Brent Geese and Winter Wetlands

Brent Geese and Winter Wetlands

Photo: John Lilley

The reserve is flooding up again after a long, dry summer, and the Brent Geese have returned, all the way from their breeding grounds in Siberia!

Fleets Filling Up

The wind pump is finally pumping again! The rainy weather we’ve been having has been persistent enough to start filling up the fleets after a long, dry summer, and the water level has got high enough this month for the wind pump which we use to flood Round Marsh (viewed from the first bird hide) to have some water to work with. The flooded area will provide valuable habitat for wetland birds as we go into winter, including internationally important numbers of Shoveler.

Round Marsh at Blue House Farm

The water level on Round Marsh is slowly rising with the recent onset of wet weather

First Winter Bird Surveys

Our Winter Bird Surveys are underway again, and we had some great sightings on our last survey, including plenty of wetland birds such as Lapwing, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Wigeon, Dunlin, Avocet, Pintail and Teal. We were also delighted to find a Short Eared Owl using one of the ungrazed areas on the far side of the reserve – an area where we have frequently also seen Barn Owls flying over – and seeing a small flock of Yellowhammer made a lovely end to the long survey walk.

Short Eared Owl - TTNP

Photo: Stephen Hiscock on Flickr

Return of the Brent Geese

Blue House Farm is primarily managed to provide suitable habitat for Brent Geese over the winter, when they migrate over from their summer breeding grounds in Siberia. We keep an eye out for them from mid-October and we first saw them coming onto the fields in small groups this year on the 25th October. Since then, we’ve seen flocks of hundreds starting to graze on the fields and their gentle babbling is a lovely sound to be hearing again. We’re looking forward to seeing their numbers build up over the coming months. We’ll be running our Brent Goose Winter Walk on 7th December, so be sure to book a place to join us for this guided walk with great views and more details about these fascinating birds.

Brent Geese over fields at Blue House Farm

Photo courtesy of John Lilley