Warnham Local Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Horsham District Council and was designated a nature reserve in 1988. It includes a 17 acre millpond, marshes, grassland, reed beds, hedges and woodland. Fortunately, the forecasted thunder and lightning didn’t materialize as ten of us set off to explore this new RSPB Gravesend venue. Passing the recently built discovery hub (opening soon) we wandered through Mill Meadow to the Aston Trelford hide. From here, common terns were giving us splendid aerial displays and a grey heron, followed by an Egyptian goose, glided past. Mallards and coots kept an eye on their young and a great-crested grebe continuously dived for fish. A walk across a bridge, lead us to the Woodpecker hide. The feeders were constantly attracting various species including greenfinch, robins, reed buntings, great-spotted woodpeckers, marsh tit, nuthatch, coal tit and chaffinch. The fairly new Bullfinch hide gave us good views of dunnock, song thrush, blue tit, great tit, coal tit and brown rats – oh yes and a splendid male bullfinch. After lunch, during which we had good views of several swifts, the temperature had risen and walking through the meadow again produced some lovely butterflies and small invertebrates. Unfortunately, further along the track, the butterfly ride was closed due to re-seeding, so we continued along the boardwalk noticing meadow browns, gatekeepers, small skippers and various whites. Boldings Brook had banded and beautiful demoiselles – their colours showed well in the afternoon light and a common buzzard circled overhead, making its ‘peee-uu’ call. A marsh frog was sitting quietly in the dipping pond, whilst common blue damselflies were circling their territory and a reed warbler sang deep in the reeds. Another look in the Aston hide gave me a fleeting glimpse of the kingfisher and a low-level swallow. On our way back to the car park, we stopped for another look in the bullfinch hide. After a few minutes, the male bullfinch landed in a nearby tree and gave us all a fabulous view of this splendid bird. A nuthatch collected sunflower hearts from a feeder and disappeared into the undergrowth, presumably to feed its young. Coal and marsh tit were feeding, whilst beneath the feeders, a field vole scurried about, eating the discarded seeds from above. With 42 bird species, various butterflies and insects, a very pleasant day was had, all with good company.
Many thanks to everyone that joined in and hope to see you all again soon.
Steve and Hazel