Haven’t we been fortunate with the weather in the last few days? The fresh lime green leaves are well out now on the blackthorn and hawthorn. Lovely to see, but it does make birdwatching more difficult, particularly for those which sing well into the scrub most of the time! Yes, they are back in. It is a good thing that nightingales have such a recognisable song! 

Walking around the Sailing Lake up to the Anglian Water Road yesterday morning. There was one singing north of the Sailing Lake about 9.0 a.m. I wondered if they would be resting by the time we arrived at the top end. We walked on and met one of the regular bird watchers, who said that he had briefly seen a ring ouzel that had stopped over on the edge of Diddington Pit. It was being chased by a blackbird when he saw it. No signs of it as we walked past.  A coffee stop at the viewpoint, just off the Anglian Water Road, and were greeted by nightingale, cuckoo, and Cetti’s warbler in full song around us. Do I need to say more?! 

The male mining bees are active, waiting for the females to emerge and it is a good thing that common names make sense. Most of the bees had yellow legs and guess what the common name is for Andrena flavipes -yes-yellow-legged mining bee! They seem to love the well-trodden area of the viewpoint. It is a good thing we have google these days, to remind me what I have forgotten from one year to the next! They are also emerging at Grainne’s Mounds by the Bus Stop hide.

Even better, as we carried onto the Ouse Valley Way, we heard another seven nightingales. No sightings, though, as they were deep in the scrub. Terns were also noisily feeding on the top lakes. They have also been seen sitting on the buoys on Heronry North. A white stork has also been seen on the northerly lakes, but no sign of them today. Sand martins are in as well.  Something else we didn’t see today. They look as if they are going to nest on some of the piles of sand in the new workings near the Haul Road. Now, have you seen a house martin yet? We have seen one or 2 when we were in Somerset recently, but not locally.

The Visitor Centre was busy on the way back. Good to see. Apparently, the guided walks on Saturday were well received and a lot of books were sold, particularly the wildlife and paperback ones. This is what we want to concentrate on selling, so, if you have books to donate ONLY the wildlife and good condition ones, please. Also, if you know of anyone who wants hard back and other books for charity etc., please let me know, so we can thin down the excess of books.

The other migrants are also making their appearance an many in full song. I never tire of hearing any of them, such as the blackcap(Photo taken recently by one of our photographers). As we approached the Visitor centre we had a list in our heads of 48 species, so hearing a willow warbler was a bonus and when we arrived home it was made up to 50 with a collared dove in the garden.

Now, what wildlife have you seen that has been in hibernation? I would certainly like to see a hedgehog.

As usual, I am always interested in your Paxton Pits sightings. Please let me know at friends@paxton-pits.org.uk

Best wishes, Ann

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