Thursday 31st August 2021

There had been an arrival of winter visitors with at least 10 newly arrived Wigeon in the Pullen and Mary Monts area and at least a dozen Snipe. Over on Gravelly there were far fewer passerine migrants compared to Sunday which was much warmer. There were also far fewer hirundines moving.  A Green Sandpiper remained on the Flight Pond.

No matter how cool it is bumblebees are always active, in fact they sometimes detach their wings so that they can use their flight muscles to warm themselves up. I’ve only seen one or two Common Carder Bees (Bombus pascuorum) in the last year but today there were four individuals on Bell Heather on Gravelly Marsh. Not surprisingly this was very close to where I saw the Field Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus campestris) a few weeks, the species that parasitise the nests of Common Carder Bee.

After drawing a relative blank at Gravelly and Great Marsh Ian and walked all of the way up Warren Lane past the Reedy Ditch looking for migrants but there was little moving. Finally we were rewarded when Ian picked out a Spotted Flycatcher in the very south eastern corner of Spring Meadow where it backs on to Lovell’s West and Warren Flash. It was joined by a second bird and a Redstart also appeared briefly. This was my first Spotted Flycatcher on the patch.

Spotted Flycatcher

I walked the boardwalk bridge four times today and each time a juvenile Whinchat was close by and if I gave it some space it always returned to land on the hand rail. On the final occasion I decided to crawl 100 yards to get as close as I could without disturbing it.


The juvenile Osprey appeared over Venner but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera. I later saw it again, very distantly, over the river. At Venner I spent some time helping Adam as he was clearing some reeds to improve the line of sight from the hide. A female type Marsh Harrier drifted over and Adam found what looked like the nest of a Harvest Mouse, the commonest small rodent on saltmarsh. 

Spotted Redshank

There were a few waders on De L’Orne Scape including 2 Spotted Redshank out in the open, three Ringed Plover and three Dunlin. Also the juvenile Knot was still around.


On Black Water there were three Pintail, newly arrived winter visitors and on the walk back there were 25 Black-tailed Godwit on De L’Orne flood of which 15 were juveniles. The Green Sandpiper picked its way along the edge of the wet mud.

Emperor photo by Ian Williamson

Migrant Hawkers are the most common dragonfly on the reserve at this time of the year but the occasional Emperor puts in an appearance and the deep red of the male Ruddy Darter is always nice to see.

Ruddy Darter photo by Ian Williamson

At the point near the Sailing Club there were at least four Wheatear making a total of 10 for the day.


Back at the car there was no sign of the Southern Migrant Hawker. A Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) was nectaring on a thistle near the Shore Hide. Compared to Heath Bumblebee, which I haven’t seen here yet, Garden Bumblebee has a long face and a long tongue as shown in the photo.

Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

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