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At the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Trent, this reserve lies on the Inner Humber estuary and consists of extensive tidal reedbeds and saltmarsh with artificially created brackish lagoons.
The brackish reedswamp here is one of the largest remaining areas of this declining habitat in the country. Some rough grassland occurs and areas of willow scrub have been established to provide extra habitat, a recent acquisition has brought extra grazing marshes into the reserve.
More than 170 species are recorded annually at Blacktoft Sands.
 Notable Species
Breeding waders include Avocet, Little Ringed Plover and Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe and Common Redshank and of the waterfowl, Mute Swan, Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler and Common Pochard breed. Feral Greylag Goose and Canada Goose breed and Ruddy Duck has nested in recent years.
The reedbeds hold Little Grebe, Water Rail and Bearded Tit, Reed Bunting and warblers. There is a large Reed Warbler population, more than 300 pairs breed here, unusual numbers so far north. Occasionally Bittern attempt to breed on the reserve and are often seen in flight across the reedbed in late spring. Marsh Harrier are a constant sight with a large winter roost of upwards of fifteen birds. In summer several pairs breed.
The area is of national importance for waterfowl and a wide variety of waders occurs during passage periods. These include all the regular northern European species and scarcer birds such as Pied Avocet, Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper.
Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier and Merlin hunt over the area in winter and waterfowl occur in large numbers. Pink-footed Goose can often be seen on the Humber or overhead and other waterfowl present in autumn and winter include Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal and Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Common Goldeneye and Goosander. Several other species, such as the more maritime Greater Scaup and Red-breasted Merganser, occur on occasion. Great Bittern is a scarce regular visitor, usually in winter.
Although this is about 60km from the sea each autumn and winter brings a few seabirds to Blacktoft Sands. Northern Fulmar and Northern Gannet, skuas, Kittiwake and auks have all been recorded. The five commoner gulls can all be seen in autumn, winter and spring, joined by the occasional Mediterranean Gull and Little Gull. Common Tern, Arctic Tern and Black Terns are regular in spring.
The cultivated fields around the village of Swinefleet are a reliable area for Eurasian Dotterel on spring passage. From the village keep right towards Eastoft and Crowle, rather than left for Blacktoft Sands, and search the pea-fields carefully. This is a regular site but the number of Dotterel present varies.
Rarities recorded at Blacktoft Sands include Eurasian Spoonbill and Little Egret, Blue-winged Teal and Montagu's Harrier and waders such as Black-winged Stilt, Temminck's Stints and Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Broad-billed Sandpipers.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Hobby, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian Dotterel, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-necked Phalarope, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Northern Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll, Twite, Eurasian Bullfinch, Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
 Other Wildlife
 Site Information
 History and Use
The land is owned by Associated British Ports and the RSPB have leased the site since 1973. The reserve is named for the sandbank in the River Ouse just to the North. Whilst the reserve does extend Eastwards to the River Trent there isn't public access further East than Singleton hide. Nowadays the reserve has a herd of konik ponies which are used to graze various areas to maintain the habitat as reedbed and wetland.
 Other Nearby Sites
 Access and Facilities
The reserve has six hides (mostly accessible to wheelchairs) overlooking the lagoons and reedbeds and can be reached from Goole heading west on the A161 to Swinefleet, then left towards Reedness and Ousefleet and the reserve car-park is 1km further on.
Grid Ref: SE843232
 Contact Details
Tel: 01405 704665 (RSPB)
 Recommended Citation
 External Links
Content originally posted by Steve