The Starling roost is going from strength to strength with an estimated 10,000 birds present tonight. The Sparrowhawk and the Marsh Harrier were both in attendance. JMD.
The Starling roost reached about 7 or 8,000 this evening and attracted a Sparrowhawk, which snatched a victim, and a cream top Marsh Harrier. JMD.
An estimated 6,000 Starlings came in to roost this evening, at one stage about 5,000 were displaying together before dropping in to the reed bed and the rest came in in small and larger groups afterwards. A Bittern flew across the Slurry Lagoon and joined the Starlings, perhaps fancying a Starling supper. Up to three Sparrowhawks were also trying to snatch a Starling from the flocks, none successfully. Later a few Canada Geese and about 1,000 Grey-lag Geese came in to roost on the Slurry Lagoon. PS.
There were five Red-crested Pochard on the Large Gravel Pit this afternoon. In the evening the Starlings, Geese and Crows put on a spectacle with thousands of birds coming in to roost or passing over on their way to their roost sites. The roosts attracted the usual raptors with Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard putting in an appearance and a Jack snipe was briefly seen. PS.
A quiet afternoon at the lagoons. There were three Little Egrets, and a female Sparrowhawk, but no unusual birds about. A surprise was seeing several Long-winged Coneheads still active, on the sunny fence-posts near the river. One female was caught in the act of egg-laying. PS.
As the air warmed up and thermals began to form the raptors began to soar into the sky. By midday there were twelve Buzzards circling and then two Red Kites soared over the site. There were also two Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, and two Peregrines and a Rough-legged Buzzard that drifted off towards Gedling pit top. Eight Chiffchaffs were singing as well as a Blackcap and several Sand Martins passed through. PS.
Sunday 11th March was an exceptionally warm still day, perfect for coaxing raptors into the air. Several Buzzards were seen in the same thermal and an amazing sight was a ‘kettle’ of eight Common Buzzards that were joined by two Rough-legged Buzzards. Several Sparrowhawks and Kestrels and a Peregrine were also seen. The bird counts are a monthly event and are a good way of collecting data on the welfare and abundance of birds on the reserve. They are held on the second Sunday of every month. People meet at the end of Teal Close in time to set off at 07.45 and normally finish at about 11.00. If you would like to attend just turn up and join in.
The gull roost contained the adult Caspian Gull again this afternoon. There were also over forty Golden Plover on the Slurry. The Starling roost was again attacked by a very persistant Sparrowhawk and a Kingfisher flew between the reed beds. The Cetti’s Warbler was heard in the Deep Pit. At dusk twenty-two White-fronted Geese flew in to roost on the Slurry Lagoon. RW.
The gull roost contained a first winter Mediterranean Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull this afternoon. Several Water Rails were heard or seen across the site, as were hunting Sparrowhawks. One Sparrowhawk was seen to fly into the Starling roost causing them to move across the Slurry Lagoon to another reed bed. As the light failed a massive flock of Grey-lag Geese rose unseen from the harvested maize field, where they had been feeding, to move to the Large Gravel Pit, to roost. The noise they made cackling and screeching was very impressive. RW, PS.
There are still eight Red-crested Pochard on the Slurry Lagoon. A Water Rail was calling from the Slurry Lagoon reed bed to the south of the bench on the Causeway. By the railway bridge, on the up-river side, a Willow Tit without a tail was seen and heard calling. At first I thought it was a juvenile but it more likely had a close encounter with a Sparrowhawk. A Hobby did a magnificent stoop, half the length of the Lower Path, and rose with what looked like a warbler, perhaps a Chiffchaff, in its talons. It flew off with it in the direction of Holme Pierrepont. PS