With the water levels are rising on the Heronries, it is surprising the egrets, mainly little but also one or 2 greats, seem to be staying at present. I haven’t seen snipe in the last few days, but green sandpipers can be seen along the edges of the islands. There has also been osprey that has been practising it’s feeding on the pits, before going down to Africa for the first time, by itself and no map! A raven is also a regular sight and duck are building up in number.

Watching the antics of the shoveler always make me smile, as they go round in a circle bringing up the small insects and plant matter from the depths. We thought we were watching one today and realised it had a bright red beak, much whiter and upended and realised it was a shelduck! An unusual sighting for the Heronries. Then a shoveler went passed, which made me realise how much larger a shelduck is.

It is worth going down to the “bus stop” at roosting time to watch the influx of cormorants to roost. We counted well over 300 last week and then the screeching jackdaws came in. They number in the thousands.

There were plenty of restless redwings near Haydn hide today. I think I have seen more fieldfares this autumn on the reserve than I saw last winter. They say that there is lack of berries in Scandinavia, so more than usual may come in. You never know I might even see my elusive bird, the waxwing!

Now we wouldn’t have many of our birds if we didn’t have insects. If you count moths, butterflies, spiders as well as invertebrates, we have over 2500 species on the reserve! On a recent work party, someone found a water scorpion, which I have never seen so close before. On yesterday’s work party, we saw a red admiral and a migrant hawker dragonfly.  Good to see these still around.

There are plenty of fungi to see since the latest rains. Look at a few of them that one of our volunteers, Ann Miles took photos of, at the top of this page.

Finally, the mammal and bat groups. The uptake of the mammal traps was the best yet in the last survey. 18 out 20. It might have been to do with the pre-baiting and/or weather-wet and cold- and the traps were warm with food. Great to see 7 bank vole, a shrew and the very active wood mice. The bat group are doing regular checks on the new and old bat boxes and interesting that both common and soprano pipistrelles are using them.

I always like to hear your wildlife news from our reserve, especially on these grey, short days. Please send any you would like to share by email to friends@paxton-pits.org.uk or write them in the sightings book in the Visitor Centre.

Ann Thomas

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