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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly

What to Look For

September

This is perhaps the best month of the year to see a good variety of bird species, as migration is in full swing. Almost anything can turn up, with rarities such as Spoonbill, Osprey, Long-tailed Skua, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike and Aquatic Warbler noted in recent years. Some species such as Garganey, Wood Sandpiper, Whimbrel and Little Ringed Plover may already have passed their peak period, most Swifts will be long gone and Common and Sandwich Tern numbers will dwindle. Many other species will be in their highest numbers however. Along the Beach Reserve and arable fields there can be large increases of species such as Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.
Often one of the most visible and spectacular signs of bird migration is in September when thousands of Swallows and Martins assemble before flying south, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands in one day. Grey Wagtails and Tree Pipits may be on the move overhead early in the mornings, whilst scrubby areas may hold the odd Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and good numbers of warblers. On a few days you may find the three similar species; Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat.

Whinchat on fence at Castle Farm

Whilst the summer visitors are leaving, the first winter birds begin to appear. From early in the month these may include wildfowl such as Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal and Pintail. Mallards and Canada Geese may also build up to several hundred. Merlin may be present throughout the month and towards the month’s end Brent Geese begin to arrive and you may be lucky enough to see a Short-eared Owl.

There will still be a great variety of other wildlife about. The Migrant Hawker dragonfly is typically a late summer/autumn species and will be common throughout the area, along with the smaller Common and Ruddy Darters. Butterflies may include Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Painted Lady and Meadow Brown. Many plants will still be in flower such as Common Fleabane, Scarlet Pimpernel and Red Valerian.

Small Copper

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