Eight members assembled at the car park in, for this year, unseasonably, warm and sunny weather. Mind you, when the wind blew in some of the more exposed parts of the reserve, it still felt decidedly chilly. A first time visitor might well be put off because of the semi-industrial approach to this reserve and indeed, feel even more uneasy after passing the fenced off, vandalised ex-visitors’ centre. However, this reserve is maturing and becoming a real gem for wildlife of all kinds. The wild flowers clearly benefit from the impoverished
soil/pit spoil and at this time of year provide a riot of colour. The stars of the birds are undoubtedly the Black-necked Grebes.
Anecdotally there are supposed to be 9 breeding pairs and while we only saw 8 adults, it’s possible that others were hiding in the reeds. Surprisingly, we only saw one juvenile (last year there were lots). In addition to the grebes, there
was a supporting cast of Reed and Sedge Warblers, a lot of Reed Buntings dominating with their repetitive little ‘song’ and a few Common Whitethroats including 2 juveniles. Also of note was a flock of 25+ Long-tailed Tits and a few Little Ringed Plovers including juveniles.
All told, 40 species were clocked up. In contrast to last year when the summer was sensational, very few damselflies were observed and only one Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly.
Credit for the bird photos to Dave White and his Nikon Coolpix P900.