The highlight of the last few weeks must be the Kingfishers. You don’t have to walk very far either into the reserve. Lots of photographs have been taken by lots of people. With the probability of 2 families, there have been up to 6 birds seen at once. Soon they will disperse soon to pastures new. With the hope that they will survive into the breeding season next year, the Kingfisher lottery funds have bought some breeding boxes to place in other suitable breeding areas. A group of volunteers are now looking at where to put them. If you are interested in being involved, let me know.
Like everywhere else, the reserve is very dry. The levels of water on the Heronries are low again. This is bringing in passing waders. So, as we were leading the 3rd Thursday walk today, we took a very slow walk between the viewpoints around the south of the Heronries. None of them disappointed us. At Post 17 up the Haul Road, there was snipe and green sandpiper on the islands opposite us and gadwall are starting to build up numbers again. There are little egrets in abundance. Closer in a kingfisher sat on a stick in front of us there were various dragonflies, such as southern hawker and emperor. Walking onto Linda’s viewpoint, a willow emerald damselfly sat for ages on… yes willow!
The willow growth has been cut down in front of the Hayden Hide and the views didn’t disappoint there either. The islands were full of bird life. A great white egret was preening itself close to both little egret and heron, so it was great to be able to compare them. I took some videos through my scope here and it was only on my return home that I realised there was a shoveler out there as well. Useful things, photos!
Insect life is having a hard time with this weather. Wasp spiders are lying low in the grass and difficult to find. However, it appears to be a very good year for humming-bird hawk moth. We’ve had a regular one in our garden this year. BTO say that in a typical year they appear in 1.3% of gardens that do the garden bird watch.
There are signs of Autumn around. Blackberries are ripening, although very small. Elderberries are turning, although many are shrivelling up with the dry weather. Did you know that they have been revered for many centuries and it was thought back luck to cut a bush down. Each part of the shrub can be used in herbal medicine.
If you see any interesting wildlife sightings on Paxton Pits, please send them by email to
email@example.com or write them in the sightings book in the Visitor Centre.