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 Posted by on June 10, 2011

Monthly Notes from the Carsington Bird Club Recorders

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Historical Bird Notes: 2019201820172016201520142013, 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

Current Bird Notes for 2019


Highlights: Hobby, Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull and Cuckoo.

A mainly wet month yielded 94 species which is about average for June. Water bird maxima come from the WeBS survey on 16th unless stated: 7 Little Grebe, 45 Great Crested Grebe, 22 Cormorant on 21st, 2 Little Egret on 29th, 2 Grey Heron on 6th and 20th, 35 Mute Swan on 13th, 82 Greylag Geese on 23rd, 675 Canada Geese on 23rd, 7 Barnacle Geese on 13th, 9 Gadwall on 3rd, a drake Teal on numerous dates, 73 Mallard, 3 Shoveler on 21st, a drake Pochard on 27th, 86 Tufted Duck, a drake Common Scoter on 30th, 5 Moorhen and 124 Coot.

Raptor records included a Sparrowhawk taking prey to Hall Wood on 9th, 8 Buzzard on 21st, a Kestrel plucking what appeared to be a young Redshank on 16th, a Hobby on 13th and a Peregrine on 21st.

A reasonable return of waders for June included 15 Oystercatcher on 16th and 20th, 3 Little Ringed Plover on 18th, 4 Ringed Plover on 3rd, 15 Lapwing on 22nd, a Knot on 27th, a Dunlin on 2nd and 4th, 26 summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit on 30th, a single Curlew on 13th, 10 Redshank on 13th, a Green Sandpiper on 16th, Common Sandpiper on 16th and 30th and a summer plumage Turnstone on 6th.

Gull and Tern reports included a Mediterranean Gull on 30th, 152 Black-headed Gull on 16th, a 1st summer Common Gull on 12th and 13th, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 13th, 2 Yellow-legged Gull on 5th and 6th, 2 Great Black-backed Gull on several dates and 3 Common Tern on 9th.

A site scarce Cuckoo was heard between the Wildlife Centre and Shiningford Creek on 18th and 2 fledged Tawny Owl young were at the Hopton end on 13th. Fifty Swift were noted on 3rd, 4 young Swallow were around the overflow grill at Millfields on 21st and an active House Martin nest was at the Visitor Centre on 5th.

Warblers were well represented with 7 Sedge Warbler on 29th, 9 Reed Warbler on 13th, 4 Lesser Whitethroat on 29th, fledged Whitethroat near Millfields Island on 13th, 2 singing Garden Warbler on 29th, several records of Blackcap carrying food to young and Chiffchaff with food at the Hopton end on 16th. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Penn Carr on 5th, fledged Long-tailed Tit were noted there on 3rd and a healthy count of 18 Willow Tit on 7th included 3 families with at least 9 young in total. Five Raven were counted on 21st, 45 House Sparrow on 5th, 25 Tree Sparrow included many young on 6th and 22nd and fledged Reed Bunting were on Stones Island on 7th.

94 Species this June compared with 91 in 2018, 97 in 2017, 94 in 2016, 90 in 2015 and 99 in 2014.

Recorder: Clive Ashton cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Garganey, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Turnstone, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern and Green Woodpecker

A good month with some excellent birds to enjoy, but we didn’t expect a Budgerigar! The Great Northern Diver departed, as expected, being last seen on 7th. Water bird maxima come from the WeBS survey on 19th unless stated: 5 Little Grebe on 1st and 19th, 51 Great Crested Grebe, 16 Cormorant on 17th and 30th, 3 Little Egret and 3 Grey Heron both on 20th, 10 Mute Swan on 16th, a Pink-footed Goose on 2 dates, 40 Greylag Geese on 31st, 194 Canada Geese on 30th, 12 Barnacle Geese on 16th, a Shelduck on 29th, 2 Mandarin on several dates, 8 Gadwall on 26th, 4 Teal on 3rd, 55 Mallard, a pair of Garganey on 29th, 2 Shoveler on 12th, 70 Tufted Duck, 6 Moorhen on 31st and 59 Coot. Brood numbers included: 1 of Mute Swan, 5 Greylag, 6 Canada, 2 Barnacle, a massive 29 Mallard, 1 Moorhen and 3 Coot.

Raptor highlights included 2 records of Red Kite, a cream crown Marsh Harrier on 25th, 2 Sparrowhawk on 2 dates, 8 Buzzard on 14th and 19th, 3 Kestrel on 22nd, a Hobby on 27th and 2 Peregrine on 19th.

A diverse selection of waders included: 10 Oystercatcher on 19th, 2 Avocet on 14th, 3 Little Ringed Plover on 7th and 22nd, a Ringed Plover on several dates, 2 Grey Plover on 8th, 6 Lapwing on 26th, 5 Dunlin on 9th, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit on 10th, 2 Whimbrel on 10th, 4 Curlew on 10th, 6 Redshank on 25th, a Greenshank on 8th, 3 Common Sandpiper on 7th and 10th and a Turnstone on 3rd and 18th. The only wader breeding noted was 2 broods of Oystercatcher and 1 of Redshank.

Notable Gull reports were 100 Black-headed Gull on 16th and 19th, 2 Common Gull on 2nd and 10th, 60 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 20th, 3 Yellow-legged Gull on 27th and 29th and 18 Great Black-backed Gull on 16th. Terns were represented with 2 Common Tern on 8th, 25 Arctic Tern on 9th, a site scarce Little Tern on 10th and 3 Black Tern on 9th.

At least 63 Swift were overhead on 10th and a Green Woodpecker was a good find on 25th. Hirundine maxima were 700 Sand Martin on 9th and 10th, 120 Swallow on 7th and 200 House Martin on 9th and 10th. Notable Wagtail reports were 2 Yellow Wagtail on 10th, 2 broods of Grey Wagtail on 20th, a White Wagtail on 10th and several Pied Wagtail feeding young by the month-end. Four Redstart were singing on 20th and a Wheatear was near the Visitor Centre on 2nd. Two observers covered the whole site on 22nd and made some impressive counts including: 107 Wren, 17 Dunnock, 89 Blackbird, 34 Song Thrush, 7 Sedge Warbler, 7 Reed Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 26 Garden Warbler, 62 Blackcap, 58 Chiffchaff and 18 Willow Warbler. Spotted Flycatcher arrived on 12th with 2 noted on that and other dates. Other counts on 22nd were 32 Long-tailed Tit, 14 Willow Tit, 31 Great Tit, 9 Treecreeper, 6 Jay, 22 Chaffinch, 24 Bullfinch and 12 Reed Bunting.

108 Species this month compared with 109 in 2018, 114 in 2017, 112 in 2016 and 107 in 2015.

Recorder Clive Ashton cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Rock Pipit and Crossbill.

The Great Northern Diver remained, as expected, and had attained summer plumage by the month-end. It was however seen flying around on a couple of occasions as it prepares for the journey north in May. Maximum water bird counts are from the monthly WeBS survey on 21st unless stated: 7 Little Grebe on 14th, 35 Great Crested Grebe, 26 Cormorant on 11th, a Little Egret on several dates, 4 Grey Heron, 14 Mute Swan, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 26 Greylag Geese on 13th, 131 Canada Geese, 24 Barnacle Geese on 14th, 4 Shelduck on 20th, 4 Mandarin on 18th, 2 Wigeon on 15th, 10 Gadwall, 18 Teal on 20th, 56 Mallard (and 9 broods of ducklings by the month-end), 2 Pintail on 1st, a site record 18 Shoveler on 12th, 75 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Scoter on 9th, 7 Goldeneye on 16th, a female Red-breasted Merganser on 18th, a drake Goosander on 5th, 5 Moorhen on 21st and 22nd and 75 Coot.

Raptors this month included an adult male Marsh Harrier on 1st, 3 Sparrowhawk on 2 dates, 12 Buzzard soaring on 25th, an Osprey carrying a fish on 4th, 4 Kestrel on 25th and 3 records of Peregrine.

Wader maxima were 13 Oystercatcher on 2 dates, a single Avocet on 11th (3rd record this year), 5 Little Ringed Plover on 21st, a Ringed Plover on 2nd and 3rd, 7 Lapwing on 17th, a Dunlin on 4 dates, 14 Snipe on 4th, 2 Black-tailed Godwit on 12th, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on 25th, a Whimbrel on 27th and 28th, 3 Curlew on 10th, 6 Redshank on 20th, a Greenshank on 2nd and another from 20th to 29th at least, a Green Sandpiper on 20th and 2 Common Sandpiper on 17th.

Gulls included 500 Black-headed on 7th (but nest sites around the Wildlife Centre had been abandoned by 22nd), 11 Common on 29th, 280 roosting Lesser Black-backed on 9th, 20 Herring on 11th and 14th, 4 Yellow-legged on 24th, 73 Great Black-backed on 11th and a first summer Kittiwake on 27th. Terns were represented by a Sandwich Tern on 21st, 2 Common Tern on 22nd and 2 Arctic Tern on 27th.

Two Swift arrived on 25th, Sand Martin peaked at 150 on 12th and Swallow at 50 on 13th. The first returning House Martin was on 3rd rising to 20 by the month-end. A Rock Pipit was heard on the dam on 14th, the first Yellow Wagtail came on 9th and there were 5 on 25th, Grey Wagtail were already feeding fledged young at Millfields on 30th and there were 2 White Wagtail on 17th. Some big counts around the whole site on 23rd included 120 Wren, 15 Dunnock and 60 Robin, 77 Blackbird, 26 Song Thrush and 7 Mistle Thrush. The first record of Redstart was on 14th and a Wheatear arrived the following day. The final winter thrushes were 60 Fieldfare on 14th and 2 Redwing on 11th. A Sedge Warbler arrived on 18th and a Reed Warbler the following day was the earliest ever for the site. Other first arrival dates were Lesser Whitethroat on 20th, Common Whitethroat 19th and Garden Warbler 20th. Counts of our earlier arriving warblers on 23rd included 89 Blackcap, 79 Chiffchaff and 29 Willow Warbler. Further counts on that day were 8 Coal Tit, 95 Blue Tit, 50 Great Tit, 11 Nuthatch, 6 Treecreeper, 19 Magpie, 18 Chaffinch, 25 Goldfinch, 15 Bullfinch and 10 Reed Bunting. Seven Raven on 22nd included an apparent family of 5 and a Crossbill flew southwest over Millfields on 21st.

118 species were recorded compared with 117 in 2018, 124 in 2017, 119 in 2016, 117 in 2015 and 119 in 2014.

Recorder: Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Red Kite, Osprey, Avocet, Mediterranean Gull, Kittiwake, Brambling and Crossbill.

The Great Northern Diver remained all month and was seen to be showing a few white spots on its upperparts. Water bird maximum counts come from the WeBS survey on 24th unless stated: 10 Little Grebe, 34 Great Crested Grebe, 22 Cormorant on 2nd, a Little Egret on 21st, 5 Grey Heron on 8th, 11 Mute Swan on 22nd, 29 Greylag Geese on 24th, 141 Canada Geese, 27 Barnacle Geese on 23rd, a Shelduck on 3 dates, at least 7 Mandarin on 27th, 5 Wigeon on 17th, 19 Gadwall on 19th, 17 Teal, 68 Mallard, 4 Shoveler on 26th and 27th, 6 Pochard on 20th, 41 Tufted Duck, 8 Goldeneye on 28th, 2 Goosander on 5th, a showy Water Rail was in the Brown Ale Bay area on several dates and another was heard at the Hopton end on 5th, 7 Moorhen on two dates and 102 Coot.

A Red Kite drifted over the Visitor Centre on 25th and another was over Millfields on 31st, 2 Sparrowhawk were seen on 18th and 28th, 13 Buzzard were aloft on 19th, an Osprey flew in to Fishtail Creek carrying a fish at 0700hrs on 31st before appearing to fly West sometime later, 2 Kestrel and 2 Peregrine were noted on 12th and 8th respectively.

Waders included a maximum 15 Oystercatchers on 27th, single Avocet on 24th and 31st, the first returning Little Ringed Plover on 14th was the earliest ever for the site, 80 Lapwing on 3rd, 2 Dunlin on 2nd and 6th, 4 Ruff from 1st to 13th, 14 Snipe on 3 dates, 5 Woodcock on 2nd, 42 Curlew on 11th and 12 Redshank on 24th.

Gulls were represented by a now seemingly site scarce Mediterranean Gull on 25th, the usual Black-headed Gull, Common Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull (although these species went uncounted), 20 Herring Gull left roost on 2nd, 3 Yellow-legged Gull on 8th, 6 Great Black-backed on 14th included a Norwegian ringed individual and an adult Kittiwake was in Brown Ale Bay on 16th following classic weather conditions for this species.

Eight Stock Dove on 18th included an individual flight displaying in Tail Bay, 5 Tawny Owl were calling at the Hopton end on 2nd and 23rd and a Kingfisher was also noted on the latter date. A Sand Martin flew past Flat Island on 3rd and is the earliest ever by a full 8 days and the first Swallow was over Sheepwash on 30th. Meadow Pipit were on the move with 63 Northwest on 21st and there were 7 Grey Wagtail on 2nd and 15th. Two observers covered the whole site on 29th and recorded some impressive counts: 87 Wren, 37 Dunnock, 91 Robin, 57 Blackbird, 17 Song Thrush, 8 Mistle Thrush, 7 Blackcap (first arrival 24th), 104 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 18 Long-tailed Tit, 18 Willow Tit, 17 Coal Tit, 116 Blue Tit, 75 Great Tit, 18 Nuthatch, 12 Treecreeper, 3 Jay, and 24 Magpie. Other counts of note included: 6 Raven on 8th, 150 Starling on 17th, 24 Tree Sparrow on 16th, 25 Chaffinch on 29th, single Brambling on 3rd and 29th, 30 plus Siskin on 27th, at least 20 Lesser Redpoll on 27th, a single Crossbill on 18th, 14 Bullfinch and 12 Reed Bunting both on 29th.

100 species this March compared with 102 in 2018 110 in 2017, 108 in 2016, 103 in 2015 and 95 in 2014.

Recorder Clive Ashton cliveashton@btinternet.com


February Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Pink-footed Geese, Water Rail, Barn Owl, Stonechat and Snow Bunting. 

A mainly dry, often foggy month, ended with unseasonal temperatures in the high teens giving a very spring like feel. Thanks go out to Severn Trent Rangers for some sterling work erecting nest boxes on site which should benefit several species. The Great Northern Diver was present all month and other water bird maximum counts come from the WeBS survey on 10th unless stated: 32 Little Grebe, 54 Great Crested Grebe on 5th, 20 Cormorant on 7th, a Little Egret on 4 dates, 2 Grey Heron regularly, 6 Mute Swan on 24th and 28th, 70 Pink-footed Geese on 1st, 24 Greylag Geese on 3rd, 350 Canada Geese on 2nd, 29 Barnacle Geese on 26th, 3 Shelduck on 12th, 47 Wigeon, 63 Gadwall on 4th, 239 Teal, 115 Mallard, 4 Pintail on 9th, 2 Shoveler on 15th, 5 Pochard, 23 Tufted Duck, 11 Goldeneye, 6 Goosander on 1st, a Water Rail on several occasions, 8 Moorhen and 281 Coot.

Very quiet raptor wise with 2 Sparrowhawk on 6th and 7th, 6 Buzzard on 4th, the usual Kestrel reports and several sightings of Peregrine.

Oystercatchers were back with 8 on 20th (including the barcode ringed male returning for his 14th breeding season and again paired with the ringed female from last year). Other wader highlights were 407 Lapwing on 6th, 3 Dunlin from 1st to 6th, 5 Ruff on two dates, at least 30 Snipe on 10th, 2 Woodcock on 2nd, 12 Curlew through on 27th, and 6 Redshank on several dates.

Gull records included 5,000 Black-headed Gull on 9th, 350 Common Gull on 7th, 300 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 3rd, 45 Herring Gull on 10th, 3 Yellow-legged Gull on 7th and 3 Great Black-backed Gull on 10th and 27th.

A Barn Owl was near the dam at dusk on 9th and 6 Tawny Owl were calling at dawn on 2nd. Kingfisher were reported on 4th and 6th, 12 Skylark flew over on 22nd, 8 Meadow Pipit were at Watersports on 5th and 8 Grey Wagtail left their roost at the Hopton end at dawn on 2nd. A Stonechat was a good find on 19th and a walk from the Hopton end to Stones Island on 6th produced 20 Dunnock, 36 Robin, 35 Blackbird and 11 Song Thrush. Four Mistle Thrush on 28th included a pair with a well-built nest in a traditional area. A Chiffchaff sang for a while on Stones Island on the morning of 28th and became the earliest record of song for this species. Further counts from the walk on 6th were 19 Long-tailed Tit, 13 Willow Tit, 10 Coal Tit, 61 Blue Tit, 36 Great Tit, 5 Jay and 12 Magpie. Other counts of note were 4 Raven on 9th, c30 Tree Sparrow on 4th, 15 Chaffinch on 6th, 3 Brambling on 6th, 4 Greenfinch on 3rd, 12 Goldfinch on 6th, 20 Siskin on 4th and 5 Lesser Redpoll on 9th. A Valentine’s Day walk paid of spectacularly for one observer when 3 Snow Bunting flew over the Visitor Centre towards Stones Island but, unfortunately, they could not be relocated. Eleven Reed Bunting left the Hopton reed bed at dawn on 10th.

92 species this month compared with 87 in 2018, 90 in 2017, 87 in 2016, 86 in 2015, 81 in 2014 and 90 in 2013.

Recorder: Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


January Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Whooper Swan, Brent Goose, Water Rail, Jack Snipe, Caspian Gull and Waxwing.

Generally, a quiet month but there were a few decent birds for those prepared to put in the hours. The adult Great Northern Diver remained all month though it was often elusive. Water bird maximum counts come from the WeBS survey on 20th unless stated: 25 Little Grebe, a healthy 58 Great Crested Grebe on 23rd, 18 Cormorant on 23rd, 2 Grey Heron on several dates, 4 Mute Swan on 16th, 17 Whooper Swan, a single Pink-footed Goose from 26th, 36 Greylag Geese on 27th, 150 Canada Geese on 25th, 17 Barnacle Geese on 22nd, a dark-bellied Brent Goose on 4th, 9 Shelduck, 74 Wigeon, 47 Gadwall on 28th, 403 Teal, 91 Mallard, 6 Shoveler on 2nd and 4th, 19 Pochard on 1st, 89 Tufted Duck, 11 Goldeneye, 9 Goosander, a Water Rail in the Hopton reed bed on 1st and 3rd, 6 Moorhen on 2nd and 444 Coot.

Four species of raptor only but they included 3 Sparrowhawk on 27th, 8 Buzzard on 27th, 2 Kestrel on 26th and 2 Peregrine on numerous occasions, often perched on the Sheepwash shoreline.

The first returning Oystercatcher arrived on 28th and there were 3 the following day. Other waders of note were: single Golden Plover on 11th and 20th, 492 Lapwing on 17th, 3 Dunlin throughout the month, 4 Ruff on 28th and 30th, a Jack Snipe at the Hopton reed bed on 20th, 44 Common Snipe on 26th, at least 5 Woodcock early morning on 26th, a Curlew from 23rd and 5 Redshank on 14th and 31st.

Gulls were roosting in huge numbers with an estimated 10,000 Black-headed Gull at dawn on 17th, 900 Common Gull on 11th, 420 Lesser Black-backed Gull on the same date, 3 Yellow-legged Gull on 2nd and 3 Great Black-backed Gull on two dates.

Six Stock Dove flew over on 25th, 6 Tawny Owl were calling at the Hopton end early morning on 26th and there were several sightings of Kingfisher including a regular female perched in Willows in Brown Ale Bay. Five Great Spotted Woodpecker were noted on 21st and drumming was heard by the month-end, 9 Meadow Pipit were on Watersports Island on 11th and 9 Grey Wagtail left the Hopton reed bed roost site on two dates. Another record of Waxwing came on 17th when 3 birds flew over the road near to the Sailing Club junction. Wintering Chiffchaff were seen on 3 dates, 7 Willow Tit were on Stones Island on 30th, 50 Rook flew over the north end on 16th and 4 Raven were seen on 23rd. Five hundred Starling flew south following a cold snap on 30th at least 20 Tree Sparrow were recorded on 18th as were 35 Siskin on 1st, 7 Lesser Redpoll on 5th, 13 Bullfinch on 11th and 16 Reed Bunting leaving roost on 26th.

91 species this month compared with 96 in 2018, 91 in 2017, 91 in 2016, 81 in 2015, 82 in 2014 and 89 in 2013

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Pink-footed Geese, Caspian Gull, Waxwing and Chiffchaff.

The now expected Great Northern Diver arrived on 2nd and remained all month, other water bird maximums are from the WeBS survey on 9th unless stated: 36 Little Grebe, 48 Great Crested Grebe, 32 Cormorant on 28th, 2 Grey Heron on 27th and 31st, 11 Mute Swan flew out on 8th, 220 Pink-footed Geese flew east on 7th, 179 Greylag Geese arrived at Sheepwash on 7th, 199 Canada Geese on 17th, 23 Barnacle Geese on 21st, 100 Wigeon on 19th, 20 Gadwall on 22nd, 451Teal, 94 Mallard, 2 Shoveler on 3 dates, 19 Pochard on 31st, 181 Tufted Duck, 10 Goldeneye on 29th, 17 Goosander on 30th, 6 Moorhen on 3 dates and 1,050 Coot.

Raptor records included 2 Sparrowhawk on 9th and 21st, 5 Buzzard on 22nd, 2 Kestrel on 13th and 3 Peregrine on 31st.

At least 1 Golden Plover was heard calling over the Visitor Centre on 31st, c500 Lapwing on 22nd, 5 Dunlin on 9th and 11th, 4 Ruff from 13th to 17th (with 3 remaining all month), 47 Snipe on 17th, 4 Woodcock on 16th and 27th and 4 Redshank on 9th and 30th.

Black-headed Gull were roosting in huge numbers with an estimated 10,000 on 28th, 1,800 Common Gull on 22nd, 600 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 22nd, 71 Herring Gull on 19th, 2 Caspian Gull on 11th, 3 Yellow-legged Gull on 19th and 21st and 11 Great Black-backed Gull on 16th.

Seven Tawny Owl were calling at the Hopton end on 16th, a female Kingfisher was a regular sight in Brown Ale Bay, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker took a liking to the seed kindly provided at Millfields, 24 wintering Meadow Pipit were present on 16th and 9 Grey Wagtail left their roost on 27th. The first records of Waxwing for 6 years were 4 flying over on 29th followed by another 3 the following day. Winter Thrushes were moving east on 12th with 110 Fieldfare and 1,210 Redwing reported. An over-wintering Chiffchaff was seen in Brown Ale Bay on 19th and 22nd. Other counts included 5 Willow Tit on 11th, 5 Nuthatch on 27th, 5 Jay on 12th, 700 Jackdaw on 6th, 60 Rook on 17th and 3 Raven on several occasions. Tree Sparrow were reported in increasing numbers at Millfields with an encouraging 17 there on 9th and a site count of 28 on 31st included 13 at the same location. Finch counts included 2 Brambling on 2nd and 9th, 4 Greenfinch on 11th and 16th, 60 Siskin on 30th, 6 Linnet on 28th, c12 Lesser Redpoll on 9th and 15 Bullfinch also on 9th.

87 species recorded compared with 92 in 2017, 95 in 2016, 93 in 2015, 91 in 2014 and 83 in 2013.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Pink-footed Geese, Woodcock, Caspian Gull, Glaucous Gull, Crossbill, Hawfinch and Yellowhammer.

With foggy conditions a feature on many days this month it is not surprising that the species total is below average. The anticipated arrival of a Great Northern Diver failed to materialize but there were some good birds to be had, in particular the first Glaucous Gull for 10 years. Maximum water bird counts come from the WeBS survey on 11th unless stated: 37 Little Grebe, 50 Great Crested Grebe, 29 Cormorant on 26th, a Little Egret until 11th, 2 Grey Heron on several dates, 35 Mute Swan on 24th, 300 Pink-footed Geese flew east on 26th, 4 Greylag Geese on 25th, 167 Canada Geese on 2nd, 2 Barnacle Geese regularly, a Shelduck from 1st to 3rd (unfortunately found dead on 4th), a drake Mandarin on 2nd, 146 Wigeon, 42 Gadwall, 402 Teal, 108 Mallard, 2 Pintail from 3rd to 17th, 13 Shoveler on 2nd, 6 Red-crested Pochard on 5th, 69 Pochard on 3rd, 208 Tufted Duck on 26th, 10 Goldeneye on 26th, 11 Goosander on 25th, 5 Moorhen on 16th and 26th and 930 Coot on 26th.

Raptors of note this month included 2 Sparrowhawk on 25th, 5 Buzzard on 10th, 2 Kestrel on several days and Peregrine regularly all month with 2 on 23rd.

Only 7 species of wader this month but the highlights were: 72 Golden Plover circling site on 10th, 415 Lapwing on 16th, 14 Dunlin on 26th, 3 Ruff all month, 13 Snipe on 10th and 30th, a site record 8 Woodcock in to roost at the Hopton end at dawn on 24th and 4 Redshank on 25th.

Gulls were well reported, largely from the evening roost, and counts included 10,000 Black-headed Gull on 8th, 900 Common Gull on 22nd, 3,000 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 16th, 30 Herring Gull on 16th, several different Caspian Gull with 2 on 28th and 5 Yellow-legged Gull on 21st and 23rd. A second winter Glaucous Gull was found on 5th and it was reported regularly in the roost up to 15th where it gave the opportunity for a “site tick” for many. Nine Great Black-backed Gull were on the spit at Sheepwash on 11th. Interestingly a Gull at Sheepwash on 20th was identified as a hybrid Lesser Black-backed x Ring-billed Gull an odd sight indeed!

Wood Pigeon movements continued with 6,450 northeast on 12th, 7 Collared Dove on 12th is the highest count this year, Kingfisher were reported on several dates, 11 Skylark flew over on 3rd, 45 Meadow Pipit were around site on 24th and 6 Grey Wagtail came out of the Hopton reed bed roost on 30th. A huge count of c930 Fieldfare was made on 7th and there were 380 Redwing on 19th. Five Mistle Thrush on 25th included 3 singing and a late Chiffchaff was on Stones Island on 17th. Other counts made this month include 30 Long-tailed Tit on 5th, 6 Willow Tit on 12th and 28th, 600 Jackdaw leaving a roost in Tail Bay on 25th, 50 Rook on the dam wall on 3rd, 6 Raven on 1st and 8th, 700 Starling heading to roost on 10th, 19 Tree Sparrow on 26th, 30 Brambling over Millfields on 8th, 4 Greenfinch on 23rd, 30 Siskin on 21st, 32 Lesser Redpoll on 23rd, 4 Crossbill over Millfields on 14th and 10 Bullfinch on 27th. A lone Hawfinch was found at Millfields on 23rd and it was last seen on 27th. Yellowhammer were heard calling as they flew over on 3rd and 5th and 22 Reed Bunting came out of roost at Hopton reed bed at daybreak on 17th.

93 species recorded compared with 101 in 2017, 99 in 2016, 101 in 2015, 96 in 2014 and 92 in 2013.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Red-throated Diver, Great Egret, Scaup, Kittiwake, Little Owl, Rock Pipit, Crossbill and Yellowhammer.

The water level continued to fall all month leaving vast areas of open shore line. Two Red-throated Diver were found off Stones Island on the murky morning of 3rd but unfortunately flew West shortly after. Other Water bird maxima come from the WeBS survey on 14th unless stated: 27 Little Grebe, 49 Great Crested Grebe, 31 Cormorant on 6th, 5 Little Egret on 12th and 17th, a Great Egret on 10th, 3 Grey Heron on 8th, 38 Mute Swan, 18 Whooper Swan on 22nd, 70 Pink-footed Geese on 18th, 58 Greylag Geese on 26th, 580 Canada Geese on 4th, 13 Barnacle Geese on 3rd, 3 Shelduck on 3rd, 60 Wigeon on 2nd, 84 Gadwall on 30th, 465 Teal, 167 Mallard, 6 Pintail on 6th, 14 Shoveler on 3rd, 2 Red-crested Pochard on several dates, 132 Pochard on 8th, 223 Tufted Duck, a Scaup on 11th, a female Common Scoter on 6th, 8 Goldeneye on 27th, 5 Goosander on 19th, 15 Moorhen and 1,015 Coot.

Raptors were hard to come by just the usual reports of Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel plus regular visits from Peregrine with 2 on 4th and 5th. A Red-legged Partridge flew in front of Sheepwash hide on 12th and 23 Pheasant were noted on 30th.

Waders of note were: 7 Ringed Plover on 20th, single Golden Plover on several dates, 212 Lapwing on 18th, 7 Dunlin on 21st and 31st, 3 Ruff from 25th, 10 Snipe on 20th and 31st, single Curlew on 1st and 19th, 3 Redshank on 30th and a late Common Sandpiper on 18th and 19th.

A first winter Mediterranean Gull was at Sheepwash on 14th, 3,000 Black-headed Gull at Millfields at dawn on 4th and 650 Common Gull at Sheepwash on 30th. Two colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull on 14th were noted to spend the winter in Spain with one having been seen at Carsington some 8 years ago. Three Herring Gull were present on 15th, 6 Yellow-legged Gull on 22nd and 2 Great Black-backed Gull on several dates. A first winter Kittiwake flew through on 28th and the only Terns were a Common on 11th and an Arctic on 4th.

Wood Pigeon movements included 2,325 Southwest, during a one-hour period, on 18th. A Little Owl calling at the Hopton End on 17th is the first for over 5 years so most welcome indeed! Just 2 reports of Kingfisher this month on 19th and 31st. At least 30 Skylark flew South on 17th, 2 Swallow on 2nd were the final hirundines and a Rock Pipit was around Stones Island on 10th and 11th. Winter Thrushes arrived and counts included 416 Fieldfare West on 29th and 65 Redwing on 30th. The final Warblers were a Blackcap in Brown Ale Bay on 3rd and 3 Chiffchaff on Stones Island on 17th. A good count of 9 Jay was made on 1st and 1,100 Jackdaw went to roost below the dam at dusk on 2nd. On a day of big Starling movement nationally 3,600 flew West over the site on 28th. Tree Sparrow surveys continued and 26 noted on 24th was an encouraging number given previous counts recently. At least 12 Brambling flew down the East side on 20th, 80 Siskin South over Brown Ale Bay on 5th, 25 Linnet were on Stones Island on 4th and 8 Crossbill flew over the Wildlife Centre on 28th.

106 species recorded this October compared with 107 in 2017, 108 in 2016, 96 in 2015 and 98 in 2014.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Great Egret, Pink-footed Geese, Common Scoter, Red Kite, Osprey, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Turnstone, Grey Phalarope, Black Tern and Yellowhammer.

Water bird maximums come from the WeBS count on 9th unless stated: 38 Little Grebe on 30th, 48 Great Crested Grebe on 26th, 30 Cormorant on 27th, 10 Little Egret on 17th, a Great Egret on 5 dates, 6 Grey Heron on 3 dates, 41 Mute Swan, 1,070 Pink-footed Geese in 11 skeins on 28th, 325 Greylag Geese on 23rd, 1,150 Canada Geese on 12th, 23 Barnacle Geese on 11th, 4 Shelduck on 5th, a drake Mandarin on 8th, 81 Wigeon on 30th, 36 Gadwall, 467 Teal on 26th, 279 Mallard, 3 Pintail from 24th, 16 Shoveler on 26th, 3 Red-crested Pochard on several dates, 135 Pochard on 30th, 307 Tufted Duck, 2 Common Scoter on 16th, 5 Goosander on 13th, 15 Moorhen and 1148 Coot on 26th.

Raptor highlights included a Red Kite on 3rd, 3 Sparrowhawk on 28th, 10 Buzzard on 28th, an Osprey regularly from 1st to 7th, 2 Kestrel on 23rd and 25th, 2 Hobby on 11th and regular sightings of Peregrine.

A good selection of waders again this month included: 3 Little Ringed Plover on 3rd, 10 Ringed Plover on 21st, 73 Lapwing on 27th, 11 Dunlin on 26th, a Ruff from 20th to the month-end, 7 Snipe on 8th, 10 Curlew on 16th, a Redshank on 3 dates, 2 Greenshank from 8th to 19th,  Green Sandpiper on 13th, a juvenile Wood Sandpiper on 7th, 3 Common Sandpiper on 3rd and 5th, a Turnstone on 21st and a Grey Phalarope from 21st to 23rd following westerly gales and heavy rain which saw many of this species turning up at inland waters.

Gulls and Terns were represented by, 1,000 Black-headed Gull at dawn on 27th, a first winter Common Gull on 26th, 3,800 Lesser Black-backed Gull at dusk on 12th, single Herring Gull on 11th and 27th, a Caspian type Gull on 14th was considered a hybrid by one learned observer, 4 Yellow-legged Gull on 3rd, 3 Great Black-backed Gull on 24th, 2 juvenile Common Tern on 21st and 3 Black Tern on 4th.

Following a crash in numbers recently 5 Collared Dove on 20th was a maximum count for the year, 6 Tawny Owl were calling at the Hopton end early morning on 12th and 28th, Kingfisher was noted several times up to 13th and 7 Great Spotted Woodpecker were recorded on 27th. Autumn movement was noted in the form of 18 Skylark south on 20th, 7 Sand Martin on 23rd, 100 Swallow south during a 15-minute period on 5th, 266 House Martin through on 23rd and a massive 710 Meadow Pipit southwest on 20th.  Wagtail records included 2 Yellow on 23rd, 6 Grey on 6th and 2 White on 17th. The final dates for some of our summer visitors this month (and most likely this year) were Redstart 4th, Wheatear 7th, Sedge Warbler 6th, Reed Warbler 12th, Lesser Whitethroat 10th, Whitethroat 3rd, Garden Warbler 6th, Willow Warbler 12th and Spotted Flycatcher 9th. Some good counts of Corvids this month included 8 Jay on 26th, 300 Jackdaw on 16th, c100 Rook down the west side on 7th and 13 Raven on 23rd. Finch records included 22 Chaffinch and 4 Greenfinch over on 27th, 120 Goldfinch on Stones Island on 8th, 22 Siskin at the Hopton end on 13th, 24 Linnet on 27th and the first Lesser Redpoll of the autumn over Stones Island on 30th. A Yellowhammer flying over Stones Island on 26th was the first of the year.

115 species this month compared with 117 in 2017, 112 in 2016, 104 in 2015, 107 in 2014 and 109 in 2013.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Knot, Sanderling, Ruff, Turnstone, Barn Owl, Green Woodpecker, Tree Pipit and Crossbill. 

A good month no doubt helped by large areas of shoreline as water levels continue to fall. Water bird maximums come from the WeBS count on 11th unless stated: 20 Little Grebe on 18th, 39 Great Crested Grebe, 84 Cormorant on 27th, 6 Little Egret on 28th and 29th, 7 Grey Heron, 47 Mute Swan on 4th, a Pink-footed Goose on several dates, 16 Greylag Geese on 29th, 931 Canada Geese on 24th, a single Barnacle Goose regularly from 2nd, 8 Shelduck on 30th, a Wigeon on 23rd, 27 Gadwall on 29th, 239 Teal on 30th, 282 Mallard, 11 Shoveler on 23rd, 2 Red-crested Pochard all month, 7 Pochard on 27th, 456 Tufted Duck, a Common Scoter on 6th and 11th, 16 Goosander on 10th, 11 Moorhen and 563 Coot. A Ruddy Shelduck from 22nd to 29th is considered category E, introduced or escape in Britain.

Raptor highlights included a juvenile Marsh Harrier on 4th, 2 Sparrowhawk on 8th and 29th, 8 Buzzard on 31st, Osprey on 28th and 31st, 2 Kestrel on 31st, Hobby on 3 dates at the end of the month and 2 Peregrine on 4th.

Seventeen species of wader is an excellent total for an inland body of water and the highlights were: Oystercatcher on several dates, 5 Little Ringed Plover on 2nd and 9th, 17 Ringed Plover on 29th, 120 Lapwing on 3rd, 2 juvenile Knot on 27th and 28th, a Sanderling on 14th, 7 Dunlin on 11th, a Ruff on 25th, 3 Snipe on 8th and 28th, 3 Black-tailed Godwit on 7th, Whimbrel on 3 dates, Curlew on 28th and 30th, 3 Redshank on 17th, 2 Greenshank on 26th, Green Sandpiper on 5 dates, 8 Common Sandpiper on 2nd and 2 Turnstone on 4th.

Gulls this month included 280 Black-headed Gull on 30th, an adult Common Gull on 12th, 1600 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 30th, 2 Caspian Gull types on 3rd, 4 Yellow-legged Gull on 3rd and 14th and 2 Great Black-backed Gull on several dates. There were several reports of 2 Common Tern through the month.

A Barn Owl was seen at Millfields late on 7th and a Tawny Owl was disturbed in the same area on 22nd. The last Swift of the month went through on 23rd; a Kingfisher was in Tail Bay on 27th and a site scarce Green Woodpecker was at Millfields on 9th. Hirundine maximums were 10+ Sand Martin on 10th, 200 Swallow on 26th and 200 House Martin on 4th. A Tree Pipit flew over calling on 11th; Wagtail counts included 7 Yellow on 25th, 5+ Grey on 30th and 65 Pied on the same date. Other notable records were 3 Redstart on 23rd, 2 Wheatear on 23rd, 8 Mistle Thrush on 22nd, 7 Sedge Warbler on 9th, 9 Reed Warbler on 11th, 6 Lesser Whitethroat on 31st, 6 Whitethroat on 9th, 4 Garden Warbler on 9th, 8 Blackcap on 27th, 10 Chiffchaff on 28th and 3 Willow Warbler on 29th. Spotted Flycatcher were noted on 3 dates, 13 Raven flew over on 10th, 30 Tree Sparrow were at the Wildlife Centre on 28th, 130 Goldfinch in 2 flocks were counted on 30th and 2 Crossbill were seen on 4th and 11th.

113 species this month compared with 114 in 2017, 106 in 2016, 106 in 2015, 108 in 2014 and 109 in 2013.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


Highlights: Common Scoter, Red Kite, Avocet, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Caspian Gull, Sandwich Tern and Crossbill.

A very hot and dry month produced a record July total of 107 species. Breeding success was mixed but Great Crested Grebe in particular took a liking to conditions with at least 11 broods. Water bird maximum counts are from the WeBS survey on 14th unless stated: 9 Little Grebe on 4th, 33 Great Crested Grebe, 33 Cormorant on 14th and 21st, 4 Little Egret on 20th, 6 Grey Heron regularly, 46 Mute Swan on several occasions, 60 Greylag Geese on 12th, 524 Canada Geese on 4th, a single Barnacle Goose last seen on 19th, a Shelduck on 2 dates, 6 Wigeon on 22nd, 4 Gadwall on 26th, 16 Teal by the month-end, 160 Mallard, 2 Shoveler on 20th and 31st, 8 Pochard on 27th, 227 Tufted Duck, 7 Common Scoter on 13th, 9 Goosander on 30th, 7 Moorhen on 27th and 345 Coot.

Bird of prey records included a Red Kite on 2nd, 2 Sparrowhawk on 22nd, 5 Buzzard on two occasions, 2 Kestrel on 31st and Peregrine on 22nd and 31st.

Sixteen species of wader is an excellent haul for July and the highlights are: 3 Oystercatcher regularly, an Avocet on 14th, 10 Little Ringed Plover on 30th, a Ringed Plover on 19th and 28th, 122 Lapwing on 23rd, a Dunlin on two dates, a moulting male Ruff on 11th, a single Snipe from 10th, 2 Black-tailed Godwit on 17th and 31st, Whimbrel on 25th and 27th, 8 Curlew on 15th, 5 Redshank on 19th, a Green Sandpiper on 27th, a Wood Sandpiper on 31st was the first since 2007, at least 15 Common Sandpiper on 30th and a Turnstone flew through on 31st.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Sailing Club on 25th, 2 Common Gull were noted on 22nd, 1,340 Lesser Black-backed Gull came in to roost on 31st and an adult Caspian Gull from 25th was joined by a sub adult on 30th and 31st. The immature Yellow-legged Gull continued its stay all month and 2 Great Black-backed Gull were seen on several occasions. A Sandwich Tern was a good find on 22nd and there were 4 Common Tern on 20th.

Swift were moving by the month-end with 25 noted on 31st and there were 2 records of Kingfisher. Hirundine records of note were 6 Sand Martin on 20th and 31st, 40 Swallow on two occasions and 15 House Martin, considered to be the birds from Hopton village, at the north end on 5th. Signs of autumn included the first returning Meadow Pipit on 14th and 2 Yellow Wagtail on 20th and 26th. A group of 8 Grey Wagtail at Millfields on 12th were thought to be 2 adults with first and second brood young and 37 Pied Wagtail were counted on the dam on 14th, although there were many young around Stones Island as the month ended. A pair of Redstart was feeding 2 young on 21st and 12 Blackbird were noted feeding at the waters edge on 26th obviously in an attempt to find some moist ground. At least 2 families of Sedge warbler were on Stones Island all month and 2 pairs of Reed Warbler bred in Brown Ale Bay (as well as other locations). Other counts were 3 Lesser Whitethroat on 23rd at least 10 Whitethroat on 26th, 5 Garden Warbler on 27th, 5 Blackcap on 20th, more than 10 Chiffchaff on 31st and 2 singing Willow Warbler on 31st. The only Spotted Flycatcher this month was at Penn Carr on 25th. A group of 16 Raven flew over on 27th, 18 Tree Sparrow were at the Wildlife Centre on 31st, 45 Linnet were between the Hopton end and Lane End on 14th and another record of Crossbill concerned 8 over Blackwall plantation on 14th.

107 species recorded compared with 105 in 2017, 100 in 2016, 99 in 2015, 102 in 2014 and 92 in 2013.


Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk  Clive Ashton: clive@ashton7906.freeserve.co.uk


Highlights: Common Scoter, Red Kite, Hobby, Sanderling, Turnstone, Kittiwake and Crossbill.

A hot and dry month showing worrying signs of failed breeding for island breeding birds in particular. Water bird maximum counts are from the WeBS survey on 17th unless stated and brood numbers to date are shown in brackets: 5 Little Grebe on 27th, 29 Great Crested Grebe (8), 23 Cormorant on 29th, 8 Grey Heron on 29th, 26 Mute Swan on 30th (1), a Pink-footed Goose on 1st, 64 Greylag Geese on 23rd (5), 519 Canada Geese on 23rd (numerous), 4 Barnacle Geese from 5th to 10th (1), 7 Gadwall on 17th and 25th, 2 drake Teal from 21st, 63 Mallard (17), a pair of Pochard on 30th, 87 Tufted duck (3), 7 drake Common Scoter on 25th, 2 Moorhen on 10th and 23rd (1) and 133 Coot (4).

Raptor records were few and far between but included Red Kite on 2nd and 17th, 5 Buzzard on 21st, Hobby on 2nd and 30th as well as the usual reports of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

Maximum wader counts were: 10 Oystercatcher on 14th, 6 Little Ringed Plover on 17th, 2 Ringed Plover on 7th and 23rd, 15 Lapwing on 25th, a Sanderling on 2nd, a Dunlin on 3rd to 19th, single Curlew on 10th and 22nd, 8 Redshank on 17th and 18th, 3 Common Sandpiper on 23rd and a Turnstone from 1st to 3rd.

The only successful Black-headed Gull breeding was at the Wildlife Centre and just 12 juveniles were counted on 25th, a poor return indeed for the several hundred pairs which had started the breeding season. Other Gull records included 5 Lesser Black-backed on 9th a Herring on 25th an immature Yellow-legged all month and 2 Great Black-backed on 29th. An adult Kittiwake, which flew Southwest on 30th, was a surprise given the time of year and there were 2 Common Tern on 1st.

Swifts were on the move on 30th with 137 counted flying through into a gentle north-easterly breeze. There was no sign of any breeding hirundines with both Swallow and House Martin sadly absent from their usual areas, but on a more positive note 2 fledged Redstart were in Shiningford creek on 8th. At least 3 Sedge Warbler were on Stones Island and Sailing Club Island on 23rd and a juvenile was seen on 27th, Reed Warbler continued to sing from several locations and 6 were noted on 17th. Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were all seen feeding young by the month-end and fledged Goldcrest were in Brown Ale Bay on 23rd. An adult Spotted Flycatcher was seen entering a nest box on 18th and there were many examples of successful breeding for all our resident Tit species. Other counts of note were 3 Jay on 17th and 22nd, 4 Raven on 23rd, 50+ House Sparrow, including juveniles, on 19th and 11 Tree Sparrow, again mainly juveniles, on 29th. A single Siskin flew over on 29th and a pair of Linnet was around Stones Island more much of the month. Another good record was of 6 Crossbill flying over Millfields on 10th, all considered to be females or immature birds.

91 Species this June compared with 97 in 2017, 94 in 2016, 90 in 2015, 99 in 2014 and 87 in 2013.


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Sanderling, Greenshank, Turnstone, Little Gull, Caspian Gull, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Whinchat and Crossbill.

The summer plumage Great Northern Diver lingered a little longer this year and was last seen on 13th. Water bird maximums come from the WeBS survey on 21st unless stated: 4 Little Grebe, 45 Great Crested Grebe on 3rd, 21 Cormorant on 31st, a Little Egret on 12th, 3 Grey Heron on 18th, 11 Mute Swan on 4th, 28 Greylag Geese on 23rd, 71 Canada Geese, 8 Barnacle Geese on 12th, 2 Shelduck on 7th, 2 Mandarin on 2nd, 14 Gadwall, 52 Mallard, a pair of Shoveler on 25th, a drake Red-crested Pochard on 3 dates, a Pochard on 13th, 95 Tufted Duck, a Common Scoter from 3rd to 10th, a Goosander on 17th, 3 Moorhen and 61 Coot. The only broods of young for these species were 1 of Great Crested Grebe, 4 of Greylag Goose, at least 6 of Canada Goose and 8 of Mallard.

Raptor highlights included 3 records of Red Kite, a Marsh Harrier on 9th, 2 Sparrowhawk on several occasions including a pair taking a Song Thrush on 4th, 8 Buzzard on 10th, regular reports of 2 Kestrel and a single male Peregrine on 13th.

Despite the high-water level 14 species of wader put in an appearance, although many flew straight through. Maximum counts were: 12 Oystercatcher on 3rd, 7 Little Ringed Plover on 3rd, 15 Ringed Plover on 27th, 8 Lapwing on 18th, single Sanderling on 26th and 27th, 2 Dunlin on 2nd and 10th, a late Snipe on 3rd, 2 Whimbrel on 10th and 27th, a Curlew on 30th, 8 Redshank on 18th, Greenshank on 2nd and 12th, a Green Sandpiper on 11th, 3 Common Sandpiper on several occasions and 4 Turnstone on 22nd and 23rd.

Notable Gull records included 2 Little Gull on 2nd, 400 Black-headed Gull around Sailing Club Island (but once again all nests there were abandoned by the month’s end, breeding was successful however at the Wildlife Centre), 2 Common Gull on 3rd, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gull through on 24th, a Herring Gull on 24th, a first summer Caspian Gull on 16th, an immature Yellow-legged Gull all month and 9 Great Black-backed Gull on 15th. One of the highlights of the month came on the wet morning of 2nd when 10 Common Tern and a massive 240 Arctic Tern moved through and 6 Black Tern were recorded on 24th.

A fledged Tawny Owl was seen on 26th, 70 Swift on 11th and 30th, 80 Sand Martin on 16th and 100 House Martin on 25th and 30th. The last passage Yellow Wagtail went through on 5th and a pair of Grey Wagtail was feeding young by the month’s end. Two observers covered the whole site on 22nd and recorded 53 Wren, 15 Dunnock, 38 Robin, 91 Blackbird and 7 Song Thrush. Two Redstart were singing on 18th and a female Whinchat was found on the east side on 4th.

Three Sedge Warbler were singing on 6th and 5 Reed Warbler, at the Hopton end all month, were joined by a further 5 at other locations on 31st suggesting an influx overnight. Other counts on 22nd were 8 Whitethroat, 10 Garden Warbler, 54 Blackcap, 31 Chiffchaff and 17 Willow Warbler. A Spotted Flycatcher on 4th became our earliest arrival date for this species, a Willow Tit pair was feeding young on Stones Island and a Nuthatch was carrying food on 28th. Promisingly several Tree Sparrow nests were located and a pair with food was noted in the Millfields area. A Crossbill flew over Millfields on 31st, 11 Bullfinch were counted on 22nd and there were 2 active Reed Bunting nests on Stones Island.

109 Species this month compared with 114 in 2017, 112 in 2016, 107 in 2015 and 105 in 2014.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk Clive Ashton: clive@ashton7906.freeserve.co.uk


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Common Scoter, Red Kite, Osprey, Avocet, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Tern, Barn Owl and Pied Flycatcher.

A mainly cold month, with just one really warm spell, meant that most spring migrants were late to arrive but they trickled in eventually. The Great Northern Diver was near to full summer plumage at the month end and it was seen flying occasionally in preparation for its journey north to breeding grounds. Water bird maximums and highlights this month were: 8 Little Grebe on 15th, 32 Great Crested Grebe on 15th, a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe on 5th, 17 Cormorant on 12th, 3 Grey Heron on 7th, 12 Mute Swan on 15th, 18 Greylag Geese on 12th and 23rd, 110 Canada Geese on 15th, 26 Barnacle Geese on 24th, 2 Shelduck on 9th and 20th, 5 Mandarin on 11th, 6 Wigeon on 14th, 11 Gadwall on 16th, 12 Teal on 16th, 59 Mallard on 15th, 2 Shoveler on 3 dates, 5 Pochard on 5th, 96 Tufted Duck on 15th, a drake Scaup from 1st to 13th, 13 Common Scoter on 14th, 8 Goldeneye on 9th and 14th, 5 Goosander on 3rd, 2 Moorhen and 53 Coot both on 15th.

Raptor records included Red Kite on 14th, 18th and 22nd, 3 Sparrowhawk on 19th, 10 Buzzard on 23rd, Osprey on 3rd, 4th and 8th, a pair of Kestrel all month and 2 Peregrine on 3 occasions.

Wader maximums were 11 Oystercatcher on 15th, a single Avocet on 7th, 5 Little Ringed Plover on 19th and 30th, 4 Ringed Plover on 20th, 6 Lapwing on 19th, 10 Dunlin on 25th, 7 Ruff on 1st, 11 Snipe on 11th, a single Bar-tailed Godwit from 16th to 19th, 2 Whimbrel on 17th and 20th, 18 Curlew at dawn on 7th, 9 Redshank on 15th and 3 Common Sandpiper on 20th, 24th and 30th.

A sub adult Mediterranean Gull was at Millfields on 12th and 7 Little Gull flew through on 15th. The Black-headed Gull colony on Millfields Island numbered 400 on 16th but all had abandoned by 24th and Rangers are investigating, with the probable cause being mammalian presence on the Island (many of these breeding birds relocated to Sailing club and Horseshoe Islands). Other Gull counts were: 66 Common on 1st, 20 Herring on 3rd, 2 Yellow-legged on 12th, 39 Great Black-backed on 5th and 4 Kittiwake on 8th. At least 2 Sandwich Tern flew through on 19th followed by another 3 the following morning, 2 Common Tern were present on 25th and a probable total of 30 Arctic Tern passed through on 28th.

Following last month’s Barn Owl records sadly one was found dead near the Wildlife Centre on 5th, but others were seen on 7th and 11th. Two Swift arrived on 21st, there were 100 Sand Martin by 25th, and the first Swallow and House Martin both arrived on 3rd. Other migrant records were 4 Yellow Wagtail on 29th, 6 White Wagtail on 14th, 5 Redstart on 24th and just 5 Wheatear all month follows the national pattern of late arrival for this species. The last records of winter Thrushes were 8 Fieldfare on 17th and 2 Redwing on 15th. Sedge Warbler arrived on 21st, Reed Warbler on 24th, Lesser Whitethroat on 19th, Whitethroat on 21st, Garden Warbler on 22nd and Blackcap on 6th. A site count on 24th produced 70 Blackcap, 52 Chiffchaff and 32 Willow Warbler. A male Pied Flycatcher was a good find on 16th and is the earliest ever record for Carsington. Other notable counts were 8 Willow Tit on 24th, 7 singing Treecreeper on 21st, 23 Tree Sparrow on 9th and 23rd and 16 Linnet on 7th.

117 species were recorded compared with 124 in 2017, 119 in 2016, 117 in 2015, 119 in 2014 and 114 in 2013.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk Clive Ashton: clive@ashton7906.freeserve.co.uk


Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Whooper Swan, Scaup, Merlin, Avocet, Jack Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Gull, Kittiwake, Barn Owl, Rock Pipit, and Stonechat.

A cold month with snow and ice a regular feature, so not surprisingly spring migrants were slow to arrive. The Great Northern Diver continued to attract admirers all month and other water bird maximums are from the WeBS survey on 25th unless stated: 13 Little Grebe, 34 Great Crested Grebe, 25 Cormorant on 11th, 5 Grey Heron on 28th, 6 Mute Swan on 21st and 30th, a herd of 59 Whooper Swan from 3rd to 5th, 21 Greylag Geese on 25th, 88 Canada Geese, 28 Barnacle Geese on 9th and 16th, a single Shelduck on 5 dates, 5 Mandarin on 29th, 23 Wigeon, 24 Gadwall on 6th, 32 Teal, 44 Mallard, 4 Pintail on 3rd to 5th, 2 Shoveler on 3 dates, 4 Pochard, 70 Tufted Duck, a drake Scaup all month from 3rd, 16 Goldeneye on 29th, 3 Goosander on 6th, 4 Moorhen and 108 Coot.

Bird of prey highlights were 2 Sparrowhawk on several dates, 20 Buzzard on 25th, 3 Kestrel on 25th and 29th, 2 Merlin together on 26th and 2 Peregrine on 25th.

A nice range of waders included 16 Oystercatcher on 25th, a lone Avocet on 30th (which is the 4th year in a row for this species), the first Little Ringed Plover of the year on 26th, 8 Golden Plover on 5th, 130 Lapwing on 5th, a single Dunlin on several dates, 7 Ruff on 28th, a Jack Snipe on 9th, 21 Common Snipe on 13th, Woodcock on 6th and 22nd, single Bar-tailed Godwit on 6th, 16th and 19th, 55 roosting Curlew at dusk on 19th and 11 Redshank on 25th.

Gulls were well represented with an adult Little Gull on 5th, 4,500 roosting Black-headed Gull on 6th (and 540 potential breeding birds around Millfields Island on 28th), 1,300 Common Gull on 6th, 160 Lesser Black-backed Gull on 6th, 6 Herring Gull on 26th and 28th, 2 Yellow-legged Gull on 3rd and 15th, 5 Great Black-backed Gull on 28th and an adult Kittiwake also on 28th.

Four Stock Dove were feeding below Sheepwash car park feeders during a period of lying snow on 19th and 2, now site scarce, Collared Dove were noted on 14th and two other dates. A Barn Owl was a good find on 20th and it was seen again on 25th and 28th, 2 Tawny Owl were on the east side on 29th, there were 2 reports of Kingfisher midmonth and a site record 73 Skylark flew north during the morning of 5th. The first Sand Martin arrived on 28th, 56 Meadow Pipit trickled through north on 26th and a single Rock Pipit flew over on 11th. A female Stonechat was in Millfields car park on 6th but could not be re-found subsequently. Two observers covered the whole site on 29th and recorded the following counts: 24 Wren, 21 Dunnock, 52 Robin, 57 Blackbird, 7 Mistle Thrush, 14 Chiffchaff (first arrival 11th), 11 Willow Tit, 10 Nuthatch and 8 Treecreeper. A flock of 400 Jackdaw flew to a roost site at dusk on 6th, 27 Carrion Crow were near the main car park on 11th, 6 Raven were seen on 14th and 400 Starling flew northeast on 14th. Other counts included 24 Tree Sparrow on 26th, 18 Chaffinch on 29th, 3 Siskin on 29th, 4 Linnet on 21st, 7 Lesser Redpoll on 13th and 29th and 18 Bullfinch also on 29th.

102 species this March compared with 110 in 2017, 108 in 2016, 103 in 2015, 95 in 2014 and 96 in 2013.

Recorders Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.com Clive Ashton cliveashton@btinternet.com


February Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Whooper Swan, Ruff, Jack Snipe and Kittiwake.

The month ended with freezing temperatures and heavy snow which limited observer hours, so 86 species is a little lower than normal. The Great Northern Diver continued its stay to the month end and will not be leaving soon as it was noted to have moulted many of its flight feathers. Other water bird maximum counts come from the WeBS survey on 22nd unless stated: 16 Little Grebe, 38 Great Crested Grebe, 28 Cormorant on 21st, single Grey Heron on several dates, 3 Mute Swan, 7 Whooper Swan, 60+ Pink-footed Geese on 5th, 8 Greylag Geese on 19th, 118 Canada Geese, 28 Barnacle Geese, a Shelduck on 20th, 42 Wigeon on 1st, 10 Gadwall on 21st, 190 Teal, 123 Mallard, 3 Pochard, 74 Tufted Duck, 14 Goldeneye, 3 Goosander, 6 Moorhen and 147 Coot.

Raptor records were few but included 2 Sparrowhawk displaying on 21st, 6 Buzzard on 19th and 21st, 3 Kestrel on 23rd and Peregrine on 1st and 24th.

Oystercatchers were back in good numbers with 10 on 22nd and 27th including the barcode ringed male returning for his 13th breeding season (and interestingly he appears to be paired with another colour ringed bird from Dawlish Warren). Other waders were 2 Ringed Plover on 4th, 600 Lapwing on 19th, a Dunlin on 21st and 22nd, the 5 wintering Ruff to 24th at least, 2 Jack Snipe on 16th, 19 Common Snipe on 21st, 4 Woodcock on 24th, 4 Curlew on 10th and 14th and 7 Redshank on 15th.

Gull highlights were 2 Herring Gull on 19th and 20th, a Yellow-legged Gull on 23rd, 4 Great Black-backed Gull on 20th and an adult Kittiwake on 11th.

A crash in Collared Dove numbers is emerging and there were just 2 records of single birds this month. Three Tawny Owl were calling on 18th and 24th and Kingfisher was reported on 3 dates. Other maximum counts included 3 Skylark on 21st, 25 Meadow Pipit on 6th, 4 Grey Wagtail on 16th, 16 Dunnock on 15th, 15 Redwing on 19th, 7 Mistle Thrush on 23rd, 5 Willow Tit on 19th, 6 Nuthatch on 19th, 2 Jay on 15th, 7 Magpie on 15th, 4 Raven on 21st, 60 Starling on 21st and 25th, 21 Tree Sparrow on 12th, 10 Chaffinch on 6th, 2 Brambling on 19th, 20 Siskin on 22nd and 4 Reed Bunting on 21st.

86 species this month compared with 90 in 2017, 87 in 2016, 86 in 2015, 81 in 2014, 90 in 2013 and 91 in 2012

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com


January Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Whooper Swan, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Kittiwake and Hawfinch

Considering fewer observer hours this month 96 species is the best count for some years. The adult Great Northern Diver continued its stay and was often seen either from Stones Island or Millfields. Two unidentified Divers flew south over the visitor centre on 7th and were thought not to be Great Northern. Waterbird maximums come from the WeBS count on 14th unless stated: 30 Little Grebe, 49 Great Crested Grebe, 23 Cormorant on 13th & 14th, a Little Egret on 24th, 2 Grey Heron on 11th & 14th, 7 Mute Swan on 10th, 12 Whooper Swan on 27th, Pink-footed Geese movement includes 3 skeins totalling 360 on 6th, 280 in 2 skeins on 7th and 420 in 2 skeins on 8th, 2 Greylag Geese on 3rd & 11th, 220 Canada Geese on 8th, 30 Barnacle Geese on 30th, 2 Shelduck on 30th, 62 Wigeon, 15 Gadwall, 243 Teal, 173 Mallard, female Pintail on 2nd and a male on 14th, 3 Shoveler on 10th, 13 Pochard, 117 Tufted Duck, 14 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers on 25th, 10 Goosander on 27th, single Water Rail seen in Hopton reedbed on several dates and in the channel left of Paul Stanley hide on 20th, 8 Moorhen and 624 Coot.

A fairly quiet month raptor wise though 2 Sparrowhawks were seen on 7th & 11th, 8 Buzzard on 8th, 2 Kestrels on several dates, 6 sightings of Peregrine including a female and immature male.

The first returning Oystercatcher was 2 birds on 26th rising to 3 on 30tht, a single Golden Plover flew over on 6th followed by another on 18th, 900 Lapwing on 11th, 3 Dunlin on 30th, up to 5 Ruff all month, 4 Jack Snipe on 4th, 25 Snipe on 12th, 3 Woodcock on 2nd and 14th, a Black-tailed Godwit on 11th and 6 Redshank on 2nd and 25th.

Some impressive counts of Gulls this month. c6000 Black-headed Gulls on 14th, 1700 Common Gulls on 13th, 250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on 13th, 18 Herring Gull on 13th, numerous Yellow-legged Gull records including 2 on 2nd, 12 adult Great Black-backed Gull on 6th and an adult Kittiwake on 24th.

Several Stock Dove records this month including 8 on 7th. A Barn Owl was seen over the dam wall early morning on 20th and again the following day. Four Tawny Owls were heard calling at Hopton on 13th, single Kingfisher records on 6 dates mostly at Paul Stanley but also Hopton. Great Spotted Woodpecker heard drumming on 19th. Two Skylark over on 25th and 18 Meadow Pipit on 18th. 2 Grey Wagtail on 7th. A Female Stonechat present in front of Paul Stanley hide most of the month. Forty Fieldfare on 19th, 180 Redwing on 2nd and 4 Mistle Thrush on 11th. A huge count of 16 Willow Tits on 11th was encouraging considering their national decline. Another huge count and also on 11th was a site record 17 Raven. Fifteen of these were flying SW together over the dam wall whilst what is thought to be a local pair briefly joined them. 80 Starling flew through on 7th. 18 Tree Sparrows at the Wildlife Centre feeders on 15th. 80 Siskin on 3rd, 4 Linnet on 3rd, 2 Lesser Redpoll on 19th, 15 Bullfinch on 18th, single Hawfinch at Millfields on 11th and 19th and 3 Reed Buntings on 2nd.

96 species this month compared with 91 in 2017, 91 in 2016, 81 in 2015, 82 in 2014, 89 in 2013 and 92 in 2012

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com



Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Jack Snipe, Stonechat and Hawfinch.

 The adult Great Northern Diver, from November, remained all month as expected and other water bird maximum counts come from the WeBS survey on 16th unless indicated: 20 Little Grebe, 37 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 21 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret on 2nd, 2 Grey Heron on 1st, 44 Mute Swan on 1st, 80 Pink-footed Geese flew west on 2nd, 21 Greylag Geese on 2nd, 200 Canada Geese on 2nd and 14th, 27 Barnacle Geese on 24th, a Shelduck on 24th, 66 Wigeon, 17 Gadwall, 424 Teal, 198 Mallard, 4 Pintail on 23rd, 9 Shoveler on 2nd, 143 Pochard on 1st, 240 Tufted Duck, 13 Goldeneye, 10 Goosander on 13th, 2 Water Rail on 7th, 6 Moorhen and 948 Coot.

Nothing unusual to report in the raptor category but a healthy 6 Sparrowhawk on 5th, 7 Buzzard on 6th, 3 Kestrel on 6th and 2 Peregrine on 7th.

Waders noted this month were: 35 Golden Plover flying west on 22nd, 650 Lapwing on 12th and 15th, 4 Dunlin on 6th, 5 Ruff on many dates and possibly as many as 7 on 18th, a Jack Snipe at the Hopton end on 24th and another flushed on Stones Island on 30th, 25 Snipe on 3rd, 4 Woodcock on 21st and 8 Redshank on 8th and 9th.

Gull counts were: 6000 Black-headed at dawn on 25th, a massive 2000 Common was unsurprisingly a site record on 7th, 660 Lesser Black-backed on 5th, 24 Herring on 16th, 3 Yellow-legged on 7th and 2 Great Black-backed on several dates.

A count of 6 Stock Dove was made on 11th, 8 Tawny Owl were calling at dawn on 17th, occasional Kingfisher sightings were made, 6 Skylark flew over Millfields on 19th, 35 Meadow Pipit and 6 Grey wagtail were logged on 2nd. A Stonechat was at Paul Stanley hide on 15th and a female noted there on 31st was possibly the same bird. A walk between Millfields and Upperfields Farm produced a count of 40 Blackbird on 3rd, winter Thrushes were in evidence with 15 Fieldfare on 11th and 100 Redwing on 5th. Another walk on 2nd provided identical counts of 10 for both Nuthatch and Treecreeper, 40 Rook were around the dam wall on 7th and 5 Raven flew over on 31st. Continuing Tree Sparrow surveys produced a monthly maximum of 17 on 22nd, single Brambling were noted on 3 occasions, Siskin peaked at 60 on 21st, the Hawfinch phenomenon provided several records mainly of single birds with a maximum of 3 on 18th and 13 Bullfinch were seen on 23rd.

92 species recorded compared with 95 in 2016, 93 in 2015, 91 in 2014, 83 in 2013 and 85 in 2012.

Recorders: Dave Newcombe: danewcombe@hotmail.co.uk. Clive Ashton: cliveashton@btinternet.com

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