Friday 31 December 2021

2021 - A Quick Review

2021 -  A Quick Review


146 bird species were recorded on site in 2021 - slightly down on the past two years, but above the ten year average.

For the first time in recent memory no new bird species for site were recorded this year - the site list remains at 201 species.

We recorded 21 species of wading bird in 2021, of the 30 ever recorded on site. Another #waderfest at Tice's Meadow.

55 bird species bred on site in 2021, including 7 UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, 6 Red List species, 18 Amber List species, and 1 Schedule 1 species.

Breeding highlights included the Barn Owls and Kestrels at the Kiln, at least three pairs of Tufted Duck, at least three pairs of Great Crested Grebe, two pairs of Little Grebe, and the first Swifts to breed in our Swift Tower.


27 butterfly species were recorded on site in 2021, including two new species for site: White Admiral and Purple Hairstreak. This is a new record annual count. Our butterfly list now stands at 32 species.

Brown Hairstreaks were confirmed to be breeding on site for the first time this year, following the first adults being recorded in 2020.


22 odonata (dragonfly & damselfly) species were recorded on site this year - a new record annual count. Highlights included breeding Lesser Emperor and Scarce Chaser, and confirmed records of Keeled Skimmer and Hairy Dragonfly. Our odonata list stands at 26 species.


121 new species for site were identified in 2021, taking our pan-species list to 1,670 species.

Community Engagement

Despite COVID-19 once again curtailing our community engagement activities, we still managed to lead 20 walks around site, for approximately 260 members of the public. We also hosted events on site for approximately 70 members of the public.

Volunteer Work

Despite COVID-19 once again curtailing our public volunteer work parties, we still managed to contribute 2,941 volunteer hours in 2021. 

Using Heritage Lottery calculations, this equates to a value of £26,885 - again, dwarfing the financial committments of all the other site stakeholders.

A huge thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers.

Wednesday 1st December to Friday 31st December

Volunteer Work Parties

Our volunteer work party schedule for the next 4 months.

Please do come and join us if you're free - a great way to spend a morning, helping nature, working with the local community, and having some fun at the same time.

Wednesday 1st December

(c) Dina Burford - Path to Ray's Gap

(c) Colin Varndell - Goldcrest

Thursday 2nd December

Mark Elsoffer: 2 Snipe, Little Egret, 5 Fieldfare & 20 Redwing.

A huge thank you to the 7 volunteers who forked & raked Bells Piece Wildflower Meadow this morning before we sowed it with Yellow Rattle seeds. The Yellow Rattle should parasitise the grass, creating bare patches next year for wildflowers to thrive in. The hibernacular also got a new insulating layer of grass cuttings to keep the residents warm over winter.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Hibernacular

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Volunteers at work

(c) Gillian Bamford - Volunteers at work (well one is, the other is leaning on a fork)

Friday 3rd December

Mark Elsoffer: 3 Snipe, 2 Little Egret, Kingfisher & 12 Redwing.

(c) Colin Varndell - Cormorant

(c) Colin Varndell - Great Crested Grebes

(c) Colin Varndell - Shoveler

Saturday 4th December

(c) Colin Varndell - Grey Heron

(c) Colin Varndell - Red Kite

Sunday 5th December

John Hunt: 2 Raven.

Richard Seargent: Great Black-backed Gull.

(c) John Hunt - Raven

Monday 6th December

No reports.

Tuesday 7th December

No reports.

Wednesday 8th December

(c) Colin Varndell - Chaffinch

(c) Colin Varndell - Greenfinch

(c) Colin Varndell - Great Spotted Woodpecker

Thursday 9th December

Mark Elsoffer: Green Sandpiper, 300 Lapwing, Little Egret & 2 Peregrine.

Colin Varndell: Lesser Redpoll.

(c) Colin Varndell - Egyptian Geese

(c) Colin Varndell - Jay

(c) Colin Varndell - Lesser Redpoll

(c) Colin Varndell - Teal

Friday 10th December

(c) Colin Varndell - Great Spotted Woodpecker

(c) Dina Burford - Roe Deer

(c) Dina Burford - Shoveler

Saturday 11th December

Dave Baker: Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 5 Snipe, 2 Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, Ring-necked Parakeet (20th for site, 7th this year), Raven & Peregrine.

A huge thank you to the 33 volunteers who cut and burnt willow at our work party this morning. The reed beds are going to flourish thanks to the hard work of our wonderful volunteers. Thank you Andy & Sharon for the baked potatoes, the passers by who dropped off mulled wine, and everyone who brought cakes.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Volunteers at work

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Santa cooking

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Lord Len

(c) Mark Elsoffer - George with his mum's cakes

Sunday 12th December

(c) Colin Varndell - Long-tailed Tit

(c) Colin Varndell - Tufted Duck

Monday 13th December

No reports.

Tuesday 14th December

John Hunt: 2 Green Sandpiper, Snipe, 163 Lapwing, Goldeneye (male, supposed escape, 6th record for site, 144th bird species for 2021 - pending acceptance), 10 Little Grebe, 11 Meadow Pipit & Grey Wagtail.

(c) John Hunt - Goldeneye

(c) John Hunt - Pochard

(c) Dina Burford - Green Sandpiper

(c) Dina Burford - Little Grebes

Wednesday 15th December

Colin Varndell: 2 Lesser Redpoll.

(c) Colin Varndell - Cormorant

(c) Colin Varndell - Lesser Redpolls (with Goldfinch)

(c) Colin Varndell - Mallard

Thursday 16th December

Mark Elsoffer: 195 Lapwing, Little Egret, 10 Little Grebe, 3 Common Gull & Peregrine.

Peter Brown: Goldeneye.

Anon: 2 Snipe, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler & Raven.

(c) Dina Burford - Goldeneye

Friday 17th December

Mark Elsoffer: Green Sandpiper.

We were delighted to host a team of volunteers from WSP UK for a morning of willow clearance in the reed beds today as part of WSP’s staff community volunteering scheme. We’re always happy to host corporate volunteer groups.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Councillor Porter lends a hand

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Volunteers at work

(c) Mark Elsoffer - The WSP team

(c) Dina Burford - The banner comes down

Saturday 18th December

Cameron Sibbald: 2 Pintail (m & f, 19th for site, first since 29/09/20. 145th bird species for 2021).

Peter Brown: Goldeneye.

Mark Elsoffer: 11 Snipe, 10 Lesser Redpoll, Stonechat & 20 Meadow Pipit.

Our volunteers conducted a snipe survey of the meadow today. 11 snipe counted using the BTO rope drag survey.

We checked the Kiln Barn Owls today - to our surprise, both were males. They were the pair ringed in Dec 2020 - one born in 2020, one 2+ years older. Is the older male the male from our breeding pair this year? Is he the father of the younger male? Where is the female roosting?

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Snipe survey

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Snipe survey

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Barn Owls

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Barn Owls

(c) Dina Burford - Blue Tit

(c) Dina Burford - Wren

Sunday 19th December

No reports.

Monday 20th December

S Brownhill: Green Sandpiper.

Tuesday 21st December

(c) Colin Varndell - Egyptian Geese

(c) Colin Varndell - Fox

Wednesday 22nd December

Richard Horton: Goldeneye.

(c) Colin Varndell - Reed Bunting & Siskin

Thursday 23rd December

Mark Elsoffer: Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe & 2 Little Egret.

Dina Burford: Yellow-legged Gull (1st winter).

Carey Lodge: Treecreeper.

(c) Dina Burford - Little Egret & Grey Heron (with lunch)

(c) Dina Burford - Yellow-legged Gull

Friday 24th December

(c) Colin Varndell - The Kiln

(c) Colin Varndell - Tufted Duck

Saturday 25th December

No reports.

Sunday 26th December

Richard Horton: Caspian Gull (2nd winter, 14th for site, last recorded 24/11/20. 146th bird species for 2021).

(c) Dina Burford - Flooded Woods

Monday 27th December

Mark Elsoffer: Snipe, 226 Lapwing, Little Egret, 94 Teal, 5 Little Grebe, Lesser Redpoll, 10 Siskin & Grey Wagtail.

Tuesday 28th December

Mark Elsoffer: 200 Lapwing, 88 Teal, Goldeneye, 6 Little Grebe & 18 Fieldfare. 

Dina Burford: Cartilage Lichen (Ramalina farinacea) - new for site.

(c) Dina Burford - Cormorant

(c) Colin Varndell - Blue Tit

Wednesday 29th December

Mark Elsoffer: Green Sandpiper, 12 Snipe, 226 Lapwing, 114 Teal, Yellow-legged Gull, Goldeneye, 7 Little Grebe, Little Egret, Water Rail, Grey Wagtail, 5 Fieldfare, Goldcrest, 4 Linnet, 10 Lesser Redpoll & c650 Jackdaw (new site record count).

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Lord Len's Stepping Stones

Thursday 30th December

Mark Elsoffer: 2 Snipe, Jack Snipe, Goldeneye, Pintail (20th for site, 2nd this year), 124 Teal, Water Rail, 18 Common Gull, Yellow-legged Gull & 10 Fieldfare.

Richard Seargent: Great White Egret (14th for site, 4th this year).

Leonard Winchcombe: Green Sandpiper.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Pintail

(c) Dina Burford - Great White Egret

Friday 31st December

Mark Elsoffer: Green Sandpiper, Snipe, 229 Lapwing, Goldeneye, 60 Redwing, 20 Fieldfare, 10 Siskin, 2 Lesser Redpoll & 2 Peregrine.

Leonard Winchcombe: 2 Raven.

(c) Dina Burford - Chaffinch

(c) Dina Burford - Goldfinches

(c) Colin Varndell - Red Kite