Following on from the success of our dawn chorus on Saturday, 13 of us gathered in eager anticipation at the reserve for the first of our Tuesday summer walks with Malcolm and Sally.
As we drove into the car park a cuckoo called, wood pigeons were joined by chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch and house sparrow around the feeder area. We moved off towards the Marshland viewpoint, chiffchaff singing in nearby bushes. In the distance a couple of us heard willow warbler, so Malcolm decided to veer off towards the Ernie Hemsley viewpoint, as the group moved towards the willows where the bird was heard it moved further in and eventually we lost track of it. Blackcap, great tit, linnet, dunnock and wren were singing around us. Swallow flew through low over the trees.
At the viewpoint there were rooks and jackdaw in the fields, and three lapwing were seen – one possibly on a nest. Retracing our steps, swift and more linnet gave us great views. Long-tailed tit fed in the willows, and a cetti’s warbler sang nearby. As we got into more open land a cuckoo flew through.
From the Marshland Viewpoint we found a single redshank, a dozen black-tailed godwit, five avocet, little grebe, shelduck, tufted duck, canada geese, greylag, grey heron, little egret, mute swan and mallard. Following the path beyond the orchard and onto the heron trail we heard more cetti’s warbler and a green woodpecker called as it flew ahead of us. Cinnabar moths were newly emerged looking bright and clean in the grass, and longhorn moths, the males with long anntenae, danced around the may blossom.
With herons, little egret and rooks noisily circling overhead a garden warbler started to sing. After several minutes a couple of us found the bird in a nearby bush, but the others were too far ahead to call back luckily with a bit of patience and some good spotting the birds was refound on the way back and everyone had good views.
We moved slightly up one of the paths and had a distant view of a small hawthorn with little egret nesting in it. Rooks were by far the most numerous birds around, but there were herons on the nest too.
Back on the trail and a grizzled skipper took our attention for a while, the second time we had seen this species on the reserve recently and in two separate locations. Their favoured food source is apparently potentilla and bramble. We also saw several orange tips, comma and peacock butterflies during the day. We also added a funghi to our interest – unfortunately nameless so far. Let us know if you can identify it.
On our return journey we added oystercatcher to our list of seen species, along with two mediterranean gull overhead showing their pure white wings beautifully in the sunlight, and heard a nightingale – although not in full song it was unmistakeable. A brilliant end to a great walk.
Thanks to Malcolm and Sally for guiding us and giving such a great background to the history of the reserve and its occupants.