A fine if chilly day on the reserve and it seemed lots of people were out looking for brambling, although there has been one seen at the Woodland Hide I think it will be a week or tow more before they are regular. Although they are “Winter” finches, they are actually most frequent at our feeders in early spring, so March is often the best month. I think the reason is that they tend to come to artificial feed once the natural food sources reduce. There are certainly more finches at the feeders now than before Christmas, with siskin now present most of the time, with the males singing whenever the sun comes out.
Greenfinch are now probably scarcer than siskin at garden feeders, a reflection of the fall in their numbers as well as an undoubted rise in siskin abundance.
One finch that rarely comes to garden feeders is the linnet, it is a bird of more open habitats, there is a good flock on the shore of Ibsley Water at present and I got a shot of part of the group today.
I took the shot above from Tern hide, by way of a farewell, the hide will be closed as of this evening and tomorrow we start to take it down in readiness for replacing it with a brand new hide. This will mean that part of the car park will be closed tomorrow, although the Centre car park should be back on stream, so overall there will still be plenty of parking.
Although everyone seemed to be looking for brambling, their resident close relative the chaffinch is a very fine bird which we perhaps disregard too easily, probably because it is so common.
Reports from around the reserve today included –
At Ivy North Hide: the bittern and great white egret, with supporting caste of water rail. At Woodland Hide: reed bunting and all the regulars. At Tern Hide: 3 Mediterranean gull, probably 2 Caspian gull and well over 100 common gull, as well as the linnet flock noted above.
As far as I know the yellow-browed warbler has not been certainly seen for a few days now, although I have heard rumours of sightings at various points between Ivy North hide and south of the boardwalk, so who knows?
If you do visit over the next few weeks there will be various works going on, I would ask that you take note of any signs and fences, these will be in place to keep you safe when there is machinery moving around and working. Apart from the Tern hide, which is being replaced, all the other hides remain open and there will always be parking available. The Centre and toilets should be available as usual.