railway Pool, and showed on and off for much of the afternoon. A pair of Yellow Wagtails were seen on and off and a Raven flew over the tip field. A Garden Warbler was in song on the Old Road and Swifts and hirundines included 50 of the former and 10 Sand Martins and five House Martins.
12th May 2012 - Saturday dawned sunny and cloudless.
A single Dunlin which first arrived on the 8th was still present this morning, along with the now regular pair of Yellow Wagtails. A pair of Teal, first seen on the 10th, also reappeared and by about 7 a.m., about 20 Swifts had dropped in to feed over the central streamline. A Garden Warbler sang briefly and intermittently on the Old Road by the car park gates.
The best bird of the weekend was a first-summer Mediterranean Gull which appeared briefly at 11 a.m., and again briefly at 12.45 when it flew over. The sunny weather was also warm enough for some butterflies with a Brimstone by River Hide, a Small White and Comma on the Old Road, Speckled Wood on the causeway and about eight Orange-tips spread across the Reserve.
As the day wore on, either the same Garden Warbler or a new one sang on the causeway and there were at least nine Whitethroats on site, with probably as many as 12 if numbers up to the farm are included.
The wildfowl and other counts were: two Dabchicks, three Great Crested Grebes, five Cormorant, two Herons, four Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 25 Greylags and seven Goslings, nine Canadas and four Goslings, a pair of Teal, 20 Gadwall, 19 Mallard and four ducklings, 52 Tufted Ducks, 26 Coot, six Moorhen, 22 Lapwing and at least ten young, three Oystercatchers, two Little Ringed Plovers, two Ringed Plovers, the Dunlin, seven Redshank, 240 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 23 Common Terns, a Kestrel over the car park, three Skylarks on the tip and at least 50 Swifts by the middle of the day.
11th May 2012 - Sunshine and showers, south-westerly wind.
The Dunlin remained, as did the pair of Yellow Wagtails, with the female seen collecting nesting material. There was also a Common Sandpiper and, in the showery periods, up to 50 Sand Martins, 40 Swifts, 15 Swallows and five House Martins fed over the Reserve.
10th May 2012 - Blustery south-westerly wind, mostly overcast.
Swifts and hirundines were the main evidence of continued passage in a blustery wind this morning, with numbers varying by the minute. The maximum count was 20 House Martins, 15 Swifts and ten each of Sand Martin and Swallow. A Yellow Wagtail flew over and there seemed to be more Sedge Warblers of late with at least seven singing on site.
However, there appear to be no singing Garden Warblers yet, and aside from two songsters on two dates earlier in the month, there have been no regular records at all. Hopefully they are still to come.
In the early afternoon, the Dunlin and Common Sandpiper from the last two days, reappeared, as did a pair of Yellow Wagtails.
9th May 2012 - Overcast, but dry in the morning. Rain from about 2 p.m., to the early hours of the 10th.
The Dunlin and the Common Sandpiper remained, as did a single Yellow Wagtail. Six Pied Wagtails was of note but whether these were migrants or local birds is difficult to establish.
8th May 2012 - Mostly sunny, southerly wind.
A pair of Yellow Wagtails fed in the evening on the islands on Railway Pool where there was also a Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper and other waders included three Little Ringed Plovers, two Ringed Plovers, five Oystercatchers, five Redshanks and nine Lapwing chicks (six in the crop field and three on Railway Pool).
Other goslings / ducklings were two families of Greylags totalling 15, four Canadas, 11 Mallard and also six Coot chicks on Car Park Pool. Three Herring Gulls and 21 Lesser Black-backs went over in the evening and there were 30 Swifts hawking the pools.
7th May 2012 - South-easterly wind, cool, bright start with periodic showers.
The second summer Mediterranean Gull returned to Railway Pool this morning, having not been seen since March. It was present for most of the morning. As the weather deteriorated, Dave Scanlan was rewarded for a patient wait in the rain in Car Park Hide by a Little Tern which flew through at 1 p.m. but, regrettably, did not linger.
There were at least four Yellow Wagtails split between the two pools, four singing Sedge Warblers, six singing Whitethroats, three Little Ringed Plovers, ten Lapwing chicks (seven in the crop field, three on Railway Pool), three adult Herring Gulls and five Oystercatchers.
In the late afternoon, 50 Swallows, 20 House Martins, a few Sandmartins and ten Swifts were feeding over the pools but birds were clearly in and out all the time. Gloves still remain the order of the day!
6th May 2012 - Sunny intervals, easterly wind.
Both Bar-tailed Godwits were present today, although they could sometimes be elusive on the west side of the islands to Car Park Pool. Five Shelduck was a high count of late and other birds of note included a single Common Sandpiper, a pair of Yellow Wagtails, a singing Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat by the horse paddocks and at least 15 Common Terns.
5th May 2012 - Cold north-easterly wind, mostly overcast, but dry.
An all day bird count was undertaken today with some friendly rivalry against Middleton Hall, Belvide and Upton Warren. The respective totals were 95, 88, 84 and 83. By the end of the three hour stint from 6 until 9 a.m., the total stood at 74 with the two Bar-tailed Godwits, a Dunlin and a Common Sand remaining from the previous day.
As is usual, the last few took the time. During the morning Hobby (two), Yellow Wagtail and Feral Pigeon were added, with Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Herring Gull and Red-legged Partridge taking the total to 81 by 12.30. Common Gull and Snipe were added during the afternoon, but despite presence on site until nearly 9 p.m., there was no luck in adding any Owls or Grasshopper Warbler. We were lucky to add Shoveler to the day total, with no records since the 16th April, but there were no Teal or Pochard to supplement the list and others that might have been seen, but were not, included Peregrine, Water Rail, Grey Wagtail and Rook. A White Wagtail was seen but it is not counted as a separate species. Thank you to all those who took part.
Other bits of news - a number of Lapwing chicks have hatched with two at Oak Hide and up to nine in the crop field, Greylags have got two broods of eight and seven and Canadas a brood of two. One brood of Mallard young have been seen around Oak Hide on the last two days.
4th May 2012 - Cold north-easterly wind and overcast
The Bar-tailed Godwit was still present this morning, frequenting the car park islands and the far bank to the pool where, early on, it fed with a Curlew. Four Common Sandpipers showed well on the grass around Car Park Hide.
Following yesterday’s rain, the Blythe has flooded again at Patrick Bridge and at least 11 Yellow Wagtails and a Pied were scurrying around the pool margins whilst, overhead, at least 40 each of House Martin and Swallow were spread between the north end of Car Park Pool and the farm.
Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow we will be attempted a day count for the Reserve (last year’s total was 84) and anyone is welcome to join in. A list will be left in the Record Box to add to / supplement.
This afternoon, Max Silverman and Mick Brewer found a second Bar-tailed Godwit on Railway Pool, also a male, but by 3.30 p.m. it had moved to join the first bird on Car Park Pool. The Yellow Wagtails from Patrick Bridge had all gone and four that paused briefly on Railway Pool in the early afternoon had likewise departed quickly. Some hirundines had moved on as well and there were fewer along the river this afternoon, although there were some Swifts about with one flock of 20 moving through at 3.15 pm.
3rd May 2012 - Cold north-easterly wind, periodic rain, overcast.
A fine summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit showed well on the islands in front of Car Park Hide this morning, although it did fly off briefly. The bird was apparently present last night as well.
Yesterday’s four Dunlin were still present and there seemed to be more Sedge Warblers than of late, with at least three signing between the causeway and River Hide. Lesser Whitethroats were again in song on the Old Road and by the mobile phone mast and 40 to 50 mixed hirundines were feeding between Patrick Bridge and the car park.
Some decent counts of Yellow Wagtails today suggest there may have been as many as 30 birds today with 13 around the middle of the day, seven in the afternoon and nine flying over in the evening. There was also a Curlew present in the evening and 42 Common Terns and 276 Black-headed Gulls roosted.
A Pigmy Shrew was seen well on the Old Road.
2nd May 2012 - Overcast morning, brighter periods this afternoon, cool but light north-easterly wind, noticeably warmer.
“After the flood”, an improvement in the weather saw some migration today with a pair of Wheaters on the crop field, a male Whinchat briefly by the mobile phone mast on the west side, three singing Lesser Whitethroats (between the car park and the top gate, the mobile phone mast and Patrick Farm garden), two Common Sandpipers on Car Park Pool in the morning and four Dunlin there in the afternoon. A late Common Gull also went through.
The floods at Patrick Bridge are worth a look from time to time as they continue to attract birds in; for example, at lunchtime, there were 51 Lesser Black-backs, four Herring Gulls, 29 Tufted Ducks and a pair of Pochard on the edge or in the water. A Yellow Wagtail also flew over and waders and Gulls from the Reserve are backwards and forwards all the time.
Six attended the work party and despite the slightly disappointing turnout a variety of useful jobs were achieved including spraying of the Creeping Thistle on the west bank of Car Park Pool, some further maintenance on the drain in the ditch before Car Park Hide and sluice clearance. The Whinchat from earlier in the day reappeared by the aerial mast in the early evening, but the work party crew could not find it and it had probably gone to roost; however, they were rewarded by an overflying Peregrine and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler just south of the mast.
1st May 2012 - Wet again.
Not a great deal of note this morning. A Common Sandpiper was on Railway Pool the level of which is well up and at least two Lapwings have been flooded out. The floods at Patrick Bridge had subsided somewhat from yesterday, but there was still enough water for 20 Tufted Ducks to be feeding in the channel running south-west from the bridge.
Later in the day a family party of seven Greylags appeared although I am not quite sure from where as one nest on Car Park Pool has been deserted and the other nest is still being brooded. There were six Oystercatchers this afternoon suggesting at least one other pair is trying to “muscle in on the act”.