Mystery White Bird

Rachel has just called to say that she saw a white bird rising up from near the hedge in Lower Sowerholme. Large wing span , trailing legs – an egret but she thought the legs were red which doesn’t fit with either Little or Great Egrets. Any ideas? Could be just the lighting? She also asked whether there are two kestrels around, as she has seen two in the vicinity.

Bird Feeding Table


The table had three male reed buntings on yesterday.

Walking round the Reserve further, we spotted 4 greenfinches on the tree behind the Fauna stones. It seems to be where I see the greenfinches most often.


Teal and Curlew


This was one of 15 teal around Alder Pond on the 6th.


This curlew was in the Hay Meadow yesterday, and a couple of magpies seemed interested in what it was catching!

Raptor Kill

On the 4th Jan, walking towards the orchard from the Long Pads, Hilary and I saw a bird struggling on the ice on Alder Pond ( the pond had been drained so there was a  layer of ice over the mud). The bird took off carrying a smaller bird in its claws. A passer by said that it was a kestrel carrying a snipe but it looked too white to me ( without binoculars!!) and Dan thinks it was more likely to be a sparrow hawk. It had most probably caught a snip feeding nearby , dropped it onto the ice and retrieved it with difficulty hence the struggle. Very dramatic.

Wintering Blackcap

Female Blackcap in the tall trees the other side of the path from the shed at the Sunnyside Lane entrance to the Reserve.

A BTO factsheet on wintering Blackcaps has the following interesting information:

“A growing number of Blackcaps that breed in central Europe are coming to our shores to spend the winter instead of travelling to the Mediterranean, where they normally go. In Britain, food provided in gardens, coupled with our warming winter climate, is helping Blackcaps to survive. The reward for enduring harsher winter conditions here than in the Mediterranean is that our Blackcaps have a shorter journey back to central Europe in the spring, meaning that they can stake early claim for the best territories. Central European-breeding Blackcaps that winter with us have been found to lay more eggs and fledge more chicks than those that winter further south.”