2015 Report of Lagoons 5-8

2015 Bird Report for Fishponds/Wet Meadows/ Lagoons 5-8

Pintail photographed by Ian Jones

Pintail photographed by Ian Jones

January

Highlights were a male Stonechat on the wet meadows in the 3rd week and a male Smew on the fishponds in the 1st week. Wildfowl numbers were fairly low with Wigeon the best represented species on both the wet meadows and fishponds. Ten Curlew were on lagoon 8 in the 1st week and Goosander started favouring lagoons 7 and 8 with a maximum of 5 on lagoon 7 in the final week.

February

Wildfowl numbers were still low but the male Stonechat was joined by a female on the wet meadows for the first 2 weeks. Goosander were attracted to lagoon 7 with an impressive 8 (4 pairs) there in the 1st week and reduced numbers throughout the month. A single Water Rail was a rare sighting in the open on the wet meadows in the 3rd week. Oystercatchers arrived in the 3rd week with a pair on the wet meadows and singletons on lagoons 5 and 8. A flock of Curlews occupied the wet meadows all month with a maximum of 7 seen in the last week.

March

Highlights were a pair of Avocet and 7 Dunlin on lagoon 7 in the final week and a Green Sandpiper on 7 in the 3rd week. Ringed Plover arrived back in the 1st week with a single on lagoon 7 which soon became 2 pairs frequenting lagoons 5, 7 and 8 during the month. Wildfowl numbers were still disappointing with the exception of Wigeon which reached treble figures on the wet meadows in the 1st week and a handful of Pintail remained throughout the month. Single Redshanks were seen on lagoons 5 and 7 all month. Cormorant numbers built up all month on the fishponds but Sand Martins were later than usual with none seen until the 3rd week.

April

Highlights were the Greenland White fronted Goose, which has been around the reservoir all year, appearing on lagoon 5 in the 3rd week and lagoon 7 in the final week, and a limosa Black tailed Godwit on lagoon 7 in the final week. Overall though migrant numbers were very low reflecting the low temperatures and northerly winds that plagued us all month. The first juvenile Egyptian Geese were seen on lagoon 8 in the 2nd week and a pair of Pintail remained on the wet meadows all month. By the 3rd week Oystercatchers were sitting on nests on lagoons 5, 6 and 8 and by the following week there were 2 nests on lagoons 5 and 6. A pair of LRPs arrived on lagoon 5 in the 3rd week but there was no sign of nesting.

May

A single migrant Common Sandpiper was on lagoon 6 in the 1st week which was earlier than last year. Canada Geese were sitting on nests on lagoons 5, 6 and 8 in the 1st week. The first Greylag Geese juveniles were seen on the wet meadows in the 2nd week, then on lagoon 5 in the 3rd week and 17 on the wet meadows in the 4th week ! Great Crested Grebes were sitting on lagoons 5 and 6 in the 2nd week and Common Terns began sitting on lagoon 5 in the 2nd week but numbers soon built up to around 6 sitting. Oystercatchers hatched chicks on lagoon 6 on 21st May and on lagoon 8 around the same time, with another pair on lagoon 5 a week later. Coot and Lapwing were both seen with juveniles on the wet meadows in the 2nd week. A pair of Avocets finally arrived and stayed, building a nest on the wet meadows by Harrier hide in the last week of the month ! The pair of Pintail that had been present all spring on the wet meadows giving hope that they may breed finally departed in the last week with no evidence of breeding.

June

Highlights were a summer plumage Spotted Redshank on the wet meadows in the 2nd week and the pair of Avocets on wet meadows hatching 3 eggs in the 4th week. A Green Sandpiper was on lagoon 6 in the 1st week and a pair of Shelduck with 8 juveniles on wet meadows in the 2nd week. In the 3rd week an unusual sighting of 7 adult Pochards on lagoon 5, and 4 Little Grebes on lagoon 5 in the final week. Mute Swans had juveniles on lagoons 5, 6 and 8 from mid month and both Coot and Moorhen had several broods on the wet meadows.

July

Highlights were a juvenile Garganey on lagoon 6 in week 2 and the return of a Great White Egret to the fishponds in the final week. A pair of Redshank on lagoon 6 were seen with at least one juvenile in week 1 (although it was likely there were 2) and a Little Grebe was sitting on a nest on lagoon 5 in the same week. The Avocets occupied the wet meadows, with 3 juveniles, all month and a pair of Great Crested Grebes nested on lagoon 6 from week 2, plus a pair hatched 2 chicks on lagoon 5. A pair of Ringed Plovers had at least one juvenile on lagoon 7 from week 3 and a single Yellow Wagtail was briefly on 3 in the same week.

August

A quiet month as usual with the only highlight being the appearance of a Great White Egret on the wet meadows in week 3. In addition, migrant Green Sands were seen on the wet meadows in week 1 and 3, on lagoon 8 in week 3 and on lagoon 7 in the final week. Otherwise just 3 Snipe on the wet meadows in week 2 and a single Yellow Wagtail on 7 in week 3 plus the pair of Great Crested Grebes hatching 3 young on lagoon 6 were of interest. Unfortunately the pair of Little Grebes on lagoon 5 appeared to have abandoned their nest this year unlike last year ! NB The Avocets moved their 3 young onto lagoons 3/4 to feed early in the month where they stayed until departing early in August.

September

Migration was well in evidence as expected this month with a pair of Whinchats seen on the wet meadows for the first 2 weeks. In the 2nd week a juvenile Marsh Harrier paid a brief visit to the same area which was notable as they have been much rarer this year than last ! The Great White Egret also spent some time here during the same week. Curlews began appearing from week 2 with 7 on lagoon 5 and a single there in week 4. Other migrants included a Green Sand on lagoon 5 plus Greenshank and Ruff on lagoon 7, all in the 2nd week. Cormorant and Coot numbers built up on the fishponds all month and there were 27 Little Grebes there by month’s end.

October

Highlights were the return of a pair of Stonechats to the wet meadows and a pair of Great White Egrets there in the 1st week. The weather remained very mild so it was a surprise to see around 15 Pintail on the fishponds in the 1st week and lower numbers on lagoons 5 and 6 later in the month. Also odd was the appearance of 15 Barnacle Geese (presumably those that regularly attend the North Arm) on lagoon 7 in the 1st week. A pair of juvenile Kestrels were seen hunting over lagoon 5 in the same week and at least 3 juvenile Jays were flying over lagoon 8. The male Stonechat arrived on the wet meadows in the 1st week and was joined by the female in the 3rd. The sighting of 2 Meadow Pipits and 2 Skylarks over the wet meadows in weeks 3 and 4 respectively were notable given both species increasing rarity on the reserve. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard on the wet meadows for the 1st time in week 3. Wildfowl numbers were low overall but Wigeon did start arriving on lagoons 6, 7 and 8 and the fishponds from week 3, as did Tufted Duck on the fishponds in the final week.

November

Highlights were the first ever new lagoon sightings of Red crested Pochard in the 1st week and a Great White Egret again present on the wet meadows in the final week. Five Red – crested Pochard (4 drakes) were seen in the fog on lagoon 8 in the 1st week accompanied by 6 Curlew. The pair of Stonechats were on the wet meadows all month with at least one Curlew, and a pair of Little Grebes were on lagoon 5 in the 2nd week. Wigeon numbers built up well on lagoons 5, 7 and in the fishponds and there were good numbers of Coot in the fishponds in the 1st week.

December

Highlights were limited to the 1st ever Great White Egret on lagoon 8 in the final week and a Green Sandpiper on lagoon 7 in the same week. The pair of Stonechats remained on the wet meadows all month and Wigeon numbers built up well over the month. 3 Goosander appeared on the fishponds in the 2nd week (soon rising to 6 ) which was later than usual due to the mild weather but overall it was a very quiet month.