It’s impossible to predict how any one count will go: there does not seem to be any obvious pattern. This month’s December tally is on the smaller side. In fact the lowest so far this year at 32 snipe including 2 jack. 28 of them were in Big Meadow, 3 in School Pond and a solitary bird in the Hay Meadow. Whilst Upper Sowerholme was devoid of snipe, it did yield 6 fieldfare, a kestrel and 6 teal (probably the same ones spotted earlier on Willow Pond by Graham during his reserve inspection). There was a reed bunting in School Pond; a heron and curlew seen in Big Meadow.
Yesterday, Wednesday, about 14:45 I was walking along the footpath from Aldcliffe and getting close to the Big Meadow when a little white egret flew in front of me near the houses . It was coming from the estuary and flew onto the reserve. It was flying east just south of the Big Meadow and then turned to go behind the willows in the Hay Meadow. I could not see from my position where it landed.
Continuing my walk I saw approximately 10 fieldfare in the Big Meadow. They were about 2/3 of the way from the Alder Pond to the Hay Meadow. They kept flitting about so difficult to be certain about the number and it was very cold so could not watch for long.
The Fauna marshes are wetter than ever, with lots of standing water. Don’t know what snipe feel about this, but this morning’s tally overall was slightly lower than last month. We counted 41 plus one possible jack snipe in School Pond, 28 in Big Meadow, and 2 in the Hay Meadow. In the south west corner of Big Meadow was a flock of about 30 birds on the ground. Unfortunately slightly too far away to distinguish, even with binoculars, whether they were redwings or fieldfares (or perhaps both). My wellies almost disappeared in School Pond. They have now joined the boots still drying in the kitchen after Saturday’s hedge working party. It will be good to get some respite from all this mud!