Mid May 2022

20th May. The day started with two new Golden Orioles flying south down the East Dunes together. Both were probably first summer males - one actually sang briefly in flight. They continued south until lost to view and may have gone out over the Wash. 35 Little Terns were on the beach and fishing offshore.

Little Terns 20th May. Photo: Jim Shaw

19th May.  An adult male Golden Oriole arrived from the north, perched up briefly near Mill Hill and then continued south down the East Dunes early morning. It had moved to the Plantation by early afternoon where occasional song could be heard. A light Swallow passage was evident, with most moving south over the sea.  there were 2 Spotted Flycatchers in the east Dunes and another 3 in the Plantation. A Great White Egret in full breeding colours was on Tennyson's Sands and single Turtle Dove and Hobby were around.

A morning ringing session in East Dunes, with Keith Collett, provided 2 new birds: a Wren and a Meadow Pipit; and 4 retraps: a Chaffinch, 2 Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff.

Great White Egret 19th May. Photo: Paul Neale

Greenland Wheatear 19th May 2022. Photo: Paul Neale

Kestrel 19th May. Photo: Jim Shaw

Great Crested Grebes 19th May. Photo: Harry Fenwick

Painted Lady 19th May. Photo: Sam Wilson

Beautiful Golden Y, Buff Tip, Coxcomb Prominent.

Light Emerald, Scorched Carpet 19th May

Photos: Nige Lound

18th May. 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Red Kite flew south. Around were a Turtle Dove, 1050 Sanderling, a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper (Tennyson's), 11 Turnstone, a Spotted Redshank, 41 Little Tern, 2 Spoonbill, 2 Marsh Harrier, a Short-eared Owl, a Hobby, a Peregrine, a Redwing, a Wheatear and 6 Spotted Flycatchers. An influx of Painted Lady butterflies was apparent, with up too 50 mostly on the east Dunes and Outer Dunes.

 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 5 new birds: 2 Willow Warbler, a Linnet, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Goldfinch; and a retrap Lesser Whitethroat.

Left to right, Ringed Plover, Little Tern and Oystercatcher, key breeding species on the shore,
best viewed from Mill Hill this season, 18th May 2021.
Photo - Ben Ward

Spotted Flycatcher, ringed 18 May 2022.
Photo - George Gregory

Spotted Flycatcher 18th May. Photo: Kev Wilson

Marsh Harrier 18th May. Photo: Stuart Ainsworth

Thrift (Sea Pink) 18th May. Photo: Kev Wilson

Painted Lady 18th May. Photo: Ben Ward

Coronet, Pale Tussock, Gold Spot,
Large Elephant Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth. 18th May.
Photos: Nige Lound

17th May. An adult Purple Heron appeared from the west and flew out to sea at 0630, mostly silhouetted in strong sun. It returned after a short while, circling the north end of the Reserve before dropping into Shoveler's Pool.  It would be impossible to see the bird in the pool without flushing it so birders sensibly waited on Mill Hill and were able to get good views when it flew up into adjacent trees periodically.

The spring Sanderling build-up is now underway, with over 1000 birds coming to roost. Elsewhere, 9 Wheatear included 5 at the north end, a Firecrest was still at Sykes Farm and there was a light southerly passage of Hirundines.

A morning ringing session in East Dunes, with Kyle Campbell, yielded 2 new birds: a Lesser Whitethroat and a Chaffinch; and a retrap Blue Tit.

Purple Heron 17th May. Photos: Kev Wilson

Sanderling 17th May. Photo: Jim Shaw

Ringed Plover 17th May. Photo: Jim Shaw

Harbour Seal 17th May. Photo: Jim Shaw

Alder Moth 17th May. Photo: Nige Lound

Evening High Tide 17th May. Photo: Kev Wilson

Ringing Recovery: Chiffchaff, ringed GPBO 4 October 2020, found dead Longframlington, Northumberland 14 May 2022.

16th May. Overcast and humid start with rain mid morning, brightening significantly in the afternoon. Quality over quantity in terms of visible migration with light but continued hirundine passage with smaller numbers of Swift; a Wood Sandpiper and a Woodlark. A Firecrest and a Ring Ouzel were in the Plantation. The first Common Crane of the year was located on the mudflats in the afternoon, but soon vanished from sight to the dismay of those on site; a rare opportunity to see a settled bird here. A Short-eared Owl was very active late in the day around Wash Viewpoint.

A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided 5 new birds: a Chiffchaff, a Reed Bunting, a Whitethroat, a Great Tit and a Blue Tit; and a retrap Dunnock.

Black-headed Gull, Soldier Beetle Cantharis nigricans, Red and Black FroghopperNettle-tap Moth. 16th May. Photos: Tom Baker

15th May. Increasing easterly winds with rain in the morning and then set in from mid afternoon. A Broad-billed Sandpiper was discovered amongst a small group of Dunlin that had appeared approaching the peak of the evening tide. The flock was only present momentarily and quickly flew high and north erratically. Unusually the bird was an adult in winter plumage, not a well documented plumage in terms of vagrants in the UK. 

A Turtle Dove flew north at the south end and then out to the East Dunes in the morning. Around were a 1100 Knot, 475 Sanderling, 350 Dunlin, a Curlew Sandpiper (Jacksons Marsh), a Common Sandpiper, 2 Wood Sandpipera Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, a Mediterranean Gull, a Little Gull, 2 Spoonbill and 110 Swallow to roost. 

A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 5 new birds: a Wren, 2 Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler and a Ring Ouzel; and 3 retraps: a Sedge Warbler and 2 Whitethroat.

Broad-billed Sandpiper, 15th May 2022.
Photo's - Ben Ward

Female Ring Ouzel, ringed 15 May 2022.
Photo - George Gregory

Female Ring Ouzel, ringed 15 May 2022.
Photo - George Gregory

Great Crested Grebe, Cuckoo, Whitethroat 15th May. Photos: Tom Baker

14th May. The classic date for Golden Oriole did not disappoint. At 0700, an adult male was in song at the south end of the East Dunes, whilst an immature male was in song in the North Building Ridge area. The adult male departed quickly to the south and was lost high out to sea whilst the immature male flew south, over Mill Hill and landed in a very large clump of mature hawthorns, where it sang occasionally until mid-morning but was not seen; and a bird was heard in the Plantation in the evening. Just light swallow passage this morning, but nonetheless involving another Red-rumped Swallow (the 7th of Spring) south down Rock Ridge, circling a couple of times before departing over the River. Elsewhere, up to 21 Jay down the East Dunes, a Ring Ouzel there, a Raven south of the Reserve and a Pied Flycatcher along Sykes Farm track. Two ringtail Harriers were circling together distantly and headed west over Croftmarsh. Another massive species day on the reserve, around were 3 Cuckoo, the first Curlew Sandpiper of the year (Jacksons Marsh), a Little Stint, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, a Little Gull, a Mediterranean Gull, 31 Little Tern, 5 Spoonbill, a Short-eared Owl, a Merlin, 2 Wheatear (1 Greenland race), a Redstart, a Tree Pipit, a Brambling, a Siskin and a Corn Bunting.

A morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in 6 new birds: a Willow Warbler, a Wren, a Whitethroat, a Reed Bunting, a Dunnock and a Woodpigeon; and 2 retraps: a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting.

Red-rumped Swallow 14th May. Photos: Paul Neale

Sparrowhawk 14th May. Photos: Paul Neale

Curlew Sandpiper, 14th May 2022.
Photo - Ben Ward

Woodpigeon, ringed 14 May 2022.
Photo - George Gregory

Blood vein and Water Carpet Moths 14th May. Photos: Nige Lound

13th May. Three Red-rumped Swallows today, a day that saw at least 122 species recorded ! One with House Martins over the north lagoons from early on was undoubtedly the bird seen briefly yesterday. It was joined for a while by a second bird which then drifted off south down the West Dunes. Another bird arrived from the north, and passed quickly through the East Dunes during a period of moderate Swallow, House Martin and Swift passage. The original bird then departing mid morning at which time an Alpine Swift arrived from the north, having been seen earlier at Anderby. The swift spent some 10 minutes around the south end of the Reserve and the Visitor Centre before being lost to view. At midday a male type Red-footed Falcon was discovered hovering distantly to the northwest of Croftmarsh, before it moved swiftly south. A vintage day for vis mig with constant Hirundines and Swifts moving; as well as 2 Turtle Dove, a Wood Sandpiper, a Red Kite, and 4 Hobby. An Osprey arrived from the north with an enormous prey item and was present most of the afternoon before being pushed off south by the incoming tide. Around were 6 Spoonbill, a Merlin, a Short-eared Owl, 4 Wheatear (2 Greenland type), a Pied Flycatcher (Plantation), and a Brambling.  

A brief wind-restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes provided 2 new birds: a Reed Bunting and a Cuckoo; and 2 retrap Whitethroat.

A Chinese Water Deer was noted on the saltmarsh to the south.

Cuckoo, ringed 13 May 2022. Photo - George Gregory

Spoonbills 13th May. Photo: Jeremy Eyeons

Mediterranean Gull 13th May 2022. Photo: Kev Wilson

Cormorants with Mute Swan, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Muntjac Deer 13th May.
Photos: Tom Baker

Red-banded Sand Wasp 13th May. Photo: Kev Wilson

Brown Argus 13th May. Photo: Kev Wilson

12th May. Moderately strong south-westerly winds. The third Red-rumped Swallow of the spring flew south and then west midday. Also heading south were 134 Swift, 17 Sand Martin, 104 Swallow, 32 House Martin, and a small number of finches including a Brambling and a Siskin. The first Pied Flycatcher of the year was in the Sycamore Plot in the morning and a decent arrival of Wheatear across the reserve. Around were 4 Cuckoo, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 5 Spoonbill, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Peregrine, 4 Jay and a Bullfinch. In the evening, a ringtail Montague's Harrier hunted the sea banks as it drifted south.

A morning ringing session in East Dunes, with Keith Collett, produced 3 new birds: a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blue Tit and a Jay; and 8 retraps: a Great Tit, 3 Whitethroat, a Reed Bunting, a Dunnock, a Meadow Pipit and a Blue Tit. 

A Clouded Yellow butterfly arrived from the sea and flew northwest inland.

Sedge Warbler, Avocet, Gadwall, Orange Tip, Red Admiral on Hawthorn blossom. Photos: Tom Baker

11th May. Moderate to strong southwest wind and rain from early morning to late afternoon. Around the waterbodies were, a Wood Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, 5 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, a first summer Little Gull (through north), a Mediterranean Gull, 3 immature Spoonbill and finally good numbers of Reed Warbler. Around were 3 Cuckoo, 12 Whimbrel, an adult Spoonbill, 2 Marsh Harrier, a Short-eared Owl, a Merlin, a Garden Warbler and the first Whinchat of the year; a female Ring Ouzel was around the plantation during the morning and an Osprey headed south in the evening; also south went 23 Swift, 16 Sand Martin, 54 House Martin and 85 Swallow.

Black-tailed Godwits, Whitethroat, Swallow, Moon 11th May.
Photos: Tom Baker

Redshank and Ruff, 11th May 2022
Photo - Ben Ward

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle 11th May. Photo: Tom Baker