While checking barn owl roost sites yesterday I noted at least 2 hares on the reserve. The mixed finch flock at the arable field appears to be growing with around 40 linnet present, along with chaffinches and greenfinches. A prolonged spell of cold weather should see further increases.
After the dryness of the early autumn, the marshes are now awash. And the snipe are coming back in numbers, although with the temperatures remaining above average we did not count quite as many as in the last two years. Total count today was 45, broken down as 11 common snipe in School Pond, 32 common and 1 jack in Big Meadow and surprisingly a sighting of one in Pony Wood. In addition, there was a group of eight flying round. Despite the fog, Jon was able to follow them for quite a while, but they did not appear to land on the reserve. We also saw a small group fly up as we approached the Big Meadow marsh, disturbed by three dogs off the lead on the footpath. So overall quite a good number of snipe around.
Other sightings included a heron on the Grammar School Field, three teal on School Pond, a sparrow hawk above the Hay Meadow and 4 meadow pipits in Big Meadow.
Jon has also had a sighting of the barn owl, and advises going out at dusk for the best chance of seeing it.