Gadwall by Jackie Hill

A reason that Paxton Pits is a nature reserve is that it was designated with having sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). Back in the 80’s, the Pits was one of the few places to have breeding gadwall in the UK.  The other reason was that some rarer insects were found as well, such as the more unusual earwig, Forficula lesnii, as well as some unusual flies and a leafhopper. Since then, many more have been found.

So, should these be our “Target” species? We are, of course, are known for nightingales and a hotspot for dragonflies and damselflies. This is an ongoing and important discussion to be had, so we know what sort of management of habitat we should be aiming at.  If you have any thoughts on the matter, we would be really interested to hear.

Some of our volunteers were doing some of this management on Sunday in East Scrub, to the right of the Heronry trail. Here we were layering hawthorn within special exclosures to produce dense low-level scrub, which small birds and insects like, and creating clearings outside the exclosures, leaving the larger oaks. It was lovely to see a couple of treecreepers on one of them and heard redwings passing over. It is always a good workout and free!

A walk the next day with a flask of coffee, scope and binos up to Island Pit (what’s there not to like!) and there were lots of duck, including goldeneye and lots of gulls, including a good number of Common ones to see. Unfortunately, not so many small birds. It was good to see chaffinch, which seem to be non-existent in the garden these days.

The trail cams are still bringing in some good results. Recently a trail cam was placed near where owls are known to fly. Bingo! The cameras have caught both Tawny and Barn owls. Look out for them on the website under “Wildlife”, ”What you might See”.

Our WeBS team will be out this Sunday counting the birds. If you want to join us, it’s good to have more people and is always sociable. Contact us on the address below.

Also, don’t forget, let us know your wildlife sightings at Paxton Pits either by email: or write them in the wildlife sightings book in the Visitor Centre.

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