Winter migrants keep appearing at Carlton Marshes with bigger numbers than we have seen before. Whooper Swan, White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Golden Plover have all been visiting us in greater numbers than usual. The first wetland bird survey of the winter bought us hundreds of Lapwing and Snipe. Numbers of Wigeon are now increasing on the reserve and can be seen flying between Peto's Marsh and Oulton Marshes across the Oulton Dyke. For a behind the scenes look at the new habitat creation come to Carlton Marshes on December 15th for a guided walk with the Site Manager, Matt Gooch.
Waxwings aren't a bird of the marshes here at Carlton, but a bird of supermarket car parks and urban roadsides. In recent weeks Lowestoft has seen Waxwing in locations as romantic as the roundabout at the entrance to north quay retail park and weston road junction in Gunton. Flocks of as many as 23 birds have been seen feeding in Rowan and other berry producing trees and bushes throughout Lowestoft. With their brightly coloured feathers Waxwings bring a tropical feeling to grey and gloomy urban areas, however these birds actually breed in Russian and Scandinavian forests. They migrate to the UK to feed in winter and prefer urban areas because of the berry covered bushes that are often planted. The remote areas that they breed in and therefore their lack of contact with humans means they are quite confiding birds. You can often stand metres away from a brightly coloured flock feasting on berries.
This week I've been looking back at Fen Raft Spider survey results and also at some of the brilliant photographs from volunteers. The results show a greater than usual spread in their distribution this year, with webs found in 4 new dykes. So far the Fen Raft Spiders at Carlton Marshes have spread out from where they were released in 2012 very slowly. It seems promising that they are now increasing their range at Carlton Marshes, just as we are improving the habitat on the adjacent marshes. In the future perhaps the populations at Castle and Carlton Marshes will meet in the grazing marsh dykes along the Waveney.