Work Party Dates:
August 9th – 6 pm
September 6th – 6pm
Updates made to 17th July.
Three photographs added on the 16th July 2017.
Additional record added for the 9th July.
7th July – updated.
3rd July – updated.
20th July 2017
Wet and cool (breath visible at 8 am), light north-westerly wind. Also, overnight rain.
Not surprisingly in the overcast conditions there were 35 to 40 Sand Martins and Swallows feeding over the pools whilst on Car Park Pool there were two adult Little Ringed Plovers best visible from River Hide. There were at least six Common Terns still on Car Park Pool, but there were very few Black-headed Gulls left on site.
Nine Lesser Black-backs flew over together, to the north-west, and there were ten Cormorants roosting on Railway Pool.
The causeway was again lively with at least two Cetti’s Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff and a number of Reed Warblers with Linnets present most of the time.
19th July 2017
Overcast and increasingly thundery clouds, north-westerly wind.
There were single Common Sandpipers on both Car Park Pool and Railway Pool today and two Little Egrets on Railway Pool. Sparrowhawk was seen in flight over Siden Hill Wood and a third Little Egret fed on the Reedbed Pool.
A number of Emerald Damselflies showed well around Dragonfly Pool and there was a Small Copper on the concrete road.
In the evening, other waders included a Ringed Plover and two Oystercatchers whilst ducks comprised four Teal, two Shoveler, seven Gadwall broods of 41 ducklings, 21 Tufted broods of 97 ducklings, six Little Grebes and three juveniles and two Great Crested Grebes.
18th July 2017
Hazy sun, light north, north-easterly wind.
The Old Road between the cottage and the car park was lively this morning with at least three Treecreepers present, including a recently fledged juvenile. There was also a male Greenfinch, two Whitethroats, Song Thrush and Blackcap whilst a Skylark was in song high to the east.
In the car park a Reed Warbler was sitting on top of the grey willow near the car park feeder where there is again plenty of activity.
Around the pools there was a lot of Common Tern activity with at least four fledged young and six adults, whilst another adult was brooding at least one chick. Waders comprised one Ringed Plover and three Common Sandpipers and, along the causeway, there were young Robins, together with adult Linnets, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Reed Warblers. Cetti’s uttered a brief burst of song from the Reedbed. Surprisingly there were no hirundines or Swifts on site at all.
In the evening, ten Gadwall broods and 20 Tufted broods were counted and there were two Little Egrets. The Common Tern count had increased to 13 adults with two juveniles and there were five Rooks on the flood plane.
17th July 2017
Warm and sunny, light northerly wind.
A ringing session in the back gate copse early this morning yielded 51 new birds and three re-traps and suggests that most of our resident breeders have moved on. The totals today were: Robin 4, Blackcap 25, Chiffchaff 9, Garden Warbler 2, Blue Tit 3, Reed Warbler 1, Blackbird 4, Wren 1, Great Tit 1, Bullfinch 1. The re-traps were all Blackbirds. All the birds were juvenile, except the re-traps and the Bullfinch.
Also seen in the area this morning or heard were Green Woodpecker, female Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Tawny Owl.
An Osprey flew over the pools at about 11.15 and drifted off west. On the pool margins there were two Common Sandpipers and three Little Egrets with a Kingfisher seen flying over Railway Pool. Three Swifts flew over and there were six Swallows and four Sand Martins feeding over the pools and possibly moved off south, thereafter.
The car park feeder was again lively with, amongst other birds, a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Greenfinches, plenty of Tits, a Starling, three Goldfinches, two Reed Buntings and two Linnets.
A Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker with butterflies including Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Small Copper were also seen.
A female Brown Argus was on the wing by the start to Car Park Hide this morning and possibly another one by the bench, by the back gate in the early afternoon.
Female Brown Argus – start of path to Car Park Hide 17th July 2017
Photograph by Jeff Rankin
16th July 2017
Overcast and showery, humid, west, south-westerly slowly clearing and sunny evening.
Two to three Cetti’s Warblers were calling in the North Causeway bay this morning with one of them uttering a brief snatch of song.
On the pool margins or in the water there were two Little Egrets, two Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover, nine Teal, at least 20 Tufted broods and eight Gadwall broods. The latter one of these comprised 12 almost fully fledged youngsters on Railway Pool and as I have remarked before, they seem to be better parents than Mallards with the young staying much closer to the female.
There was a Treecreeper calling on the central stream and at Patrick bridge at about 1.00pm a Hobby scattered the Swallows. There was also a singing Sedge Warbler along the river just north of Patrick bridge. Seven Swifts went over in small parties and within Siden Hill Wood (which was relatively quiet) there was a family party of Goldcrest and the odd snatch of song from a Blackcap.
By the Railway Car Park, Whitethroats were feeding young and on the flood plain there was a Greenfinch in song on the dead ash near the river bridge. There was at least one young Stock Dove amongst some adults on the flood plain and in the Old Road game crop there were at least four Banded Demoiselles.
At least eight Red Admirals were seen on a circuit from the south end of the Reserve up to Patrick bridge and back and there were probably more once the weather improved. Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were also noticeable.
On Saturday night and into Sunday morning, John Hunt and Glen Giles did some moth trapping in the back gate copse. The evening and night were warm with temperatures remaining at about 17° and at least 500 moths of 84 species were trapped. Only two traps were used so the catch was felt to be pretty good.
The pick of the bunch was a Least Carpet which is quite scarce this far west and north and is mostly a south-eastern occurring moth. Also worthy of mention were Bordered Beauty, Brown Tail and Ear Moth. A number of Mother of Pearl moths were also caught. This is a micro moth which was very much in evidence with a least 50 seen.
A moth which is also associated with Marsh Lane is Blue-bordered Carpet, of which at least 10 were photographed. The full list is as follows:
Small Fan-footed Wave
Common White Wave
Heart and Dart
Large Yellow Underwing
Lesser Yellow Underwing
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Least Yellow Underwing
Brown-line Bright Eye
Pale Mottled Willow
Marbled Minor agg.
Common Rustic agg.
A Tawny Owl was also heard around the back gate copse area.
Many thanks to John and Glen for the information.
Photographs by Dave Shakespeare – 16th July 2017
Dunnock by Oak Hide
Young Robin by Oak Hide
Goldfinch on car park feeders
15th July 2017
Overcast, morning showers, west, north-westerly.
The back gate copse and compound were surprisingly lively in the middle of the day with still at least two singing Chiffchaffs and the occasional snatch of song from a Blackcap. A Whitethroat was in song on the railway embankment with two further birds in the compounds where a Blackcap was inspecting the ripening buckthorn berries. Nuthatch and Treecreeper also called from there and there were two juvenile Bullfinches with adults.
Waders are still in short supply, other than a flock of 175 Lapwings and these were confined to just a single Little Ringed Plover and three Common Sandpipers. A Cetti’s Warbler was calling along the central streamline and there were up to 60 Sand Martins feeding over the pools, at any one time, with three Swifts over.
Other counts today were as follows: four Mute Swans and seven cygnets, 56 Greylag Geese, five Canada Geese, five Shoveler, six Teal, 47 Mallard, 48 Gadwall and seven broods comprising 37 ducklings, 20 Tufted and at least 18 broods comprising 83 ducklings, four Great Crested Grebes, seven Little Grebes (four adults and three juveniles) two Herons, a single Little Egret, 10 Cormorants, 13 Moorhens, 57 Coots, six adult Common Terns and at least one fledged juvenile, 25 adult and 18 juvenile Black-headed Gulls (this species is rapidly dropping off in numbers), four Lesser Black-backed Gulls (which continue to cruise, trying to pick off young ducks), a Water Rail from the north causeway bay and a pair of Greenfinches with a fledged juvenile on the car park feeders with a fourth bird along the Old Road.
In the early evening a Fox was seen carrying a dead Coot along the Causeway.
14th July 2017
Sunny intervals, breezy from the north-west.
Records today comprised both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers plus two Common Sandpipers, two Little Egrets, two Ravens, three Swifts and Oystercatchers coming and going.
13th July 2017
Warm, mostly bright but cloudy, light south-westerly wind.
Morning records were of a Kingfisher that flew from the stream by the Lorry Park over towards the Reserve and one White Letter Hairstreak on the Wych Elm between the Aeromodellers’ caravan and their pedestrian gate. This one was perched towards the top on the north side. For those wishing to look, please ask consent if there are people on site.
In the evening, there was a Ringed Plover and two Common Sandpipers on the pool margins, along with one Little Egret, five Oystercatchers, 60 juvenile Black-headed Gulls and 110 Lapwings. There were also 19 Common Terns, including three juveniles.
Over the pools there were 22 Sand Martins and a Swift. A Kestrel was hunting the crop field and a Water Rail showed from the north causeway screen.
12th July 2017
Sunny and warm with scattered clouds, less humid; light northerly breeze.
There were just three records, these being Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Little Egret. In addition, there were 6 Red Admirals around the reserve and a White Letter Hairstreak was again seen by the Wych Elm in the Aeromodellers’ field.
11th July 2017
Mainly overcast with showers, some heavy; cooler with light south – south westerly breeze.
10th July 2017
Largely sunny and bright with scattered clouds, humid and warm; light westerly / north-westerly breeze.
During the morning both Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper were noted on Car Park Pool, along with four Goosanders, the latter putting in an unseasonal appearance. Hirundine sightings were 20 Sand Martins and a group of 15 House Martins high over Siden Hill Wood, while, in terms of raptors, both Hobby and Buzzard were seen.
Other records from the pools included 11 Common Terns, two Oystercatchers, two Great Crested Grebes, up to four Little Egrets, three Teal and a single Lesser Black–backed Gull. Sedge Warbler was seen from River Hide and, in the Reed Bed, both Reed Bunting and Reed Warbler (three juveniles). As usual, there was a lot of activity around the Car Park feeders, mostly the regular species, but three male House Sparrows was an exceptional record with this species having declined to become only a scarce visitor to the Reserve in recent years.
9th July 2017
Sunny, warm and humid. Light north-westerly breeze.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the two very vocal juvenile Cetti’s Warblers found along the Causeway, suggesting a welcome return to breeding status on the Reserve for this species.
As noted on the 8th, there are multiple broods of both Gadwall and Tufted Duck on site, the former having at least eight broods split across the two main pools, whereas the Tufted Ducks, with 18 broods and including a large ‘creche’ of some 32 young, seem to favour Car Park Pool, 14 of the groups being there. Other records included four juvenile Common Terns plus a further four chicks, four Great Crested Grebes, one of these sitting on a nest on Railway Pool, 20+ Sand Martins, Common Sandpiper on Car Park Pool and Sparrowhawk over.
There was a Broad–bodied Chaser between Oak and Railway Hides and, finally, the rather unusual record of a Common Shrew seen crossing the Old Road.
Green Sandpiper on Dragonfly Pond early evening.
8th July 2017
Sunny, warm and humid. Light north-westerly breeze.
In terms of butterfly records, White Letter Hairstreak was again in evidence, this time four in a Wych Elm in the Aeromodellers’ field and there were also two Purple Hairstreak in the second oak along the Old Road. Marbled White was seen around Railway Hide and Emerald Damselfly at the Dragonfly Pond.
A combination of the regular weekly count and other records from the pools was as follows: four Mute Swans with seven cygnets, 12 Greylag Geese and four young, seven Canada Geese, four male Teal, a female Shoveler, 40 Mallard, 28 Gadwall with eight broods (48 Gadwall young plus three Tufted Ducklings), 27 Tufted Ducks and 17 broods (116 ducklings), three Pochard, three Great Crested Grebes, six Little Grebes with two juveniles and one chick, ten Cormorants, four Grey Herons, a Little Egret, nine Moorhen, 63 Coot, 96 Lapwing, three Oystercatchers with one juvenile, 15 Common Terns with four juveniles, 80 Black–headed Gulls and 192 young, Common Sandpiper and, finally, two Lesser Black–backed Gulls.
7th July 2017
Sunny, some cloud later in the day, warm, light westerly breeze.
There was just the one record in the logbook: two White Letter Hairstreaks were seen in the Ash tree to the right of the gate by the Aeromodellers’ field.
White Letter Hairstreak – 7th July 2017 – Photograph by John Hunt
6th July 2017
Sunny and very warm. Light westerly breeze.
The only records were of Common Sandpiper and two Little Ringed Plovers on Car Park Pool.
5th July 2017
Sunny and very warm. Light south-westerly breeze.
Records from the pools included the following:
Three Mute Swans with five cygnets, 18 Greylag Geese and 37 young, three Canada Geese plus four young, four Teal, a female Shoveler, 10 Gadwall broods (55 young), 15 Tufted Duck broods (98 young), three Mallard broods (including one of 12), two Great Crested Grebes, six Little Grebes, Common Sandpiper (Railway Pool), up to six Oystercatchers, Little Egret, twelve Common Terns with five chicks, 180 Black–headed Gull chicks and, finally, six Lesser Black–backed Gulls over.
A number of species were heard in song, these including Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. There was a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker on the Car Park feeders and a Green Woodpecker was heard. Raptors noted were two Buzzards over and a Hobby hawking around the Dragonfly Pond.
Dragonflies were much in evidence, with both Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker identified, and butterfly records were of Marbled White, Large White, Small White, Hedge Brown, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Finally, a Stoat was seen hunting along the Concrete Road.
4th July 2017
Sunny intervals, warm and dry, light south-westerly breeze.
Narrow-bordered five-spot Burnet – 4th July 2017 – Path to Railway Hide – Photograph by John Hunt
3rd July 2017
Sunny intervals, warm and dry, light south-westerly breeze.
As usual, there was a lot of activity around the Car Park Feeders and sightings there included Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Stock Dove.
Railway Hide records were Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Whitethroat, while there were two Little Egrets on Car Park Pool and Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Skylark along the Concrete Road.
There was a ringing session today with 41 birds of 13 species caught, along with three re-traps. The list is as follows:
Blackcap – 14
Wren – 1
Chiffchaff – 5
Robin – 3
Garden Warbler – 2
Great Tit – 3
Willow Warbler – 1
Dunnock – 2
Reed Warbler – 4
Blue Tit – 1
Song Thrush – 1
and the re-traps were Blackcaps and Blackbirds from last year.
All the birds were caught from the back gate with the exception of the Reed Warbler which were young ringed in the nest.
Song Thrush – 3rd July 2017 – Photograph by Ben Dolan (Breewood Ringers)
2nd July 2017
A slightly overcast start but then sunny and warm for the remainder of the day, light westerly breeze.
Raptors were again in evidence with a Hobby over the central stream, a male Kestrel seen with prey over the railway embankment and a Buzzard overhead.
Records from the pools included four Little Egrets, three of these being juveniles, Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper on Car Park Pool where there was also a flock of 142 Lapwings, and singles of Teal (m) and Shoveler (m). There were also four Great Crested Grebes across the Reserve, including one on a nest at the southern end of Railway Pool.
Other records were Treecreeper along the Old Road, five Rooks on the flood plain, four Green Woodpeckers – one from Railway Hide and three around the Dragonfly Pond. The sole butterfly record was of four Marbled Whites.
1st July 2017
Sunny intervals and warm after an overcast start, light westerly breeze.
A flock of around 50 Starlings, all adults, was seen around the west bank of Car Park Pool during the morning. A Ringed Plover was heard calling, but not seen, as it came into Railway Pool, a Yellow Wagtail flew over calling early afternoon and a Raven was also seen overhead. Raptor sightings included a Hobby and a family party of Kestrels which was seen over the Car Park heading west, this suggesting possible breeding success in the locality.
Additional records, both from the regular Saturday count and other observers, included: four Mute Swans with seven cygnets, 14 Greylag Geese and 31 young, three Canada Geese plus four young, two male Teal, a male Shoveler, 27 Mallard, 52 Gadwall with eight broods (two of which also contained young Tufted Ducks), 43 Tufted Ducks and seven broods, three Pochard (2m and 1f), three Great Crested Grebes, ten Little Grebes and two young, eight Cormorants, a single Grey Heron, 16 Moorhen, 75 Coot, 76 Lapwing, a single Little Ringed Plover, 100+ Sand Martins, 20 Swifts, four Oystercatchers with one juvenile, eight Common Terns with four chicks, 150 Black–headed Gulls and c250 chicks and, finally, six Lesser Black–backed Gulls.